emotional turmoil migraine

Community Response: When Do You Experience Emotional Turmoil with Migraine?

As anyone with migraine knows, there is much more to this frustrating condition than what meets the eye. Beyond the debilitating pain, there are many emotional aspects to migraine that can lead to further unrest. Irritability, anxiety, and mood swings are just a few of the many emotional changes that can accompany migraine or precede a migraine flare.

We recently had a question asked in our community with the subject, “Anyone else turn into an emotional train wreck during/after a migraine?“, which received a ton of comments from our community about when they experience mood changes or emotional turmoil in relation to their migraines. The responses and feedback we received from our members were so overwhelming and powerful, we wanted to share some of these with you.

Prodrome, before an attack begins

Many of our community members feel as though they can accurately detect an impending migraine attack based on their emotional state in the prodrome phase, before an attack’s painful onset.

  • “Being irritable for no reason is the first sign that an attack is approaching for me.”
  • “When I become depressed to the point of howling and have absolutely no reason for it, then I know I’m in for a three or four-dayer.”
  • “It’s not uncommon for me to become anxious, irritable and downright nasty before a migraine attack.”
  • “My whole emotional state and attitude changes about 3 to 5 days before.”
  • “I start to get severely depressed, absent-minded and aphasic.”
  • “I get really angry before an attack (and really depressed after the pain has passed).”
  • “Extreme irritability is one way I know I’m about to get hammered with one. And there are a lot of times I’ve wanted to cry or just straight up scream from misery and frustration.”
  • “For me, it tends to be a sign that an attack is coming. If I’m super emotional and can’t explain why, the first thing I do is check to make sure I have extra rescue meds with me and my ice cap is in the freezer!”

At the onset of a migraine attack or during an attack

For many of our community members, the physical onset of migraine pain is what brings on their emotional distress.

  • “Super irritable, super sensitive. I will cry at the drop of a hat. So frustrating!!”
  • “During and after an attack, I become extremely short with people and find myself hiding out more than usual.”
  • “When I’m in that state I DO NOT TAKE PRISONERS.”
  • “There are times where I’ve screamed, torn things apart, thrown things, hit walls, etc., and somewhere I’ve cried for hours on end. There’s no control over emotions during and after migraine attacks.”
  • “I feel like a totally different person sometimes before and after a migraine. The pain during can definitely make me feel impatient and short.”
  • “It seems like every incident is magnified. And, unfortunately, so is my response.”
  • “Stay out of my way and no one gets hurt.”

Postdrome, as pain is subsiding

Many members reported that if emotional distress was not brought on prior to or during an attack, they might experience these feelings as the pain is subsiding or during their recovery phase.

  • “I’m not ever like super emotional normally, but after a migraine, I get massive anxiety and sob for a few hours. I’m not sure, but I do think it’s a common side effect of living with this disease.”
  • “I’m always super depressed after almost everyone.”
  • “After a bad migraine, I turn into an emotional mess. Cry at the slightest thing and feel very irritable.”
  • “I become angry with a very short fuse.”
  • “I’m much more emotional.”
  • “I cry easily and usually end up apologizing to whomever witnesses it.”

Continuous emotional distress

Many have stated that their emotions are continuously out of control or hard to manage due to living with this chronic condition. These individuals are often not affected by where they’re at in a migraine attack, as they are experiencing hard to manage, and very real, emotions at all times.

  • “I am a huge crab most of the time as I have a migraine of varying intensity 26-28 days a month.”
  • “I’m snappy most of the time, everything bothers me and upsets me.”
  • “I need to be reminded that this ridiculous roller coaster of emotions is not me, but this demon condition.”
  • “I get so cranky, impatient, etc. for no real reason and over the stupidest things.”
  • “Emotional wreck? Absolutely.”
  • “It’s definitely difficult emotionally: pain creates irritability… the frustration of not being able to control what’s happening to you and the exhaustion is just personally deflating.”

The community has spoken

It’s quite evident that there are many different emotions and emotional states that can accompany migraine. These emotional fluctuations can occur before, during, or after the onset of attack-related symptoms, or they may be present all the time. These emotions and their fluctuations are very common to experience when living with a chronic condition like migraine, however, if you feel as though your emotions have become too difficult to handle, or if you are noticing signs of severe mental distress, anxiety, or depression, consider contacting your healthcare team or another professional to determine the healthiest method of managing these overwhelming feelings.

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