Odd One Out
Last updated: February 2022
I've said and done some pretty odd things while in the midst of a migraine - some of those things were embarrassing, and others were outright bewildering.
My odd migraine tendencies
I thought I would share some of my strangest moments and habits with migraine, because so often, I hear folks in the community share things like: "Oh, I thought I was the only one who did *insert quirky thing here* when having a migraine attack." It is so important to be constantly reminded that we aren’t alone in this struggle, even through some of our most ‘odd’ moments.
Biting down on a cold cloth
I often bite down on a cold cloth when I have a migraine that is concentrated to one side. For some reason, this helps me relieve some of the pressure I can feel built up in my head and teeth, and the cold temperature of the cloth feels soothing.
Running water over my temples and scalp
I massage my temples under running water at my sink, even in the middle of the day. Water is a golden elixir for me when it comes to migraines, drinking it and pouring it on my head can offer me a lot of relief. Sometimes I even like to take the sprayer faucet and run water over my scalp as pain therapy.
Putting down the window in the car
I have let down the window in a moving car as a passenger, and poured bottled water on my head while letting the wind blow on my exposed head. The brisk air and the water sometimes offer me relief. I know I look odd to the cars around, trying to massage away the migraine and pouring bottled water on my head---but in the middle of a migraine, I often am in too much pain to care about the surrounding car-inhabitants thoughts.
Putting my head in the freezer
I sometimes stick my head right into the freezer and just stay there for a few moments, particularly during the hot summer. For me, cold therapy works wonders, and what better cold environment than a freezer? Heh.
Squinting one eye
I talk to people with one eye squinted, especially when the pain is concentrated on one side of my face. I know I might look odd holding a continual squint when I am in pain. To be honest, I don't think this really serves any relief properties; I have just noticed I do a lot of squinting on the side of the pain.
This one will be familiar to many migraineurs: the word mix-ups. Forgetting words altogether. Names. Places. Ideas. Sometimes the middle of a sentence becomes the end of the sentence with migraine. Oh, and calling people by the wrong name, that's a big one.
Having sudden bouts of anger
Being patient and calm while in pain is an active affair. I sometimes find myself 'slipping up' when I am in a lot of pain, where I become very impatient and my engagement with activities or in conversations will become short and sometimes eventually even angry at small things. I try to remember to offer the same patience and respect that is given to me and remember that being worked up and upset contributes to a worse migraine. It can be tough to stay calm and joyful when in pain, though.
Avoiding certain foods
I can’t take smell of certain foods at all when having a migraine. Developing nausea can also contribute quickly. There have been times when I have started cooking, only to wind up unable to continue because the smell is too nauseating, and my appetite is gone by the time the meal is finished.
Nausea followed by food cravings
Experiencing awful nausea, and them bam, ironically wanting something greasy and fried. This one is new for me, opposite my last 'quirk.' Depending on the day, my body can lean more towards one tendency than the other. I tend to want bland and unobtrusive things when in pain and nauseous, but recently I have found myself unable to get over the nausea, and I start craving an Impossible burger and fried onion rings.
Wearing sunglasses indoors
Okay, so this one isn't odd at all for many of us who live with migraine. It is often just a necessary part of our daily wear, though others might find it odd.
What are some of the things you experience that might be seen as a little odd that you would be glad to know you aren't the only one experiencing with migraine? Let's discuss in the comments!
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?