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Why Migraine is More Than Just a Headache

Put simply, a migraine is more than just a headache. In my experience, it goes by many names. I call it a life disruptor, a destroyer of work and family time, a blockade to attending social events, a mood depressor, and a killer of my former normal life.

Varying levels of pain

Migraine goes far beyond the pain of the headache. I also suffer from new daily persistent headache (NDPH) which means I have a headache every waking moment of my life. There are levels of pain that I am able to live with and function with at a normal level for most days, but during an attack, it totally debilitates my senses.

The stigma of an invisible disease

There are very few people who really understand what migraine is so it is difficult to explain it to them in a few minutes. There is definitely stigma involved when you have an invisible disease such as migraine. Even though people don’t always come out and tell you you don’t look sick, or that they even believe you’re sick you can tell that you were being looked at in a negative manner.

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Anxiety and guilt go hand-in-hand with migraine

Along with having a migraine attack, there are a number of feelings that I go through. I definitely feel anxious and I often feel guilty. I feel like I am letting people down even though it is no fault of my own. I think that is just the way the disease manifests itself. During and after my attack it feels like my brain is totally scrambled and I can’t concentrate clearly on anything except for a few short minutes.

Are my medications even going to work?

Then I feel bad because I have to take abortive medications on top of my preventative ones. There are many days I question whether they are working at all, but I guess that’s because I have unrealistic expectations of how the medicines will work. They are not like a course of antibiotics that you take for an infection and then start to feel better a few days into taking them. Migraine preventatives take a long time to work on me.

Ever-changing and adapting

In my experience, migraine has a life of its own. It has the ability to modify and adapt to the medications I am taking rendering some of them useless. It is very frustrating! I tend to have mood swings during an attack cycle. Many times I don’t even perceive them, but those around me are affected by them. When I have an attack it changes me. I feel hot that’s for sure, but those around me also feel the effects of my attack. I am in misery. It’s as if the migraine attack permanently alters my brain even though I’ve read that doesn’t happen.

A disabling and life-changing disease

My abilities to multitask and comprehend have been greatly diminished since I developed migraines. I believe everyone has a different experience with migraines. Although some of the symptoms we may have are similar the subtleties of migraine disease are what really makes each of our experiences unique. I’ve read migraine is one of the top ten most disabling diseases according to the World Health Organization. It’s scary that it is so misunderstood and that it carries such a stigma in our society.

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