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When Migraine Whispers Poison in Your Ear

When Migraine Whispers Poison in Your Ear

You know those times when you’re lying in bed, doused in peppermint oil, aching all over, nauseous, maybe with your ice pack positioned just so and a mounting pile of soggy tissues? Well, me too. It’s not my favorite place to be.

Bad thoughts

These are the moments when I find it hardest to steer clear of bad thoughts. It’s not just the disappointment of missing out on fun or important events, the guilt of not meeting a deadline on time, or even the annoyance at the tumbleweed on my desperate-for-a-vacuum floors. I can mostly handle that stuff. It’s the bigger, scarier thoughts that creep in under the influence of dipping serotonin and dopamine levels.

Thoughts like:

Will I be able to pursue my new career goals?

Does this level of disability make me a lousy partner? 

Will parenting make this worse?

Will I always feel this isolated? 

Will my health ever improve?

If it doesn’t, how am I going to manage?

I have thoughts like these when I feel good too, but mostly I can reduce them to background noise. And while I know the answers to these questions… (Your career goals are flexible and you’ll do interesting things no matter what; you are not a lousy partner; yes, parenting will probably make this worse; your health is likely to improve over time because of research, and you’ll manage because you always have) …they still encroach with nearly every migraine and cause unnecessary anxiety. And I need to find better ways to deal with them.

Flipping the script

Instead of wallowing in uncertainty about the future, I’m trying to practice gratitude, acceptance, self-love, and being in the present. I’m reading the books. I’m doing the counseling. I’m trying to allow myself to grieve in a cleansing, unremorseful way. But even despite actively pursuing these strategies for years, they never seem to come quite as easily as the nasty, existential, anxiety-causing thoughts. So my other strategy is intense distraction. And what’s the single most effective tool of distraction in human history? The Smartphone!

The distraction attraction

I can stare at that thing for hours, my neck all crooked, my eyes burning out of their sockets, my heart melting from cat videos and racing from reading too many comment sections, and barely think about big, scary, illogical questions about the future! It’s so effective! The only problem, of course, is that by pouring my attention into that tiny screen all night, my brain hasn’t had much rest, and my body hasn’t gotten any attention either. The tiny screen has either made the migraine last longer or increased my recovery time, thus amping up the pain cycle as a whole. The computer screen: same story. Which makes writing tricky too. In fact, I’m writing with a migraine right now, and I probably shouldn’t be…

[I am eternally jealous of people with migraine who aren’t bothered by visual stimulation. ETERNALLY JEALOUS.]

Podcasts and music are mostly out too, because, well, they are made of sound.

More tools required

Sometimes I try coloring, drawing, reading, and gentle stretching during a migraine, but mostly I am still too aware of the pain and bad thoughts for these to be effective. (Side note: the gentle stretch is always worth it.) So, it seems I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place: either I successfully distract myself from the bad thoughts with things that ultimately worsen my pain, or I face my demons.

Clearly, I need more tools on the demon-fighting front.

What strategies have helped you deal with the bad thoughts that crop up during an attack? How do you reassure yourself when it seems as if everything could come crashing down?

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


  • krexford
    14 hours ago

    For most of my migraines, I can ignore the thought or put on a tv show quitly that requires no thinking or constant viewing. My worst times are the ones that last 72 hours or more. That is when the pain brings the violent vomiting, depression, the song that never ends, the fantasies of bashing the pain in with a hammer, and the fear that it will never go away or, if it does, that it will be right back in a couple hours. I am still working on fighting those thoughts but I can say, when I am able to totally and deeply knock myself to sleep, I find myself able to grab strength and move forward…until the next attack.

  • Dotty15
    5 days ago

    I have aura migraines. No pain. Everyone thinks how wonderful it is to not have pain. Even doctors. But, the same people think I am on drugs when I stagger and slur my words. I can’t think. When they get really bad my face droops like a stroke. The only med that has worked in 30 years is being discontinued. I am scared.

  • maryomac
    1 week ago

    Thank you for sharing this topic. I do have some things to share. One thing that helps me feel better is a warm Epsom salt bath. The water and the Magnesium help relax my muscles and soothe my mind and body. I usually add an essential oil, often lavender. I lay all the way back with my neck and head in the water and float.

    Another thing that has helped tremendously, but can’t be done at that moment is Ketamine infusions. They really reduce the psychological component of migraine as well as reducing greatly the number and pain level of the migraines. Effective for migraine and depression. I’ve had probably 4 series over 2 years and nothing has helped so much.

    In the moment, telling myself that this is what I can do for now, that I’m doing the best I can for now helps. If I feel a little better, I try to do something little, like fold a few clothes, or tidy a little area, or do one thing on my list. Sometimes it is just brushing my teeth and taking a shower. Maybe returning a call. So as I can, I get a little done at a time rather being all or nothing, which it was for a few years.

    I also have quiet time every morning and I drink a cup of tea or coffee, which very often helps my head. I read a few books that let me know I am not alone and that God is with me and loves me and that I am special and have a purpose and this always makes me feel differently about my life. Sometimes I journal and that puts words to my feelings and gets them out. Sometimes I read my journal and see that I’ve felt exactly like this before and see what I did about it and that helps me help myself!

    Sometimes I add to my gratitude list and that helps me see all the beautiful things there are in my life instead of only seeing the negative ones of the current moment. I also do not make decisions about things when I’m in this depressed and wanting to end it all place, because I know it will pass and it will negatively impact my decisions and the way I talk to people if I get upset at them then. I try to calm myself and soothe myself with tea or anything relaxing, take rescue meds if I have any left for the week, and wait for it to lift. I try to sleep. I use a neck support pillow and play ocean sounds to keep me asleep and drink lots of water. Being nauseated has led to weight loss, dehydration and constipation, not a good combination, which I try to avoid. Drinking ginger tea helps with nausea.

    In the end, if all else fails, I think of the people who would be hurt if I wasn’t here. I think about all the things I, and others, would miss out on if a cure is found, and they are working on finding one so diligently these days. I also remind myself of the people I do touch simply due to my (albeit unwanted) personal experiential understanding of pain, suffering, depression, and anxiety. I’m not afraid of it anymore or of people who experience it and that has made me more compassionate and able to connect with other people who otherwise would still be feeling alone too.

    We are not alone, and that helps. So many of us are trying to cope with the same things, and it give me courage to think that if you can do it, I can do it too.

  • Diana-Lee
    3 weeks ago

    I’ve just restarted therapy, and the focus has been on strategies for interrupting my unhelpful, untrue, and/or distorted thoughts. A lightbulb went off in my brain when my therapist pointed out that trying to disprove an untrue or worried thought by providing evidence against it is actually validating the distorted thought or worry. It has been helping to work on noticing when I’m having such thoughts and sit with them instead of working overtime mentally to avoid them.

    This is all SO hard. I’ve been struggling a lot. So much solidarity.

  • maryomac
    1 week ago

    I tried this today. It was hard. It hurt my stomach sitting with the feeling that I wasn’t good enough. I’m aware of this type of meditation, and have practiced it before, but not with migraine feelings, which I was in the throes of the third day of. I have so much to do and no energy. I looked right at the well known feeling of self recrimination and judgement and named it and looked at it, and at first it grew… not what I was looking for. But then it gradually starting losing it’s strength as I sat quietly looking at it and it sort of melted away. I know that I can only do what I can do. It isn’t easy to have these feelings, but it sounds like alot of us do, and alot of non-migraine sufferers do as well. Thank you for sharing your therapy work as it helped me to try this again and I will continue to work on it in this way and see if it works in the long run better than trying to push it out of my head or letting it run wild in there!

  • glassmind
    1 month ago

    I’ve been fortunate the the only really “bad” thoughts I have during a migraine have been “I’m going to die.” And “I want

    Why would that be good?

    Well, after years of migraine, I can reassure myself with “It’s just a migraine


    I do experience post-migraine emotiinal

  • Nograine
    3 months ago

    Severe, disabling migraines began in ernest about 10 years ago…only, I had no earthly idea what was happening to me–thought I was having strokes, what with the nonsensical smells, mild facial paralysis, strange manic behaviors..
    I reacted to: EVERY noise, the smells of flowery perfumes, diesel fuel, cigarette smoke, and bleach.
    In a nutshell, (in those early days) I found that certain sound vibrations brought some stability, if not true relief: the “E”string on my guitar plucked repeatedly while my head rested on the body of the instrument. Yogic chant music played on ipod continually while at work (the music seemed to buffer any offending “sound attacks”). And the smell of lavender essential oil seemed to stabilize my pain and the frantic emotional feelings I had no explanation for.
    If only I had known about a support site such as this.
    I suffered from one continual, intractable migraine/cluster for 6 long years..
    Missed weddings and funerals; could not tolerate church (had to give up choir practice), or any movies in the theater–agony!–driving was a challenge with double vision, but impossible to be a passenger bc of the motion sickness/nausea…I thought I was stone cold CRAZY!!
    After a few years, came the isolation from friends wh quit inviting me places, and those who were just sick of my belief that I could predict the weather ( now I know that my main trigger is barometric pressure…and since i live in coastal central Florida, we have horrid pressure swings!!)
    Someone mentioned paleo-type food regimen—fabulous!
    Being one of copious food sensitivities, Ive discovered juicing lots of (mostly green) veggies is best for me…seems to cut down on energy expended on digestion and is a quick delivery of minerals my system requires.
    All that and a dosing of B6 vitamins have allowed me to begin a tentative functioning in the world again. Although I remain isolated and often feel like a stranger from another star system!
    This is the first time I have ever looked for, found, and posted a comment on a site like this…forgive me if this is too long or I’ve bdone it wrong! For a long time I could not use such a phone because the light was too painful!!
    Thank you.

  • maryomac
    1 week ago

    I can relate to your comments. I too am very sensitive to all kinds of stimuli… smells, noise, light, even emotions of others. I have alot of food sensitivities. I can’t drink alcohol without provoking a migraine. I had chronic daily migraine for 6 long years, most days a blur of pain, nausea, brain fog, depression and feeling bad about being unproductive. It makes it very hard to have a social life, and most people, even your old friends, do not understand at all.

    It has been nice to read other people’s comments here and to see that at least we understand one another.

    My heart went out to you when I read that this was your first post and you were wondering if it was too long or done wrong. So much like me… questioning and doubting myself too. I, for one, just wanted to reassure you that I was glad you had the courage to join in and encourage you to keep at it. Your comment on B6 made me remember to start taking mine again and I’ve been wondering about Paleo as well, so thank you for that input.

  • lightly
    4 months ago

    I have migraines, clinical depression and diabetes along with several other conditions. A couple of things are particularly helpful: 1) Prayer – not for me but for others who are experiencing this kind and frequency of pain; and 2) Count the poisonous thoughts. Somehow when I reduce them to a number they loose their power. Both of these contribute to breaking the cycle of negative thoughts. I am also thankful for friends who tolerate my inabilities even when they don’t understand.

  • ds41207
    4 months ago

    Quiet classical music is sometimes a pleasant distraction for me and it has therapeutic ways of redirecting the way the brain is working. I turn on WFMT 98.7 FM, Chicago.

    If I really don’t like the current program, I turn it off and return after the top of the hour when a new program is on. I’ve been listening to Classical music occasionally for over a year and appreciate the healing power when I am in pain.

  • SearchingForAnswers
    4 months ago

    Your article really rings true to me. In fact I have had migraines for so long that I missed the parenting dilemma all together as I feared I couldn’t do it with the pain. Tend to a screaming baby or child? I think not. Sometimes I take out all of the colour and definition from the t.v. and turn down the sound. I may not be well enough to watch it, but I can pretend. When I’m a little better I can vacantly gaze over social media on my phone. And yes, soggy kleenexes are always surrounding me.

  • kjindal
    4 months ago

    I can relate to this post so much. Thanks for writing this. I’m a happy, proud person usually yet in every migraine attack I find myself questioning my existence. I feel like a loser and the demons in my head continuously remind me of how pituful my life is. I used to wonder if it’s migraine that does this to me but was never sure. It’s so comforting to know that I’m not alone. They are people out there who understand

  • SearchingForAnswers
    4 months ago

    Totally can relate to it as well. It IS comforting to know we aren’t the only ones. I don’t know anyone personally who goes through this, but they’re out there.

  • CobyMeg
    5 months ago

    Sorry but I have to be pessimistic here. I get far worse thoughts. Suicidal ones. The very best Neurologists have failed me. The migraine is continuous and non-stop. There is no silver lining.

  • EK410
    2 months ago

    I totally agree with you, and am so sorry that you are suffering as badly as I am. I’m a “basket-case” and cannot function “normally” any longer, as I am so terribly isolated; I also have Hyperosmia. It has literally, ruined my life. I wish you and everyone with migraines all the best. It’s terribly fightening. 🙁

  • Ruth Swain
    2 months ago

    have you considered looking into IV ketamine therapy. It’s working for depression and migraines in a revolutionary way. You do not need a consult from your regular doctor, just a copy of your records to prove you do suffer from intractable migraines and depression. It IS a silver lining. I hope there is a clinic near you. Please google it……hugs, Ruth

  • ladymet117
    2 months ago

    Hi CobyMeg. Soo sorry to hear about those suicidal thoughts! I too have had those, but kicked them out of my head when I think about how blessed I am because at least I have medicine and some people don’t! Realize that you’re not alone! Keep looking for that Neurologist that will be perfect for you!

  • Willow
    2 months ago

    I agree. When it’s constantly hurting. Constantly stopping life. Constantly stepping between me and my family. Spending meaningful moments while hurting so much starts to reprogram my brain that I shouldn’t go out of my way to try and make meaning full moments because all I remember is how crappy I felt. How I have to wear glasses to black out the light. I couldn’t see anything. No faces. No laughing. Why the hell try. I hear ya. Why bother indeed. Research that shows over all imprrovment over time is great for those who’s improving but I have had a migraine for 1800+ days- yes different degrees of pain. But I haven’t been able to go outside in the sunshine and enjoy a moment without wearing blackout glasses for over 1800+ days. Blinded by the stupid pain. If I had a break every once in awhile that would be different. But come on … 1800 effing days. Stuck inside my prison. I tell you this. The main reason i haven’t reached out for mental health help is because I can’t be in the light and I’m scared of the pain. Ive tried counseling and my glasses get all wet from my tears and the crying make my head hurts even more. So I stuff all my emotional hurt away. Down deep. I Listen to my books on tape. I Pet my cats. and exist. I’ve stopped living. Migraine took living away from me. I stay alive so I don’t hurt my children. They don’t even live at home. If they didn’t need me or want me around…. i wouldn’t bother. Not to be dramatic. I’m not. But I wanted to post here because for some .. migraine isn’t 1 or twice a month. It’s not missing a couple days of work a month. It’s not forcing ourselves out of bed to attend an event. For some we can’t (not don’t want to but physically can’t) live a normal productive life. Some of us can’t go out in the sunshine, watch the birds, kiss under a waterfall, successfully travel through airports, read a menu, play ball, have sex, have normal lights on around the house, have friends over for pizza and games, go shopping for our own clothing and actually see the colors we are buying, go to the drs office when we are sick and not leave in more pain due to the light exposure that somehow is absorbed thru our skin or something because we wore our glasses, go walk the dog, work in the garden, clean the house, notice when food is moldy before putting it into our mouth, go grocery shopping and pick our own products. And after doing those activities feel the same or better than prior to begging the activity. I could go on and on. All these things create increased pain ALL the time. All the time! For over 1800 days I have had the hope that one day i May feel better. No migraine. Maybe for only just one day. It would be nice to have a break. A little tiny 24 hour break. To refuel. Reassess. So far I haven’t had that luxury. I KNOW someone is worse off than me. Because I spend 2 years in my bedroom in complete darkness. Pressure sores and all. I had neuroimplants done and I am sitting on my sofa today. In dimmed green light. Not enough light to read a magazine… oh yes… I can’t get my eyes checked due to the lighting needed for an eye exam so I can’t see regular print. I do most things thru audio and voice prompts. I haven’t driven (obviously). So yes I know someone is worse off then me. And in writing this I have just realize I have improved a bit over my 1800 day journey. But I am still just existing. I’m sad. I’m depressed. I’m unemployed. I’m not giving back socially. I’m a thoughtful partner. I’m a loving parent. I’m existing. And for right now that is what I have and that has to be ok. I’m not going to die today. My feelings to others mean more than my feeling towards myself. And for right now that is ok. Please do not post how valuable I am and that you care. I don’t need that type of validation and I see it more as an empty attempt to “fix” my feelings. I honestly don’t mean that to be trite or rude. I just wanted to express this to help others if they are interested in the full spectrum of migraine.

  • mrst53
    4 months ago

    don’t give up. I have been there. I had enough pills to do the deed and I felt like my family would be better off. Luckily, I stopped myself and called my phyc doc. So I am still here, fighting against all of things you feel.
    Try acupuncture, try a pain clinic. Keep trying the different pills. Try physical therapy. that worked for the 12 weeks that I took it. At least it was a break in the cycle. Keep trying. I have had migraines for 53 years. Things do get better.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi there @cobymeg,
    I am truly so sorry to hear how much you are suffering. When you have to keep picking yourself up day after day when you are living with chronic daily pain, it is only understandable to feel so pessimistic. Know you are NOT alone in feeling this way! You have an entire community here that understands what you are going through. Don’t give up hope for better days ahead! I saw you also mentioned you had your first dose of a CGRP a few weeks ago. I understand you are not experiencing any relief yet, but many have shared that it has taken multiple doses before they noticed a change. I am sending all positive & encouraging thoughts your way that this will help to provide you with the relief that you are such great need of! Keep us posted on your progress if you can with this treatment.

    Additionally, as we do with all our members is to encourage them to get the support that they deserve! Not just from doctors, but from therapists, in person support groups, online, etc. Let me share this resource with you. Living with one of the most disabling diseases may certainly bring dark thoughts. If you are ever in an immediate crisis, please NEVER hesitate to contact Lifeline 24/7 1-800-273-8255 and they also have live chat available as well – Lastly, here is an article which discusses creating a suicide safety plan.

    Finally, I know I have already shared many resources with you, but maybe these articles will provide you with a bit of hope & encouragement.

    Please know we are always here to listen & feel free to reach out anytime. Warmly, Joanna ( Team)

  • molene
    7 months ago

    at any level of intensity and especially the worst, i welcome gentle, nurturing type touch. if a friend or partner holds me while i whimper, the attack seems to have less negative impact on mental health.

  • mcadwell
    7 months ago

    If it’s a vicious, all noise/lights bother me, keep vomiting type of migraine all I try to do is get to sleep using visualization. Any other type of migraine and I’m on my laptop looking for a distraction. Comedy is out – because laughing can make it hurt worse though. I just want a magic wand to wave over all of us to make us go back to our “real” lives.

  • StormyShifley
    7 months ago

    I love to read and it relaxes me. I often find myself in the story and sometimes I feel lost or out of place and sometimes even time, and that can be really distracting. If I am unable to read because I can’t process what I’m reading, I know that it’s a BAD migraine and I’m either going to find myself in the ER or taking a drug (prescribed, of course) that will put me to sleep. If the pain is so bad that I cannot sleep, the best thing that have found to relax myself enough to go to sleep is to have my youngest son to read to me. It’s not the content of what he reads that helps, but the sound of his voice. I have asked him to record a cd for me to listen to in those circumstances, because, for some reason(?), he doesn’t want to always drop everything and come over to my place and read to me(?) so I can go to sleep.

  • Kristine Ullemeyer
    8 months ago

    First, I have a great husband, that keeps me in check when I am crawling in that hole. I also remind myself to let it go. Just let those thoughts go. I still have my pity parties and feel lonely, then I get back up and get positive again.

  • Leslie Coutsouridis
    8 months ago

    Anna, My situation is identical to yours.Recently found something that helps. On Youtube, started with soft bedtime meditation music,then to guided meditation,now also on how to control negative thoughts. I do this before sleep. Now listening to Joseph Dicenza. Wow! Negative thoughts can really keep you in a sickened state. Repeated listening to this and learning these concepts made an improvement! Also listening to Abraham Hicks every night,softly of course. I take my cell phone to bed and just listen to it. feel better.

  • Leslie Coutsouridis
    8 months ago


  • Leslie Coutsouridis
    8 months ago


  • Donpurdy
    8 months ago

    I get pretty bad migraines that are preceded by visual aura. I am lucky they only last for a few hours, though there is a “hangover” the next day.

    Fortunately I have found out what my triggers are (a variety of foods like chocolate, yogourt, bananas… etc.) and can avoid having an attack as long as I am careful.

    If I havea migraine once the aura starts, am able to, I start meditating. It works to cut out maybe 90% of the pain, but I was a buddhist monk for several years so probably have more skill at it than many people.

    The keys for me in a migraine reduction meditation are to sit rather than lie down, and to focus in a very relaxed way on the feeling on the breath pushing down in my belly. Keeping awareness down in the body far away from the head is important. Also important is equanimity to feelings, thoughts and flashes of pain. I find that during meditation if I don’t react to the pain mentally or physically it dissipates or at least doesn’t intensify. I do have to do this type of meditation for about 90 minutes for it to work for me, but if I had a migraine I’d be out for longer than that!

    If I can’t sit and meditate I take 400 ibuprofen and 500 acetaminophen at the same time, and that will take care of most of the pain as long as I’m not too busy or stressed.

    Hope this helps…

  • molene
    7 months ago

    i have experienced before a migraine dissipating after extended sitting meditation, but i prefer to be very supported while lounging.

  • Katjolo
    8 months ago

    I also struggle with those demon. The anxiety and guilt is very overwhelming. I feel that I need to cover up my migraines and symptoms from family and friends. I fear they will judge me and think I’m weak or a complainer. When I’m haveing migraines daily and can’t accomplish all I need to do I feel I’m letting people down. I’m a very shy person and My writing skills aren’t very good either. This is my first post. Thanks for listening.

  • muscmakermama
    6 months ago

    Katjolo, I am very, very similar in my thoughts and feelings.

  • Leslie Coutsouridis
    8 months ago

    i have “educated” everyone i know so that they will understand me, and maybe help.

  • DebbieD.
    8 months ago

    I feel really betrayed by the psych community. Twice I was sent to a mental facility and both times they wouldn’t address my pain.

    So how the heck was I supposed to cope?

    One psych said I was depressed because I was crying. I told her I was in pain coming from a group activity of drumming and just said “NO YOU’re depressed and you should have electric shock therapy.

    She didn’t even to a verbal physical. I have a Reed Migraine Implant. My daughter physically came and got me out of there to Jefferson migraine ER.

    Last time I was in psych institutional, they too refused to treat my pain until the Neuro checked out my global chart.

    She said “you’ve been through everything.” Together, we came up with injectable Immitrex because it was the best medication available on that unti.

    I was also shocked that, in my recent past, the newest psych therapy is ONLY CBT OR DBT or electronic shock therapy. The goal is to stop almost all meds. It’s the most redicuous theory I’ve ever heard.

    There are times when I need Valium or seroquil to sleep along with antidepressants. I know DBT AND CBT along with mindfulness and yoga. No matter what, they don’t even take the edge off a cluster-migraine.

    Luckily my new Neuro—— a shout out for dr Spears in the Phila suburbs, really gets it. If you can get an appointment with him, definitely do try to see him!

    I was not satisfied with Jefferson Headache clinic.

  • molene
    7 months ago

    you absolutely deserve to be treated better than that!

  • Leslie Coutsouridis
    8 months ago

    Had a horrible experience at Jefferson inpatient in PA.

  • Ylwest
    8 months ago


  • Angela Swystun
    8 months ago

    Cry Laugh Get A Hug From My Honey or Just Get OutSide for a few minutes

  • Always the optimist
    9 months ago

    i must say whenever im having a bad time with my aura silly vision and im feeling scared and down, I get so much joy from coming on here and reading how others are coping
    I instantly feel less isolated so thankyou for that

  • Steven Workman moderator
    9 months ago

    Anna Eidt I have only just read this beautifully written article for the first time today. I believe this is an area most of us struggle with. Back when my own migraines were far less frequent, I would try to quell my wife’s guilt over missing family events by reminding her that “all you can do, is all you can do, and there is certainly no reason to feel guilty about that.” I am glad you are able to find distractions, even if they do have unfortunate side effects. I am still searching for a few distractions to try. Best wishes!
    Steven Workman (moderator)

  • Nyedward
    9 months ago

    I understand what everyone is describing. Some days I can’t believe how my headaches make me have no energy. Even after surgery. I’ve learned to live with it.

  • LeeRab
    9 months ago

    I feel like you were in my head when you wrote this. I have many more days in bed than out of bed with my migraines. I have lost any sense of self esteem I had. I used to be a major wage earner in our home now I am a financial vacuum.

  • JPaula
    10 months ago

    This too shall pass – they always do.

  • kblange
    10 months ago

    What an excellent article! I have daily intractable migraines so lots of dark thoughts. To ground myself, I do something you mentioned; I practice gratitude. I try to list in my head 100 things I’m grateful for that day, from things as basic as a ceiling fan to being married to my soulmate. And I try to think of new things each time. For me, this is a great distraction, it also reminds me there’s more to my life than migraines.

  • nurm28
    10 months ago

    Thank you very much for your article. I find focusing on what helps is a positive direction for me. When I’m in pain I forget to breathe so I’ve learned deep belly breathing & I’ve used it several times when I felt the pain beginning. At times it’s helped to lessen the pain & it does distract me. I also found an app called Insight Timer. It has many guided meditations for different things but it has a specific app for migraines that I’ve used a few times & found helpful. It certainly didn’t get rid of the migraine but made it lessen the intensity & helped me to function in my day. Have a great day everyone!

  • jeanniefowler
    10 months ago

    I try to relax and wait for the tingling relief in my brain that eventually the Sumatriptan will bring.

  • 11 months ago

    Thank you so much for this article, it’s a much-needed positive start to my day. Been dealing with lifelong ophthalmic migraines (with petit mal), and a fresh dx of CPTSD… it’s been a struggle to silence the noise.

    My current MHC uses CBT as a way to help distract my mind with more positive thoughts. And it does a pretty good job of shutting out the migraine’s noise… but I’ve also found that actively doing things that help reduce my stress levels, also helps reduce the severity of my migraines, my PTSD, and my seizures. While self-talk may not work for everyone, practicing stress-reduction techniques seems to have a lot of success. Many commenters have already made excellent suggestions.

    The seizures seem to also be affected by how much time I sit in front of a computer screen, or stare at my smartphone to play games or surf the web. I know this isn’t a common thing for regular migraines, and not all ophthalmic migraines have this issue, but it’s something to keep in mind with the auras a few have mentioned. This sometimes is the “squirrel” that the negative thoughts use, because I do a lot of work in computer-related fields.

    Remember, your brain uses electricity (via neurons) to function. Seizures and OMs are like electrical misfires or storms, from what I’ve been able to dig up on information research, so for some folks tech is not the best distraction.

    While stress-reduction techniques aren’t always 100% effective, my patio’s got a potted-plant garden that would make Poison Ivy green with envy. Hang in there, guys, and just remember… it ain’t real, it ain’t you, it ain’t about you, and it only has control if you let it. Stay awesome, and wishing you a better week.

  • Scharee66
    11 months ago

    Your article is so true my daily headache started 15 years ago when I had a 5 year old and a 14 year old. I see myself as someone who does not have a future. I work from home most days such a blessing but I am a prisoner in my home and getting heavier every day. My youth is gone I am just waiting for my headaches to stroke me out. I chronicle my life on facebook (life with a daily headache)

  • OyMyHead
    11 months ago

    My chiropractor suggested I buy something called a Head Hammock. It really helps overall. I bought mine off ebay or Amazon for under $20 shipped. All you do is lay your head in it and you feel the stretch all down your neck and even down your shoulders and back, or at least I do. When my back is hurting from it, I relax, let the process work, and within minutes it will all finally release. Be careful though, as I have found your neck and head can go numb from blood restriction if you lay in it for more than 3 minutes at a time. So keep it to 2-3 minute intervals and I think you will find every day relief as I did. No, it doesn’t fix migraines, but it really helps.

    My migraines are from Histamine Intolerance, so I get a million painful symptoms except for the actual huge headache, but my neck… oy! (I guess I should have picked the username OyMyNeck instead LOL). Sigh.

    The weather here in So CA has been insanely bipolar. 30 degree variations from morning to night. Nothing is normal about our weather this whole year. I’m at the tail end (I hope) of a 4 day migraine right now. I’m getting tested for mold soon as well as I think the apt I lived in for 4 years had mold and I was sick as ever living there.

    My symptoms: I get the right-eye-droop a day before or day of a migraine before I actually get it. I forget names, see spots, my hands get clumsy, my head gets heavy and I feel like I’m on a ship, I get VERY heavily depressed the day before.. I mean doomsday, if it’s at night my breathing gets weird like it stops momentarily even if I’m still awake, sore neck from h-e-double-hockey-sticks, neck cracks a lot (actually, my neck gets oddly super loose right before, then tenses up into a spasm and won’t let go until the migraine is done), Oh another tell is I itch insanely especially down the front of my legs (probably Histamine intolerance related), oh brother, I could go on with what I endure every time. It’s awful. And I can’t take any meds, not even aspirin because with H.I. you are hyper sensitive to everything, especially meds. I can only take small amounts of children’s Benadryl.

    Love and miraculous healing to each and every one of you. This isn’t what life should be about.

  • laurahildebrand
    11 months ago

    I have intractable migraine, treatment resistant depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. Everything stems from the migraines which I have every single day. I have a neurologist, a headache specialist, a therapist, and a psychiatrist. Nothing is helping me. I’ve tried every migraine treatment imaginable to no avail, and I’ve been on so many antidepressants that didn’t help me at all. In fact, some of them made me feel worse. I am in a very dark time of my life right now. The pain and depression are winning. I am holding on by my fingernails. Something has to change soon.

  • GlennMunkres
    1 year ago

    I was taught self hypnosis by a professional some years ago. I can make my pain disappear for a short time, and diminish it longer. I can now go into my “thing” in about 30 seconds. (I tell my wife that I am going to do my “thing.”) After many years I have not been able to perfect this, does anyone have any thoughts?

  • Jeani
    11 months ago

    I had a professional teach me that for dealing with PTSD. So I’ve used it a lot. If you “go out of body” you don’t feel pain. The problem is, with migraine aura, I automatically get the “out of body feeling. That’s when I need to focus extremely hard on a task and block all else out. Focusing works good on migraine Pain also, for me.

  • cherylcash
    1 year ago

    I call my migraine days, eclipse periods. My whole personality is overshadowed with the pause of how not only my head, eyesight and hearing are affected, my whole abdomen is sick as well. I am not my normal self during my migraines and reading your input on the serotonin and dopamine levels being exceptionally low, helps me further understand. Since my migraines last for more than 24 hours, I understand in myself that it is a waiting game. I rate my headaches from 1-5 five being severe and use medication when they are bad since my body can become dependent on the meds. I recall something I heard from a talk with Thic Nhat Hann, a buddhist monk regarding being with these parts of ourselves that we would like to discard. When I remember this practice, it always helps me to relax into my discomfort. His suggestion is to name the pain, discomfort and speak to it. I will say, ” Hello my headache, I know you are there, I am going to take good care of you. ” My nausea that always comes with my headache I address as well. I will say this often through out my time when having migraines. Though my pain stays, it does help me to say this to my self. Good luck to you on your journey.

  • MJM817
    1 year ago

    I had a 5-level cervical spine fusion, a cornea transplant and the cataract surgery in the last year. Now I have migraines EVERY DAY. I cannot think of any kind of activity…deep breathing, meditation, prayer, etc that I haven’t tried to get some relief. I just turned 60 and I don’t see anything to look forward to in my life. I have no children, no social network, I’m retired and the friends I have still work, have families and due to the surgery and lack of clear vision I’ve been isolated for about a year. My husband has been through the whole journey with me and I know he’s getting very frustrated. I’m saying I don’t want to continue like this, but nothing has helped! I’m extremely irritable and very depressed. Acupuncture, therapy, counseling and medication have helped very very little. I just can’t keep waking up every day to the same migraine. I’ve seen a neurologist, had an MRI, and she sent me to PT…a complete failure, although I went to every appointment. My poison thought? It will end when I’m dead. There’s nothing else.

  • IllySid
    12 months ago

    Also i learned that taking pain killers the moment you realize your having a migraine really helps. The earlier you take pain meds the less you suffer. Especially when i was younger i would take advil the moment i see colors and hope that i caught it in time. sometimes i did and i continued on playing other times i did not catch it in time and still suffered the same pain as if i didnt take any pain meds. Pain meds honestly for me i find it pointless sometimes cause i feel like they dont help if i dont catch it early. im canadian not american and im sure we have the same type of over the counter meds. if you dont have an ibuprofen allergy advil works better on migraines then tyelenol. everyone is different this is just from my own experience. if your waking up with these migraines take a painkiller and have breakfast. you learn what your triggers are over time. sometimes if the weather is really bipolar and its really windy where you live somehow someway that triggers migraines too. i hope u feel better. tc.

  • IllySid
    12 months ago

    Hi, i just read your post and i just wanted to say dont give up. im 25 and ive been having migraines since i was 10. I’ve experienced every type of migraine, most times i have aura’s sometimes light sensitivity sometimes sound sensitivity or both or all 3, abdominal problems .. the list goes on. Every year it changes ( like what combinations of symptoms i get or the pattern of aura’s i see) and the frequency decreases.. i dont get as much migraines as i used to when i was younger, my advice to you would be to avoid all triggers. Such as oily foods ( anything fried or that requires you to use oil), fast food, soda, anything with MSG especially msg, chinese or asian foods especially chinese food because it has alot of msg, anything with chocolate or that is chocolate flavored, even butter avoid butter. I’ve gotten better over the years but when i was younger stepping into mc donalds made me have aura’s and i’d start crying cause i knew the type of pain i was going to experience and that i couldn’t play in the play place with my siblings and friends. Now i can step into mcdonalds lol and chocolate really isnt a trigger for me but anything oily is. In the past two weeks i’ve had a migraine for 5 days straight and another attack 2 days ago because i just tasted an omelette that had a bit more oil than it should have. which mind u i just tasted a tiny bit and decided it was too oily for me. Also try avoiding strong smells, you know have they have those axe commercials I HATED AXE SPRAYS in highschool because some boys would over do it and i’d get a migraine at school. i don’t know you or your lifestyle but clean eating is KEY and maybe if you start making fruit/veggie smoothies or fruit/oatmeal shakes in the mornings and boil your meat or bake it and steam your veggies, juicing and detoxing is also good, the fiber helps aswell, constipation causes headaches and abdominal problems as well and the fiber from the fruits and veggies will help alot if you do and if you don’t your still getting rid of toxins and improving your digestive system. Honestly eating clean and super healthy really helps with my migraines. This is the FIRST TIME IVE EVER IN MY LIFE where i actually went out of my way to make an account just to reply to a post. i read what you said and i felt bad i know the feeling. in grade 10 i had a migraine pretty much the whole year. In the morning i would be fine but by 3-5 pm id get a migraine and sometimes i’d take advil or tyelenol other times i wouldnt cause i kinda got used to the pain and would just go to sleep. Your Diet is honestly important and drink 2L of water daily. it may take some time but im positive you’ll feel relief. I hope you see this. keep positive and have a great day/ evening/night. <3

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi there @MJM817, I first want to commend you for being so open about everything you are feeling and have been going through over the years. I am so sorry that migraine has altered & impacted your life so greatly. Please know you are absolutely NOT alone in these feelings. Just as this article titled, Debunking Misconceptions about Depression states, “Depression is one of the most common co-existing conditions seen in migraine patients” I also want give you major praise for taking all of the right steps in trying to find effective care & treatment for yourself. This takes a tremendous amount of time and energy and it sure does become so difficult to remain hopeful and positive when it seems like every attempt you hit becomes a dead end. Please forgive me if some of this information has already been shared with you, but I thought I’d provide you with some resources that may give you a bit of hope.

    50 Years & Older Living With Migraine
    Why we ask about your doctor
    Top Places to Find Support with Living with Migraine
    I’ve Tried Everything

    I realize I have shared quite a few resources with you, but I sure hope they might provide you with some comfort & helpful information. Know we are always here to lend an ear & for support. Warmly, Joanna ( Team)

  • hidden
    1 year ago

    Right now it’s whispering shoot me. The pain is so bad again. I feel cursed or dammed. 25 years and no relief. No way to live.

  • Beef
    1 year ago

    I Deffinently understand the bad thoughts while in the grips of agony thing. I’ve tried everything too and my best strategy is to put on my favorite singer Ms.Lady day the woman the legend the lady who sings the blues…Ms.Billie Holiday on low a whisper if the migrains a doozy. Then to lay back with a heating pad undermy neck and back of skull. Then to grab the back of my head carefully as to avoid pushing into the hole they drilled. And slowly gently stretch my neck out. Neck massage works well too but my boyfriend won’t do it his hands cramp up. Hopefully the people in your life are tougher then him. Ummmm oh YEAH cannabis salve a topical cream with active CBDs. Also cannabis tincture works wonders but the CBD stuff the THC doesn’t work and it freaks me out. But everyones different if you don’t mind getting high try the THC stuff. But the active pain killing agents are strongest in CBD tincture. Ummm oh holey Crap I just remembered something I tried years ago and forgot all about. Lemon honey and salt I can’t remember the exact amounts but I think it was squeez half a lemon mix with a tablespoon of raw honey and a tea spoon of salt stir in warm water chug WALLA migrain banished ok I’m really tired it’s 4 on and I’m in bed due to an abdominal migrain. Oh yeah do you guys know about those? Abdominal migrains are a thing they are terrible and I think that’s what I’ve been suffering from for the last year…….ok bye now

  • CurtieCarol
    1 year ago

    I have both migraines and depression, but I have not found the depression to intensify while having a migraine. Maybe that is because I have trouble thinking about anything during a migraine. Anyway, I began self-treating for depression years ago. I take 5-HTP, an over-the counter supplement that gives you all the precursors for serotonin. It is the most effective thing I have done for my depression. Regarding research that shows migraines lessen over the years, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I am 73 years old, and I still have migraines. I was having chronic migraines last year, and I read that hormone restoration could help prevent migraines. Yes, I had quit my over-the-counter bioidentical hormone creams. I got with a doctor to actually test my hormone levels hormone levels and prescribe bioidentical hormone creams. I am still getting migraines, but they are less frequent, and easier to treat with medicine. I have found through the years that I have to become the expert on whatever ails me or my children. Most doctors just don’t take or have the time to research a condition for any one patient. I research everything.

  • RoseDM
    1 year ago

    When I first started getting migraines 20 years ago, I thought death would be a relief. Please hang in there. Try and focus on all the positive aspects in your life. Tack up notes around your home or office with positive reminders. Ask yourself every evening, “What good thing happened to me today?” Maybe it was as simple as finding a great parking space, or a pretty sunset. The important thing is to train yourself to look for the positive things in your life rather than focusing on the negative, which is an easy trap to fall into.

  • migrainemissi
    1 year ago

    I have my roommate actually hide the sharp objects.Because I have suicidal thoughts and impulses when my migraine starts. I am physically and mentally and emotionally drained from the onset of the migraine. I am going to a therapist about the suicidality I experience with the migraine. I am very slowly getting better about it but it’s a hard thing to do. I never talk about it with my family because they wouldn’t understand the impact of this chronic debilitating diesease.If only they could experience a day in the life of me with a migraine at least then they would have a incling of how I feel.But I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    1 year ago

    Major kudos to you @migrainemissi for taking the right steps and getting the support that you need! It absolutely is a tremendously hard thing, but that is wonderful that you feel that you are slowly getting to a better place. I am sure you are already well armed with with access to the information for immediate support, but in case you are not and considering self-harm, call the 24-hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Know there is always someone there for you when you need it most.

    Thank you for being here and always feel free to reach out.
    Joanna ( Team)

  • bet
    1 year ago

    can understand bad thoughts. pain can do crazy things to all people. but I have never been able to get others to understand or feel my pain. I have thought of things that might help them to beable to feel what I do. but cant do any of that. it makes me so mad that I cant make them feel it. there has been times I have had to fight myself to not hurt them just so they get an ideal of it but I never do it cause no one should have to feel this kind of pain. I pray a lot for help and to put people in my life that do understand how I feel and what I am going through. IT WOULD BE MICE TO GET THE COURTS TO KNOW ITS NOT JUST A HEADACHE THAT ITS NOT JUST MADE UP/IN MY HEAD. Why is it so hard to get others to see,feel and understand what migraines do to those of us that do what our life is for us. I know what I have now is not a really life ! Its just bearly making one day at a time hoping and praying not to have another migraine today or to night.. Not to wake up with there anything I can do to help me with this?

  • Jo Petersen
    1 year ago

    When Migraine’s poison whispers in my ear, I count my blessings and give thanks. That migraine in my head is telling me nothing but lies, so I must fight and see nothing but good. It doesn’t matter that I feel awful, am in so much pain, its my job to see what is good about this day even if its the fact that I can lay here in pain in a soft warm bed, in a warm house, and I know I am loved. When I start thinking of my blessings they are so much more than what this migraine has done to me. My life is actually pretty great, its just that I am on a delay right now. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, so I will just let myself rest. Its all good and I am so thankful.

  • Beef
    1 year ago

    That’s beautiful way to stay positive. I struggle with keeping myself positive when I am in SO much agony. But negative thinking only makes things worse. I have migrains because I crashed my bike going fast I’m not sure how fast. My best friend was with me and he said as we were going down a hill my bike began to pick up speed and just as he called out BEEF SLOW DOWN (my nickname is beef) my bike suddenly cought air flipped over and I landed head first on the pavement with no Helmut. I wore my hair in a 2 foot Mohawk at the time so I guess I didn’t want to push my hair down to wear my Helmut. It seems my vanity killed me. Literally I died 3 times in the ambulance. They intabated me and removed a palm size portion of my skull allowing my brain to mushroom out of my skull whilst I was in a tent to keep out infection even so my body was raging with staff and they gave me loads of antibiotics. I was in the coma for 3 weeks and when I woke up didn’t recognize my family at all. Ok I’m tired I’ll write more later. What I really came here to ask.

  • Michelle Rudder
    1 year ago

    That’s me in the drawing.

  • Nancy Meller
    1 year ago

    I have had migraines since childhood, and most recently Lyme and mold illness which gave me daily migraines. Because of my illness which was diagnosed 4 years ago, I feel very isolated. I don’t have the energy to go out so people have just forgotten about me. However, when I have days that the poison whispers in my ear I try not to fight it. I think it only makes it worse. I try to remember when I am feeling really bad or in pain of course I am going to feel depressed. For me watching TV is my escape. I also do artwork on the computer with photographs. Sometimes it doesn’t work and I do wallow in my sadness. Those days are really bad. Luckily, I have a good therapist who reminds me how much I am doing and I am not alone, and why I am depressed. Thank you to everyone who has shared their story, it is very helpful.

  • Sharon
    1 year ago

    I lay in bed in a mostly dark room and listen to soft instrumental music. I don’t want any words. I don’t need the help with “thoughts”. I just lay still and and soft and allow my thoughts to go to Jesus Christ and any Promise He has made to me that i can think of. Even if it is just one Promise at that time….it still lifts me up and calms my soul.

  • EvieP
    1 year ago

    I’m 63 and have had migraines since age 12, a month before my period started. I so looked forward to menopause because people say sometimes they go away after that, though it didn’t happen for me. Something along the lines of “poison in your ear” is something that I’ve had a very hard time with and that’s the fear. The fear of having one. Everything will be going fine and I’ll be feeling great, and then the thought about having one will pop into my head and it won’t go away. Next thing I know, I’m hanging over the toilet or taking five showers a day just for the heat on my head or wishing I could just sleep it off, but sometimes even the boon of sleep doesn’t come. The fear of having to go through this time after time affects my entire life to the point where I’m sure others who know me (and don’t get them) think I’m some kind of eccentric weirdo because I eat the same things and do the same things, all because of The Fear. The voice in my head tells me not to eat things (a LOT of things) because I might get one, so I eat the same ol’ stuff every day. The voice in my head says “Don’t do that”, so there are so many things I don’t do because if I do, I could get one. The voice in my head says “Hurry! Breathe through your mouth!” because the world is full of smells that could trigger one or make it so much worse. All you have to do is breathe the wrong thing (perfume, after shave, cigarette smoke, fresh road tar, gasoline, etc.) at the wrong time and you’ll get eaten alive, so I’ve now become a mouth breather. The list of things I can’t do, can’t eat, can’t smell just goes on and on. Don’t get too much sun. Don’t go without the sun too long. I feel like I’m walking a tightrope. And the truth is, even though I’ve come to live in this little protective box, they still come and last for three days. Over the past several years, I’ll get one on the right (my usual side since childhood) and when that’s over, I get one on the LEFT side for three days, so the fear has intensified to some degree. I can’t talk about them, even to people who have them, because it makes me so emotional and I can’t stop crying (I’m crying now) and I realize that I’ve been so traumatized by these horrible things that it’s painful to try and explain to someone just what people like me go through. I can’t just accept it, I can’t just blow it off or sleep it off. When I feel one coming, I’m like a mouse in a maze, desperate to find the way out. As soon as it’s over, I wash EVERYTHING on my bed, but even this has become a scary thing because I’ve gotten to where I’m afraid to wash my bed linens for fear that it’ll jinx me and as soon as everything’s clean, I might get another one (and yes, this has happened). I’ve become hypervigilant about it and this has turned me into an anxiety ridden mess at times. I tell people I feel like I’m being chased by a monster that hides around dark corners just waiting for me to let my guard down so it can pounce on me and steal my life for the duration. I feel like I’m being assaulted but am powerless to stop it. I know that there’s a very big part of this that’s psychological. I’ve even tried hypnosis and past life regression to find an answer. As mentioned in this article, the depression is overwhelming sometimes. I’ll try something new and it might work for a little while, but just when you start to get hopeful (but don’t you dare tell anyone you’ve found something that helps because then it’ll stop working), you wind up with another one. I begun to worry about my old age and how I’m gonna deal with it then, so I’m desperate to find a cure now. I wonder if I’d have the courage to end my own life if it became too hard to handle once I get to be, like, 80 or 90. Don’t know if that’s part of the depression because I’m a pretty optimistic person, but enough would be enough at that point. Does anyone else have this fear?

  • Always the optimist
    9 months ago

    yes I do
    its petrifying
    it does fade eventually though so I keep that in mind

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi there @EvieP. I first just wanted to say thank you for being so open and honest in sharing your experiences living with migraine. You have shared & expressed so many sentiments that so many can relate all to well to in this community. Making every attempt at trying ti avoid that “monster” on a daily basis by living a regimented life can absolutely take not just physical, but a great emotional toll. As it sounds like you understand all to well is that migraine and depression can go hand in hand and are in fact a comorbid condition. I thought I would share an article by one of our contributor that discusses how she navigated through that darkness. – Please know too while I realize you have not shared thoughts of harming yourself now, but thinking ahead if the pain became to much to endure, know you always have somewhere to turn to for help. If you are in crisis and in danger of hurting yourself, please utilize these resources;
    Here are additional ways to reach out for help;
    ➤ Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
    Visit or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

    ➤ National Hopeline Network:
    Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
    24- hour suicide prevention and support. Your call is free and confidential.

    Thank you for being here, sharing your story and know we are always here to lend an ear.

    Wishing you a gentle night.
    -Joanna ( Team)

  • klweee
    1 year ago

    I’m on year 10 as a migraine sufferer. Depression always comes hand in hand with the pain. For me, I notice a shift in my attitude the day before a migraine. Anyway, I used to go to a chiropractor who also did craniosacral work, and she gave me this tip. When you’re looking for anything to distract from the pain, lay in the dark with your eyes closed and pay attention to the colors that appear behind your eyelids. Sounds crazy but if you concentrate on it after a while you should see undulating colors. Usually blue and violet. Watch their patterns for a while. Mine radiate from the side my migraine is on. Once you can see this, attempt to make a ball of whiteness in the field of colors. Small at first then bigger until the bright white is all you see. Hold it there as long as you can. Tell yourself that the white is healing light that you are creating, and you have the power to shift your pain. It all sounds so new agey and hokey but if nothing else it gives you something else to focus on in the darkness, and it will decrease the pain and negativity. Try it!

  • GlennMunkres
    1 year ago

    Great suggestion! I am going to try it our on my next onset! White light is a gift I give to friends – why not ME!

  • Dblu9494
    1 year ago

    Anna – thanks for sharing this! It certainly made me feel less alone.

    I’d recommend trying to talk to someone. I usually call my best friend or my boyfriend and just being on the phone with another person helps distract me enough to get away from bad thoughts. Or if not, there’s someone who loves you on the other end of the line who can tell you it’s going to be ok.

    Additionally, being on the phone means I can be in the dark and not look at the brightness of my screen.

  • tyessence
    1 year ago

    The thoughts happen to me as well as I lie down in silence waiting for it to pass. This is a disease. We have to keep trying different things and pray for science to kick in….. you will make it. Things will get better….

  • parmes
    1 year ago

    So this is going to sound strange but stick with me. I was told by my therapist that there’s a part in your brain that reacts faster than the rest, the part that harbers the “fight or flight” mode, and a lot of times it reacts to repeated situations in the same way over and over so that you stay safe. She called it the Toad because it’s about the size of a toad and it doesn’t think, only reacts to situations it sees as scary.
    This Toad retains your reactions to the situations for safe keeping, so that when it comes up again Toad can pull it right back up. So if at some point you were made to feel like crap about your condition, or you naturally slipped into the toxic thinking spiderweb that happens to most of us on at least one of our horrible attacks, then the Toad retained those thoughts and is ready to throw them at you EVERY TIME you start to feel that way again.
    The Toad is useful in some ways as well. If you start to recognize the bad thoughts coming, you can hand it good thoughts to memorize instead. It takes a long time to get to this point; I’ve been working on it for years and still have thoughts climb on top of me.
    But I don’t know about you, having the image in my head of a tiny toad saying those things rather than me saying them to myself is actually quite amusing.

  • icanseetheivy
    2 years ago

    Toxic thinking is the side effect of migraine that isn’t discussed very often, but can be as debilitating as every other symptom. Carolyn Leaf wrote a book called SWITCH ON YOUR BRAIN.…That’s a must read!!!! I’ve also found relief with frankincense essential oil( topical, diffused, and internal). And when possible, listening to praise and worship music (Kari Jobe) is not only the distraction that helps me drown out the toxic thoughts, it reinforces TRUTH!!!

  • Jan
    2 years ago

    I’ve had chronic depression all my life, so I pay attention to my thoughts. My depression often manifests in anger, so I watch my frustration and pressure levels closely. When I start spouting off to my husband and/or I feel like throwing something, I know something is off. LOL! For me, becoming weepy and overly sentimental is a prime indicator that a migraine is starting, so I recognize those symptoms and start my protocol.

    Obviously, we can’t keep frustration or pressure at bay all the time, but I’ve been fortunate enough and have made choices (and sacrifices) that keep it to a minimum. When I start thinking, “I would, I could, I should,” and especially “I must,” (we call this “musterbating”), I try to fall back on the Cognitive Behavior Therapy (or Rational Emotive Behavior now) training I had in my 20s.

    As others often remind us here, we’re all different (thank God!) and we have our coping mechanisms: yoga, prayer, Sudoku, coloring, music, and sometimes just sleeping (if possible). I’m so glad we can share them here!

  • DozenRabidMongeese
    2 years ago

    A question I’ve been contemplating lately: which arrives first, the migraine or the depression? I’ve had migraines since I was a child, and i wasn’t depressed as a kid, so I know in the scope of my entire life the migraines came before the depression. What I’m wondering is this: now that I get migraines regularly and bouts of depression swarm around the migraines (sometimes beginning before the migraines and sometimes after) is the depression intensifying the migraines or are the migraines intensifying the depression? Anybody else pondering this or have a similar experience?

    In answer to the original question in the post: I hug my dogs and remind myself they’d both have been euthanized if I hadn’t saved them, so I’m not a complete waste of space, and then I fall asleep until I have to get up and scramble to get to work on time where I’m too busy to contemplate anything beyond the task at hand. I’m able to sleep and work regularly only because my prescription keeps the migraines at bay. Without the daily meds to keep me mostly functional I wouldn’t have a job anymore and I don’t know how I’d cope.

  • tyessence
    1 year ago

    The migraine comes first luv.

  • LaydeeJayne
    1 year ago

    I have lost so many wonderful jobs that I love because of my headaches…
    I am (was) a VeterinaryTechnician and Wildlife rehaber…
    I so miss It!!!
    I have had migraines since I was in grade school…I am 51yrs old ( Shocked I actually made It!!) Back then They had no idea!!!
    I am so glad some of you have found ways to cope..

  • Julieeb
    2 years ago

    I am 60 years old and have suffered from chronic migraines since my early twenties. There were and sometimes still are times that I wonder what kind of life this is or really no life at all. I was forced to give up my career when I was 49. My marriage ended…who wants to be married to someone who spends most of the time in bed.
    I have gone through periods of few migraine days a month to every day being a migraine day. I admit that I allow myself to sink into hours of self pity but I really do try to fight it.
    When the pain is just too much, I pray. I pray for relief, a miracle and also understanding. I know I am blessed in many, many ways so I try to focus on that instead of feeling sorry for myself. It’s hard.
    There are times that I resent my partner for being able to get up each morning and head to the gym or do whatever he had planned. I can’t plan anything since I never know how I’m going to feel when I wake up.
    But as someone else commented, when I don’t have pain, I try hard to just be happy. I try to focus on the positive.
    Why do we all suffer so much from what most people call “headaches” I’ll never understand. Why nothing helps, I don’t understand. But each day brings new hope for some break through.
    Stay strong.

  • Victoria
    2 years ago

    My comments are about “the distraction attraction.” I USED to spend hours working on Sudoku puzzles when I was having a terrible migraine because it calmed me. I didn’t realize at the time that the position of my neck while I was focusing on the puzzles was detrimental to my well-being, in particular the muscles in my neck and shoulders. So, even though the mindfulness of working the puzzles was calming, the position was working against me. Now I only do a few at a time whether or not I’m in a migraine state. Those of you who are coloring or looking at your screens for long periods of time, please be aware that you may be unintentionally exacerbating your situation by holding your neck at an uncomfortable angle.

  • adtowe
    2 years ago

    Headspace is a mindful meditation app that has helped me a lot! They do a package of 30 days on Pain Management and it deals with, not getting rid of the pain, but learning to look at it from a new perspective. You learn that although there is pain in your body, maybe one or five or even seven parts, there isn’t pain from your head to your toes. In other words, yes, you are in pain, but there are other parts of you that are not in pain. This has helped me a lot.

    Also, it covers the idea of giving your pain space to be. I know when I get a migraine, the stress from even getting a migraine makes me tense up – and I try to relax. The problem isn’t that I”m not relaxing, it’s that I try to shut out the pain. Sometimes giving pain the room to just be pain can help you relax – and it can help even lessen the amount or severity of the pain sometimes!

  • moneypenni
    2 years ago

    I will try meditation. but I admit my Buddhist practice often suffers because of my migraines. And the last 3-4 weeks have been horrible for me.

  • jems
    2 years ago

    Can so relate to all you’ve said, Anna. Yes, scary thoughts indeed. Whilst in the grip of migraine induced low serotonin, thoughts can become so bleak – I’ve found grief (loss of loved one) particularly exacerbated during an attack. I can’t function at all in order to create diversions, it just has to be the darkened bedroom and rest – can’t look at any screen. What I do find soothing is listening to the sound of ocean waves on mp3 … somehow it seems to calm my inflamed brain on a subliminal level.

  • drmaryb
    2 years ago

    Thoughts are incredibly important and I thank you for this post.

    I know that everyone’s migraine experience is different and this may not help everyone – but it helps me. When I first begin to notice symptoms (whether prodrome, headache, nausea or whatever), I try to stay in “notice” mode. I try not to assume that I know where this is going, how long it is going to last and what it will interfere with.

    I may think I know but, in reality, all of my migraine attacks are unique events. If I remind myself that I do not know what is coming, I can allow the day to unfold. If I have a symptom I know how to treat, I will try that, e.g. drink ginger tea for nausea. Then I will continue doing what I normally would be doing if I didn’t have the symptoms.

    I continue doing what I would otherwise do unless or until I can tell that I am not able, e.g. I’m not safe to drive, I’m not competent to carry out my profession. I then stop, recognizing that this is temporary, and do something else while awaiting restoration of that particular ability.

    I try not to judge myself (for lifestyle mistakes that may or may not have triggered the attack) and I try not to judge others (for not understanding, etc.). I have religious faith and so I may pray, asking not just for relief, but to be “well enough” to fulfill my responsibilities to others.

    I also have been working on finding meaning in suffering. All people suffer – different ways, different times in their lives. I can accept my affliction as a way of being joined to the other 7 billion people on the planet who also suffer. I am not alone and, joined with them, neither are they.

    Wishing all of you well.

  • suzibelle
    2 years ago

    I think this is such an important topic to discuss concerning migraine I have read everyone’s comments and advice and feel quite uplifted!
    My strategies for dealing with a migraine are usually putting an old comforting black and white movie on tv (easier on the eyes) and pacing a lot followed by flopping into bed out of sheer exhaustion and either gratefully throwing up or falling into a semi sleep. Then I wake up and do this all over again.
    Chronic pain is something that can suck you up and spit you out. I am learning to observe my thoughts when I am having a migraine and to not blame myself for my headaches anymore. I am also trying to observe my thoughts when I don’t have a headache and I find that even without pain, I frequently have negative thoughts throughout the day in anticipation for my next migraine. This is one of my dumber thought patterns in life “Will this ice cream cone give me a headache tomorrow? Can I exercise today or will that put me over the migraine threshold? Crap, there’s a cold front coming-I’m bound to get a migraine”. Really? There has got to be a better way to live with this . A person can get a bit obsessed with outside factors contributing to migraine whether they be out of our control or within our control. If these factors are out of our my control, well I am damned if I do something and damned if I don’t. If these factors are within my control and I choose to ignore them, the GUILT comes rushing into my mind and I am left with a migraine which I am responsible for (maybe, who really knows for sure) . I’m glad I have a sense of humor about myself because when I stop and think about what I am thinking about, I crack myself up.
    I’m sorry I have rambled on so much and veered off topic a bit.

  • casswhite2013
    2 years ago

    Hey Anna. Yeah, I’ve been (am?) there. I am currently battling a migraine that has snuck up, post Irma thanks to the low pressure front moving through. I live for distraction when I’ve got a migraine and honestly its about the only thing that helps. Currently, I’m at work contemplating going home because I am so dizzy I can barely see straight. Once the dizziness passes, I probably will. The distraction is what helps most of us manage our pain, so it always bugs me when I see meme’s such as “if you are on your phone during an attack, you aren’t really suffering.” I live for literally anything that will make the pain go away, or at least numb me to it. I usually rock some stellar sunglasses and go back to enjoying the little screen that has been dimmed to an acceptable level while not hindering the functionality of my pinterest memes. Migraines suck, but anything that will help is greatly appreciated.

  • TBI and still going
    2 years ago

    Those thoughts adressed above always try to creep into our heads no matter what! What I have found successful is to focus on something enjoyable that I will do once I can leave the quiet room of darkness. Something as simple as take the kids to a park while I walk the dog. I also try to plan what I need to do once I feel better and prioritize the order. For example prep dinner, do Tyler’s uniform, and get Anna ready. I don’t worry about the house, dirty dishes, etc. once the migraine hangover leaves I return back to reality and take it one task at a time. I have had migraines since childhood! I can’t remember a time without them. I also had epilepsy. At 19 I out grew the seizures but by 21 in college the migraines intensified and became debilitating. Once again I searched for a new neurologist and gathered up a new battery of meds to make me able to get to class and read and study. I made many mistakes one I am not letting these migraines win I would try to still meet friends out, or still go to the gym, etc. only to realize exercise and alcohol just made me worse as if I wasn’t feeling bad enough. One time at my first job a migraine was starting at the end of the workday, but I still wanted to meet my colleague after and workout! Big mistake I think I had to pull over at least three times to throw up on my way home and took a sick day the next day! Fast forward to age 36. I was a mom of a 6 and 2 year old and we were on our way home from Disney! We were involved in a terrible car accident! My son who was 6 and I were knocked out on impact. He had a grandmal seizure on impact. At the time he was the most seriously injured. Thankfully he never had another seizure and all him symptoms healed and he completely recovered. I however was not so lucky. My chronic migraines became daily. The accident was on July 31, 2011 and by September or October I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and daily chronic migraines. I kept telling my neurologist I am really dizzy these migraines are the worst I have ever had. It was getting really hard to be “normal” at work. Driving was difficult. At times I couldn’t see straight. I walked like I was drunk and at times my speech slurred. The last two months of the school year I would come home and just go straight to bed. My husband was getting frustrated because he was a single dad for the most part. I was took sick to care. Then the turn for the worst I began falling down when I would bend over. I fell down my stairs more times than I could count and I knew something was terrible wrong. Since the accident I hadn’t been able to sleep through the night ever. I had strobe lights, crazy eye flicking which I later learned was nastagmis, and the drunk spins. U know the feeling u get when u lay down after drinking too much and the room spins! Yep I get that all the time without the booze! I describe myself as a sober drunk to people who wonder what it’s like inside my head! I was misdiagnosed with vertigo then BPPV a more severe case of vertigo. Then finally I was laying in bed unable to sleep once again and I remembered my major and that with balance issues I should go to see and audiologist and have and ENG test done! I was a speech language pathologist and my degree was in speech and hearing disorders! I guess my pain and sleep deprivation as well as being a mom of young children made my issues not a focus in my mind. Lol so I made an appointment with our ENT. Even though my testing only came back slightly abnormal he recommended a neurologist at the eye balance institute in Pittsburgh. So 1.5 years after the accident I received my balance disorder diagnosis. And I was placed on disability. My longest dizzy spell was two months and during that time I couldn’t drive. Hard to work anywhere when driving is inconsistent and I have week long migraines and dizzy spells. I am 43 so this is all old hat now! I have learned to accept my disability and to rely on my in-laws and kids friends parents to get my kids to their activities and games when I can’t! Giving up my workouts, sports and at times my independence were the hardest adjustments! My advice our diseases are not under our control but how we handle them is to an extent. We are gonna have those bad days and have a pity party for ourselves! Chronic pain and conditions suck plain and simple. We all know that as do those who love us and live with us. But when u have a good day or even a so so day choose happiness, choose something fun and enjoyable! Choose to LIVE! Life is to short to be in a bitchy mood all the time. If u struggle with chronic depression get counseling and possibly meds. Don’t be afraid to find that better quality of life! We all deserve that no matter what our conditions are! Keep on searching for that dr. U love and they will work with u to help find that life u can have. I also see a neurologist at the headache center in Pittsburgh every three months and I am happy to report that after about 50-60 med changes and 6 years I am consistently sleeping through the nights again. Now onto less migraines! Hang in their everyone the Mark Zuckerburg of migraine neurologists is out there and he or she will discover something that will help us all! I hope it’s during my lifetime!

  • Shy Sufferer
    2 years ago

    Thank you Anna for your story. It really resonates with me. I saw a psychologist recently who after her assessment, informed me that I do not suffer from clinical depression. I was happy to hear that but I am still struggling with bouts of intense sadness. I recently cut a trip to Europe short because of one of these bouts. That may be my biggest lesson so far to not feed into my poisonous thoughts when this sadness takes hold! I’ve read a lot about migraine and depression but until I read your story, I didn’t realize that the these dark thoughts was a common experience among those that suffer migraine/chronic migraine.
    All the best. SS

  • Purplelady63
    2 years ago

    I have tried many things, playing solitaire, drawing, working on a book I am writing, sleeping helps sometimes if I can get to sleep, just about everything to get my mind off the pain. Chronic Migraine and severe migraines, never without some type of pain in different stages everyday. I like to crochet, but it has to be a pattern that is mindless or I make mistakes :). I have heard in my head all the poison of your no good, what a thing to do to your husband, your worthless, you name it, but it is not like we asked for this, or brought it on ourselves, so do not get down, do what you can do and do not worry about the rest. Because worrying is not going to help. I know! Glad to have a place to come and see I am not alone, and know that all the strange things people say to you is not going to get you down either. Although I have wished people that do not understand get just one migraine, then they would not be so judgemental.
    LOL. I do enjoy the site

  • SandyWylie
    2 years ago

    While it’s often the hardest thing to practice, I try two things:
    To either use my negative thoughts as signs pointing to something deeper,
    Or, to just allow them to be, without judgment.
    When I’m down, I find that these negative thoughts seem to have qualifiers that sound like “always” or “never” or “everyone” or “no one.” When I hear those, it’s a pretty good sign that some old wound is triggered. I try to determine if there’s anything I can do to care for that wounded part. (Yes, this sounds like psycho-babble… but it comes after years of therapy.) Especially, with migraine, I feel alone and like I can’t ask for help. that’s an old feeling that I can sometimes soothe with some self care.
    When that feels too hard to do, I try to abide by the saying “Don’t believe everything you think.” Sometime those poisonous thoughts are like getting a cat by the tail. They spin into something larger. If I can just observe them (yes, therapy-talk again) they just pass by like a leaf on the water in a stream. Meditation does help, especially if I can visualize my thoughts to be just that – floating down a stream.
    Then, of course, there are days when I suck at all this, and I feel awful, and cry and mope and isolate. My dogs are good therapists when I’m in that place.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi SandyWylie, thanks so much for your thoughtful post. I know that I for one take something very personal from it. I’ve never thought, but can certainly see, that qualifiers are indicators of old wounds. For me, the insight can come easy, the implementation of the knowledge is a bit harder. Thanks so much for being here and sharing your insights, we’re glad you’re here! -Warmly, Donna ( team)

  • michellespeer
    2 years ago

    I’m very bad at controlling my negative thoughts in general, but especially during an extremely painful migraine. I’m working on meditation and controlling my thoughts when I’m not having a migraine, and it’s been helpful when I do have one. Also, I like watching videos from Helps me to keep grateful and realize that there are so many others out there dealing with similar or worse situations successfully.

  • Holly H.
    2 years ago

    Celebrate Every Little Accomplishment. I am a senior, and I’m telling you, this is huge. If you did the dishes, that is an accomplishment. Shoot, taking a shower on an especially wonky day without losing time and place brings on a congratulatory, “Whew, I did it.” My downtime is listening to a story while coloring. I don’t care how well I color… it’s something fun to do, a way to be creative, and has a feeling of accomplishment just to put color on the page.

    It’s another way to be gentle and kind to yourself. The migraine disorder is disheartening enough in many ways and on many different levels, and I know we all have those thoughts – nobody in all this pain with all these systemic effects of migraine can keep them at bay all the time. Being a senior, the thought of being a burden strikes deep. And just today I realized my beading days are over — the hours and hours of suffering after only an hour of beading has got to go. I’ve been making my own jewelry for years.

    The gentle and kind thing is to allow myself to grieve the loss, feel the feelings – like I did when I learned my driving days are over. However, I watch like everything to not go the path of “should have” and “could have been” and “if only,” because I have noticed how much it backs my personal atmosphere into a corner. I will find other distracting things, however small and simple they are increasingly needing to be.

    Because distraction is one of the best coping skills.
    It gives our thoughts somewhere else to visit, especially if it is pleasant, involving, accomplishing, lightly challenging, or spiritually uplifting… and adds life to our lives. Adding life to my life is one of my biggest challenges because after all this time with constant/chronic migraines, triggers are everywhere to this now over-the-top over-sensitive neurological system…but such a payoff.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Holly H, thank you so much for sharing your wise and gentle thoughts with the community <3. We're glad you're here. - Warmly, Donna ( team)

  • grammayumyum
    2 years ago

    I HAVE TO get my thoughts outside myself. I can’t do much of anything visual by the time these thoughts creep in, so it helps me to listen to a book on disc. I listen for a few minutes every morning while I get ready. That way the characters have already been established in my memory, before it’s time for lengthy migraine listening. I have a device from the Colorado Talking Book Library for the Blind and Disabled that allows me to adjust the pitch of the speaker’s voice and the speed of the narration. I need it slower and lower with a bigger migraine. (Chronic migraine most days)

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi grammayumyum (baker?), I absolutely understand the need to get my thoughts outside myself. Sometimes the thoughts can spin so fast and so hard they create a pressure all their own if you try to contain them. Thanks for being her and sharing your thoughts and the tip on the device that can be borrowed from a talking book library. We’re glad that you’re here! – Warmly, Donna ( team)

  • Tamara
    2 years ago

    I also have a hard time with those exact thoughts, except mine tend to go even worse into the “I am a drain on society, I’ll never find a boyfriend – going to die a virgin, can’t pay my bills (moving back in with my mom), what happens when mom gets old and I still need help? I don’t want to live if it’s going to have to be in pain” …. and if the pain gets really bad or the migraine drags on then the thoughts get REALLY bad in suicidal thoughts. You definitely aren’t the only one! My of my first prodrome symptoms is actually these thoughts and depression symptoms that pop up again.

    Yin or restorative yoga really helps me – the studio I go does it in a warm room (30C) so I get warmth that loosens all my muscles, the stretching which Is always good, interaction or at least the feeling of humans around without having to talk or engage, focus on deep breathing and an instructor who talks and you focused. I work around how my body feels and use ALOT of props since it is tight and doesn’t like to move. Some days I may not do certain poses or I ask for a modification which they are happy to do.

    I sit and read my quotes on my “positive board” over and over. If I knew how to put a picture up I would … I have it labelled at the top “tough times don’t last, tough people do” – my favourite song by Brett Kissel. Another important one for me is “it’s okay if all you did today was breathe”. And I have a list of “migraine superpowers”. Most of them I just goggle pictures of migraine motivational quotes to get a bunch of memes.

    Watching fluffy movies – distracts and makes you feel good. Watching one of Netflix today called full out about a gymnast who had a bad car accident and her recovery to make it to the Olympics .

    Colouring is a big one for me too, I too try and keep mindfulness going and stay in the moment. Even if it’s just focussing on breathing.

    I also made a “time out” bottle normally used to help kids cool down from a trantum. It’s a bottle with glitter that you turn upside down and watch until it’s all settled and turn flip again – good way of working on mindfulness if breathing doesn’t work and you can’t focus on anything else. Glitter glue, water, mineral oil, bottle and glitter is all you need ;). I have one beside my bed and one by the couch.

    Sorry if this post is a little rambly …. end of a migraine and bedtime so I’m exhausted but really wanted to give my tips so maybe someone else can benefit from them too

  • Luna
    2 years ago

    Uplifting upbeat but not jangly or irritating music. If it is night I put a cd on and press repeat all and it plays until I turn it off. No screen burning a hole in my eyeballs thanks. Sometimes I can listen to talk programs but then one ends and the next one may have a voice that is irritating when I don’t feel well.

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