Split screen between a kiddie playground with a vengeful sun glaring at migraineur wearing rose tinted glasses and hiding with her Gatorade bottle in darkness

The Fear of A Migraine Away From Home

“How far are we going?” I asked my husband for the thousandth time. He told me how long we’d be in the car and again I felt my nervousness kick me in the stomach. Back in the day before my chronic migraine disease, I never would have thought to ask, but now this question was everything. The fear kept it on repeat because I was terrified of managing a migraine far away from home.

Attacks away from home

Over the years, I’ve had many migraines out and about — on airplanes, at work, and in grocery stores. I’ve suffered through them or retreated to the car early because it was a more manageable space. But then when my migraines became so frequent, the fear of navigating a migraine while on a play date with my kid or out on a date night with my husband set in — and I wanted to keep close to home and not go out.

The beginning of a migraine

The scene became all too familiar. It looked a lot like this: Minding my own business sitting on the couch with friends, I could feel the hot twinges starting. The conversation was fun and easy, but now I had to excuse myself to go grab my relief meds. I’d been laughing a lot during our convo and wonder if the strain of all that smiling had triggered this latest episode. Everything seemed to be a trigger. I took a breath and hoped my meds worked because I really didn’t want to tell my husband we had to leave early — again.

Feeding the fear

It was situations like this that fed my growing fear of going out. They happened so often that I wondered if it would be better if I just stayed home. I didn’t want my migraines to dictate how I lived, but I was tired of the pain. There were more triggers. I couldn’t control temperatures, brightness, or if my energy plummeted it was awkward to sneak in a nap on the slide at the playground. It was so much easier to tackle an oncoming migraine at home. I had all of my remedies close by and could possibly retreat to my dark bedroom too. But I really didn’t like giving in to the fear that seemed to be leading me.

Finding a compromise

Still, any time my husband mentioned going out or a friend called, it was my anxiety that answered first. I stopped going out and took care of myself at home. Eventually, the regret of missing out on creating memories with my husband and son helped me sit down with my fear. That's when my nervousness and I reached a compromise.

I started choosing my outings more carefully. I did better earlier in the day so I said planned play dates in the late morning hours. If we were going further than 30 minutes away from home, I packed a pillow and blanket in the car just in case. Turns out my fear wasn't all bad but letting it consume me was. The precautions I took helped calm my worry and that was a step in the right direction - away from home.

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