Face with hand on head and birdhouse superimposed behind face.

Birdhouse: My Start with Migraine

It’s 7:45 AM in Pre-Calculus my senior year of high school. I’m drowsy from a bad night’s sleep thanks to late-night YouTube surfing. There’s this weird journey that you find yourself on when it’s super late, and you don’t want the next day to happen. Everything that wouldn’t seem interesting during a reasonable hour then becomes your entire world when you don’t want to fall asleep. I could go to bed now, OR I could lose myself in a series of DIY bird house tutorials. I always choose the latter.

Class continues as it always does with monotonous lessons and a homework review (you think I’d be more engaged with a last name like MATHeny). While looking over my answers, I realized something: I couldn’t see them. I started glancing around the room to then realize that my central vision was blurred. Everything was distorted right ahead of me. I panicked and looked at my friend next to me. Her face looked like a Picasso, with features blurred and warped.

I was having my first aura

What would this mean? Was I going Blind? Was I having a stroke? Why can’t I see anybody’s face? All these questions whirled around my head whilst I rushed to the nurse’s office to call my mom. I was very naive in that moment. Here was a perfectly justified excuse to get me out of school, something that I could only dream of. An Escape. However, this glee was so premature, for the pain that I would experience was unlike anything I had ever felt. I tossed and turned in my bed for hours as my brain ripped itself apart. It felt like lightening was burning itself into eternity. A pain that was so sharp and numbing that it etched itself into my memory forever.

I have always had headaches

I mean, ever since I can remember I have had aggressive headaches. They would come and go, but it was never something I wanted to address. If anything, I wanted to bury it down deep, like I was some sort of pirate. If I buried this issue far away, I wouldn’t have to deal with it. I’m not hurting if I don’t address it, right?

I knew it was time to face migraine

After I had an aura, preceding the worst pain I had ever experienced, I knew that I couldn’t hide it any longer. It was time to take care of myself. My body was screaming for the attention it deserved. It needed sleep and stress management and a trip to DENT Neurologic Institute in Amherst, NY, where I was assessed and received a treatment plan for migraines. There was something comforting about knowing what I’ve been battling, giving it a name. I knew what I was dealing with, and maybe, I could handle it. Sure, I could just bury my head in the sand and wait for another pain wave to slam into me, but that would just keep this cycle going. Getting the tools I needed to be able to alleviate these migraines helped me begin a journey of self-understanding and self-care. Plus, maybe I can use these tools to build myself something other than a birdhouse.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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