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A point of view illustration of someone driving and experiencing migraine with aura.

Driving Away Migraine

It’s taken me a very long time to find pride in being able to do things on my own. I was very blessed to have parents who supported me in my endeavors and sought to give me the best tools possible to handle life. They taught me how to be responsible with a pet, clean up after myself, handle money, and most importantly, drive.

I was stuck in a parking lot

My mom and dad used to take me out to our church’s ENORMOUS parking lot and practice driving around and around, practicing turning, and parallel parking.

It had been three years since I was eligible to start my long and tenuous process learning how to navigate the great paved unknown. Yet, I was no closer to achieving that goal.

I was scared I would get an aura

Even before I was diagnosed with migraine, they would find their way into my head all the same and I was terrified that it would affect my driving. I mean, when I’m on the road, on that long open trail, all I have at the end of the day is myself. Sure, I can jam out to my pop tunes or listen to my favorite advice podcast, but I am always the operator of the vehicle. I am the brains behind the machine and sometimes when the circumstances were right…

My eyes, the things I trust the most – the two balls that I have such faith in to not betray me – at any given moment, might fail me. An aura might take over and that was enough for fear to take over for three years. That paranoia was enough to keep me landlocked and in the clutches of my parents’ backseat, despite being actively social.

I wanted my independence

My parents drove me on dates when I was eighteen.

I could vote and cast my ballot and decide who became the next president (not single-handedly to be fair). I was a real-life legal adult and I couldn’t drive to the polling place.

Well, what did I do?

I stepped out of my fear

Well, saying as how I’ve been driving now for like four years, I can safely say that something worked. I guess in short, I had a real frank conversation with myself. The pros of being able to drive, to be free and responsible for my own schedules and social life, was such a liberating idea.

Sure, it’s easy to say that now looking back, but it was a real issue that I was terrified of occurring. Something that has, very thankfully, never happened. I have yet to experience a migraine while driving. The fact that I can say that makes me so happy that I made the choice to not let it affect me. I wouldn’t have been able to travel to Boston and New York or be able to sustain the relationships that I have. I am very glad that I didn’t let fear be the boss of me. Driving is pretty cool.

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

Comments

  • kateymac
    4 weeks ago

    Hi – I’m glad you managed to get your license. This illness hits us in so many places – so difficult!
    Anyway – I used to get aura while driving. I know everyone’s aura is different, but mine always gave me time to pull over or find a parking space. It was annoying, but not unsafe.
    I only write this in hopes of assuring you that, because most visual auras start slow before working across your field of vision, if yours is similar,
    you’ll be safe out there.
    If your aura doesn’t start out slow, I hope my experience can be helpful somehow.
    Happy Nee Year!!

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    4 weeks ago

    Hi kateymac, thank you for sharing your experience! I’m glad your aura symptoms give you enough warning to get to a safe space before being seriously impaired to drive. Knowing what to expect and doing all you can to keep yourself and others safe is so important. Wishing you a gentle day and a low-pain start to the new year! ~Allyson (Migraine.com team)

  • TJB Tay
    4 weeks ago

    Being cautious of driving during any stage of migraine is smart, I have three designated helpers on speed dial to pick me up and take my car home in case I get an attack while shopping or running errands. I also pay attention to my body before I drive anywhere, if I have an aura, I get a designated driver.

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    4 weeks ago

    TJB Tay, I’m glad you have people who are prepared to help you if you get caught out with migraine! Having a plan to keep both you and others on the road safe is so important. Thank you for sharing your experience. Wishing you a gentle day and a low-pain start to the new year! ~Allyson (Migraine.com team)

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