Migraine Dark Room 101
Fort building has always been a passion of mine. What started as a way to ‘create new and fantastical worlds’ turned into a cute and creative outlet. Whether they consisted of blankets or pillows, trees or bricks, building my own fort has always been an accomplishment. I went to school to be a trained actor, but engineering and handcrafts will always be my strong suit.
Learning from others' stories
Since I became a Migraine.com team member, I’ve learned so much about things that I just took for granted in my day to day life. Seeing people with chronic migraine share personal story after personal story has been incredibly humbling, but has put a lot of things into perspective. (I hope I made the right call)
The migraine dark room
The migraine dark room, also known as a migraine cave or a head-banging bunker (totally a thing and I didn’t make that up for sure 10/10). This a place where you can drown your triggers and stimuli. I’ve had, on many occasions, used my youthful fort-building skills to construct my own fortresses of solitude when the going gets tough. I’d like to share some of my tidbits and cool factoids if you will.
Moving home during college
While attending college, I stayed with my parents, from which I lived about 5 minutes away. I strived for that “rich college experience” but decided to move back home when my freshman friends got weird and emotionally toxic and money became a thing. My parents really sweetened the pot and offered to let me move into their basement rather than back upstairs to my previous room.
A permanent dark space
This place was like a kingdom! Unfinished but furnished with a TV, couch, and my own little bedroom with a curtain and everything. The best part about the space?
It was dark like all the time! With only those lil basement windows to provide light, I found that my migraines ran their course much easier there. I didn’t have to put up much at all. I mean sure I would wake up at noon without an alarm cause my skin felt no sun, but it protected me nonetheless!
Curtains are the best
Some people like blinds, or to stack pillows for their fort. Personally, I find blinds irritating and take several tries, no matter how long you’ve had them, to discern which is the right stinking cord to pull so the whole thing doesn’t just go up on the ONE side.
Curtains are easy! Just pull them closed real quick. When migraine strikes and an aura emerges you might not have long to prepare.
A stash for comfort
Always keep water, saltines, and your rescue meds with you. Little bundles hidden in secret places wherever you go is incredibly convenient. I have mine in a backpack that I always carry around.
I was in a theatrical production where I stashed my goodies behind both stages left and right wings in case my body decided to die on me. Unapologetically keep your comfort resources nearby.
Try to sleep during an attack
Once you’ve created your fort, your space of solace, just try to fall asleep. Waking up through a migraine can suck, so try peaceful tunes if it doesn’t trigger. Snack lightly if you can stomach. Having a dark room is SO important when dealing with migraine and I hope you can make yours as comfortable as possible. Even if you aren’t as overkill as I am.
My dark room: