Preparing for a Big Snow and Depression With Migraine
Last updated: September 2023
It’s supposed to snow next week in the Pacific Northwest. To be clear, I know it snows all over, and I know it’s already snowed all over, but when it snows in the Pacific Northwest, everything stops. We don’t have the infrastructure to deal with the infrequency of snow, so roads don’t get paved, and we don’t like to salt because of the ecosystem. The other reason is that it’s frequently hovering around freezing, meaning it’ll melt and then freeze. Ice is the enemy.
Snow and ice lead to migraine
Ice is also my personal enemy, ironically because of how often we watch Frozen at my house. The changes in barometric pressure when it starts to snow are a common migraine trigger for me. I fear the snow because it often means migraine.
Depression and anxiety sink in
The other thing that happens to me is that I get depressed and anxious when it snows. I know some of the reason for this is that I’m scared about being stuck or stranded, like last year when people were without power all over the country because of ice storms. My house had two long, cold days without power, and I was a lucky one.
The other part of my mental health struggles with snow is probably a combination of depression associated with postdrome and potentially a little bit of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Plus, this year, we get the bonus features of potential depression because of my divorce, family in town (which should be fun but isn’t always), and, oh yeah, the unending pandemic.
Preparing for inclement weather and migraine
How do I prepare? Make sure I’m stocked and prepared as I can be with the normal snow supplies, yes, but also my migraine supplies and medications. Do I have my headache hat in the freezer and my massage gun charged? In addition to my prescriptions, do I have over-the-counter painkillers? Are the kids set up with games and snacks if I need to have a lie down while they’re on my watch?
Taking downtime before the snow
I also try to give myself some downtime leading up to the snow. I know we’ll be stuck during the snow, but having some alone time to brace myself is a big deal. Yesterday I went to my pilates class to get all stretched out. Today, the day before they arrive, I’m going to drink tea and snuggle my dog. Then I’m catching up with a friend. Tomorrow, I’ll try to get some fresh air and get ahead on chores and my work deadlines before everyone descends. I’m letting myself be sad about the external factors that might be attributed to my depression. Dealing with my stress will also help stave off the potential for a stress-induced migraine.
I may get a migraine anyway, but at least I know I’ll be ready for it and will do everything I can to minimize the pain, physical and emotional.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?