Living with Let Down Migraines
Migraine is a challenging condition to live with. It seems to have a mind and life of its own, and for me, it’s always wanting to stay in a state of opposition with my life. I’ve suffered from chronic migraine disease for the last ten years. Before that, I suffered from episodic migraine in my late teens.
What did I notice when my migraine became chronic?
My migraines became chronic partly from my denial that I was being affected by them. I constantly pushed my way through attacks. The stresses of daily life and my career drove me to reinforce this bad behavior.
As I started taking a more active role in caring for myself and tracking my attack cycles, I noticed some interesting patterns. It was very common for me to have attacks on the weekends, evenings, and when on vacation. These all seem to be times when your stress levels would be low right? There is always a cost to migraine disease. Let down migraine attacks were my cost.
How could I prevent stress-related attacks?
I hate the fact that I suffer from migraine. It has taken so much from me over the years. Understanding that I was experiencing let-down migraines was one thing, but finding strategies to implement in my life to help prevent this genre of migraine was tough. I lived a busy, active life filled with enjoying my family, working, and finding time to do things for others. I was constantly in some sort of motion, either physical or mental. Stress was a part of my life. I think having stress in your life is a good thing, but it must be allowed to exist in balanced moderation. That is where it got tricky for me. I struggled to find that balance, and I was unknowingly feeding those let-down migraines.
Why was I having let-down attacks?
As my stress levels dropped, my natural glucocorticoids decreased, which may be a part of what opened the door to this type of migraine. I’ve used steroid dosing to break severe attacks that boost your glucocorticoid levels and reduce neurological inflammation. I also feel that it could just be my body's way of forcing me to stop and reset. I’d rather that happen without a migraine! I didn’t have these attacks every day or every weekend, but it was a noticeable pattern I wanted to stop. Nothing is worse for me than working all day or week only to have a migraine rob me of my family time. Having time to get away on family vacation has always been a great joy of mine, but when it starts with a migraine attack, it’s such a letdown, literally.
How do I manage now?
My let-down migraines are not usually as long-lived or severe as my other attacks, but they do take a further toll on my life. Since identifying them, I’ve begun incorporating de-stressors into my lifestyle. I use biofeedback, meditation, breathwork, and visualization to stabilize stress. I stick to a regular sleep routine that enforces good sleep hygiene as best as I can since I also deal with insomnia. I stopped working due to my health conditions which have helped in certain respects. I take things one day at a time, one hour a day, one moment at a time now. Migraine has changed my life significantly, but it is still my life. Let me know if you share this type of experience with let-down migraines or if you know someone who does!
My dark room: