"There's No Reason for You to Get Migraines"

Debilitating migraines often landed me in the emergency room as a kid. I would get so physically sick from the pain that I would be dehydrated - further intensifying the pain in my head.

The pain was real.

A chance encounter at the ER

One visit to the ER, the triage nurse inquired about my migraine history more than usual. She seemed to have a genuine interest in what I’ve done to manage them outside of medicine. I barely had the strength to sit up so our conversation didn’t last very long, but thankfully my dad caught onto the conversation and asked for her business card.

Turns out in addition to her nursing role she was also a clinical hypnotherapist…and worked with a lot of migraine patients. Just a few days later I found myself meeting with her for a session.

"Why do you get migraines?"

That’s when she asked me a rather abrupt - and in my opinion at the time - a rather rude question. “Why do you get migraines? There’s no physical reason for you to be getting these migraines, so you must gain something out of getting migraines.”

Is she serious?!?!

Nobody in their right mind would choose a migraine. It’s nauseating pain and destroys your ability to reliably make future plans - for work, social or anything for that matter.

I thought about the question

I took a breath and decided to be open to the idea. The migraines are 100% real and I am not consciously choosing to bring them on.

She suggested that I may be receiving extra love from my parents when I’m sick.

Nope. I had helicopter parents who were constantly loving and supporting me. There was definitely no lack of love, affection, or support in our household.

Then I had a realization

But it did occur to me at that moment that there was a sigh of relief I would feel once I was in bed and my mom could close the door leaving me to sleep it off while the medicine took effect.

It got me thinking how much even as a kid I felt like I took on a lot and had very little space or opportunity to truly relax and let go. A migraine was truly the only time that I could let everything go.

So, it prompted me to start creating the space for that.

Years later, I'm thankful

Whether she was right about the migraine connection or not, it was certainly necessary for my long-term health to manage my stress and plan for active rest.

As I look back on it decades later, I believe it was, in fact, a piece of the overall puzzle. I don’t think that there’s one magic bullet when it comes to eliminating migraines. I believe food played just as big of a role as exercise as did stress and so much more.

Have you uncovered any lifestyle habits that trigger your migraines?

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