Every time I deal with a new type of migraine, I try to come up with just the right name for it. You see, part of the way I cope with chronic migraine disease is by trying to find some humor while also learning about my illness more thoroughly. In creating my “Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types,” I not only get a chance to let off some silly steam about my struggles, I also am able to better capture the nuance and frustrating symptoms of this tricky disease.
The Kidnapper may at first seem similar to The Ninja, but its after-effects can be more nefarious. When the Kidnapper shows up, you or may or may not have been warned by way of prodrome symptoms. The Kidnapper seems like a routine, low-level migraine at first, but it differs from other attacks in that it whisks you away and leaves you (sometimes literally) in a dark room, away from the people you love and the work you need to accomplish.
Losing track of time
While in this hostage situation, you lose track of time and, despite calls for help (in the form of medications you ingest and treatments you attempt), you’re still stuck in that dark room. You have the vague feeling that you should be trying to send a notice to someone, letting your loved ones and coworkers know that you are down for the count but that you’ll be back to your old self as soon as possible. But the Kidnapper doesn’t allow you to have contact with the outside world. You feel discombobulated and confused, not able to clearly remember if you texted your colleagues to let them know you’re not coming in to work. You can’t quite recall if you had meetings or plans that you’re missing, and by the time you remember that you may be neglecting a duty, the Kidnapper cuts off your ability to communicate once again.
The Kidnapper doesn’t always come with debilitating pain. Sometimes, the brain fog is the worst side effect. This can be even trickier, as you attempt to function as normally as possible but end up making basic mistakes with arithmetic or speaking to your boss using words you weren’t trying to say at all. You may look pretty functional on the outside—as if the Kidnapper has taken you out in public and it looks like you are there with him willingly—but you are trapped, unsure when you’ll be released.
Hours or days later, the Kidnapper decides to let you go, and you end up back in the world, confused about how much time has passed and how many duties have been neglected. You feel like you’ve been living another existence—have your friends and loved ones been looking for you, or is it possible you’ve only been missing for a couple of hours that felt like weeks? You look around, blinded by the beautiful sunlit world, wondering how no one can sense that you’ve just come back from the edge.
Have you ever felt like migraine has kidnapped you? Have you ever lost sense of time and place so profoundly you can’t be sure how to resume your so-called “normal” life?
This post is meant to connect with other migraine patients who feel like migraine steals them away from the lives they want to lead and is not in any way suggesting that actual kidnapping is not to be taken seriously.