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The Messy Wake of Destruction YOUR Migraine Can Leave Behind

The Messy Wake of Destruction YOUR Migraine Can Leave Behind

Recently, patient expert Janet Geddis, otherwise known as “The Migraine Girl”, posted about her experience with the household destruction she finds after being out of commission with a longer-term migraine. The post prompted you in the community with the questions, “Have you ever felt so crappy that you don’t even care about the temporary physical destruction of your living space? Have you caught yourself knocking things over, leaving a total mess in your wake, and not being able to muster up any concern about it all because the migraine took up 100% of your attention?” Your responses were so incredible, and your personal stories were so insightful and relatable to others! Here were some of your contributions.

Surveying the Post-Migraine Damage
“Oh my gosh yes! The longer and worse the migraine, the less I care about the mess around me. Actually, I don’t even see it until my head clears. Then I wonder where it all came from!!”

“I usually alternate between the bed and the living room sofa—so both rooms take a hit. And the kitchen counter is covered with coffee cups, and water glasses, and crack/bread crumbs, not to mention mail”

“I’m forever looking at my house, and wondering just when did it get this bad. I could blame it on the husband and kids, but that would be unfair…It’s happened because the migraine destruction has come through, and left disaster in its wake”

When Family Gets Involved
“It’s awful when even my teenage twins don’t want to have friends over because I am almost always either having a migraine or recovering from one. Our house always looks like a tornado has gone through it. My husband is wonderful, and the three of them try. It’s just overwhelming to all of us”

“Do I ever relate to this. My bedroom shares a wall with my kitchen, so my family does no dishes at all while I’m down. In fact, they don’t even close the cabinet doors! Surveying the house after a multi-day migraine just makes me go lie down on the couch”

“Oh my gosh. Have been there. Many times. Went through a 3-month cycle where most days I couldn’t get out of bed. I have a spouse and daughter-in-law that tried to take care of the house and grandchildren, but when I would awake from my fuzzy brain, I would see all the things that didn’t get done and I’d cry. But I am learning that a house is just a house and stuff can wait. The heck with the little things. Concentrate on getting better”

The Impact Beyond the House
“My closet takes a hit during episodes of pain. Everything is on the floor no energy to hand it. I don’t wear makeup to work, I don’t brush my hair and I could care less about my appearance”

“I am coming out of two weeks of hell. My house is a mess, my hair needs washed and I have work to catch up on. Doing my best not to totally lose it. It helps knowing I am not alone”

“One day, I had an epic migraine at work, a co-worker said, ‘oh, no makeup today?’ I said to her, ‘DON’T POKE THE BEAR!’ Nothing else matters”

It’s clear from your stories that you are not alone. Many of you experience frustration and confusion with the post-migraine damage to your home, yourself, and your work. Let us know how you handle picking the pieces back up after an unrelenting migraine!

Comments

  • Rachael17
    3 years ago

    Sometimes I feel a migraine, sometimes I feel a tension headache. What is the difference between migraines and other headaches? What if you have more than one?

    Here is a tool I found that helps separate some of the types of headaches, but it needs some work.

    http://medntel.com/index.php/2016/10/20/common-headache-symptoms/

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Rachael17,

    Great question! You may be interested in reading 10 Ways Migraine is Not “Just a Headache” which may help. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Diane101010
    3 years ago

    Every dang horizontal surface…
    Today, I swear to box up each person’s junk and give it to them.

    I LOVE my old fashioned dust mop. The kind with the yarn head. I love how quiet, and fast it is. I make repeated dusting paths to a door. Open the door a couple of inches, insert the mop outside, and shake. (Closed Windows nearby are important. ) Repeat.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Diane! I must admit your comment gave me a chuckle. I have shaken out a dust mop before without taking the adjacent window into account – It sure felt like a Charlie Brown moment!

    Hope you got everything accomplished you were hoping to accomplish. Thanks for being part of the community! -AllBest, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • SilverPhoenix13
    3 years ago

    Honestly, I’m embarassed to say that what has taken the worst toll physically because of my migraines is my personal hygeine. The idea of showering and having water falling down on my head and overly sensitive nerves puts me off for weeks at a time sometimes because my migraines are so frequent and last so long. Not to mention I just don’t have the energy, especially on days when I’ve mustered up the will to go to work. Sad to say, I have horrible teeth, now, because the sound of the toothbrush against them is grating. The most I can handle at those times is swishing mouthwash for a minute.

    It’s disheartening.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi SilverPhoenix13! I’m sorry to hear that it has such an effect. Have you ever considered “birdbaths” with something like baby wipes? There is also a product called tooth and gum wipes which you use just like a baby wipe, but for your teeth – it should help with the auditory sensory overload.

    Thanks for being part of the community! We’re sending good wishes for some relief. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Carolyn
    3 years ago

    It is really hard for me to leave things undone when I know taking care of my migraine needs to come first. It’s also really hard to get myself together enough to clean up without getting overwhelmed and crying afterward. I’m very fortunate to have an understanding partner. My strategy for playing catch-up without it breaking me is something like this: Once I’m feeling mostly up to it, I get some extra comfort measures ready like aromatherapy, tea, headache hat, massager, dark room, guided meditation, etc. and then I write out only half an hour or less of the most important stuff to do. I set a timer for 30 mins and do what’s there, then reset the timer for as long of a break as I need (maybe 20-30 mins), and then I make use of my comfort stuff during that break. Then I write out another half hour of tasks, reset the timer, and repeat. It keeps my focus on what I need to do right now, and it helps me to have a system to keep progress and rest in balance without trying to think about it through my migraine fog. Eventually, I either get to a break and realize I need to stop for the day, or I feel pretty good and start working in hour-long increments until I’m satisfied with my progress.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Carolyn! Thanks for sharing your awesome system! It sounds like a perfect recipe for getting things accomplished while still being gentle with yourself!

    We’re glad you’re here! -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com ream)

  • ChoctawCharli
    3 years ago

    My home is in a near constant state of disarray. Can’t blame anyone but myself and my migraines. I now live alone, since my husband’s passing a little over a year ago. So it is just me, my Service Dog and my Beloveds cat. Since my Migraines are caused by a TBI suffered in Military Service, the VA provides a home health aid who keeps my laundry, dishes and floor clean. (And changes my bed when I am out of it.) But she is not responsible for the stuff piled around. Some days I manage to get to base level around a 3 or 4, and can get some clean up done. Repeat on a very non regular basis.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi ChoctawCharli! We’re so sorry for your loss, and we thank you for your service.

    You may want to check your local area for “Cleaning for Heroes”, which is an organization that provides free cleaning services for veterans. Also, some of the maid services have a program where they provide free cleaning services to a few veterans a month.

    Thank you for being part of the community! – Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Lisa A
    3 years ago

    I completely relate with living with chronic M. However, my family helps a lot. It doesn’t hurt to ask your family and friends for help! We do the same for our loved ones when we can so sometimes we need to be the receiver of that gift. Having some level of order in the midst of M chaos can be comforting. It is important to remember not to get up and “overdue” and then be even more setback later. Ugh…

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Lisa!Thanks for sharing that very wise advice and reminder to be kind to ourselves. Asking for help is one of the hardest things for most of us, while often giving help is a reflex. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Star71
    3 years ago

    My kitchen table takes the brunt of it… And NO ONE in the family helps out… It’s SO frustrating!!!
    Recently I bruised my ribs as well and I’m not supposed to do anything… YEAH RIGHT… HAHAHAHAHA!!! I haven’t stopped YET!!! No wonder why they’re NOT healing and hurt like hell!!! And it’s making my usual 4/5 migraine amp to a 7/8!!! My family JUST doesn’t understand!!!
    I came home and COOKED all drugged up from the ER and went to work!!! How F’ed up is that???
    That’s how you know that us migrainors can handle our pain and tell everyone “we’re fine” with a smile on our face and have people believe us… THAT’S how good of LIAR’S we are… That’s SUCH a sad fact for us… Don’t you think???
    I’m tired of being a chronic daily sufferer, even on 400mg of Topamax… I should be pain free on that amount, but I’m not!!! I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I’m OVER IT!!!

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Star71, Please know that you’re not alone. The table thing drives me crazy too, my family takes it to the counters, too. I wonder what compels them to try to fill every square centimeter of open space? And you’re right, we are so much stronger than anyone can imagine.

    Have you connected with a headache specialist? If not, it might help to get you something that is more effective. You can find ways to connect with a specialist in your area in Is It Time For a New Migraine Doctor?

    Remember that we’re here to share support, please drop by here or Facebook page when you need to feel community. -Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • greeneyedgirl
    3 years ago

    I can SO relate. Since my migraines have become chronic, I have noticed a marked decline in my ability to keep my apartment clean and tidy, as well as how much I care about those things anymore. I used to be so organized that I knew exactly where to find everything in my home. Now, it feels like I can hardly find anything. When in the grips of the beast, I don’t even see the mess, but on rare good days – actually more like good hours – I see it and am overwhelmed by how much needs to be done. I am fortunate enough to have awesome friends who would help if asked, but it’s so bad that I’m rather embarrassed for them to see it. I know that’s MY hang up, not theirs, because none of them would judge me for being too sick to get things done. I need to get over it already and just ask for help. If anything, they’d realize to a greater extent just how debilitating the migraines have become because they know what a clean freak I used to be.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi greeneyedgirl, we’re glad you’re here! We’re sending you good wishes to be gentle with yourself. It sounds like your friends are awesome and would love to show their support in a very real way. Please remember that we’re always here to share support when you need us. -Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • gertface
    3 years ago

    I relate to all of this but I have one difference. I have OCD bad. So I’ve had days when my head was so bad I couldn’t see but I still cleaned the kitchen, and picked up the house before I fell down. My spouse is not really empathetic, so it’s easier to clean sick then to listen to him. I know. I’m sad.

  • Kareninatree
    3 years ago

    I identify totally. Clutter overwhelms me. it is almost like a trigger for me. Sounds crazy. Having dishes and toys and paper everywhere. It is visually too loud. It feels harder to controle my migraines when surrounded by clutter.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi gertface! I am totally with you on the OCD, I can’t rest when things are a mess. I’m sorry to hear that you don’t get much empathy or support, but please remember that you aren’t alone. Don’t hesitate to stop by here or our Facebook page anytime you need support. -Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Star71
    3 years ago

    It’s so hard when the other half isn’t empathetic…
    I’m with you their… Hugs!!!

  • nikki7
    3 years ago

    I was never very good at keeping my house clean, but managed to keep it good enough to avoid negative comments from the rest of the family, most of the time. Now, however, since having chronic migraines for last few years now, and other health issues as well, I have given up. I live in fear that someone will come over and I will have to let them in. I can’t do that. I sure wish I could afford to have someone come in and keep it clean–but I can’t. With the layers of dust, and mold in various places, and the amount of clutter that makes it look as though a hoarder lives here, I am very concerned that the dept of Health will come in and condemn my apt, and I will be kicked out and have to live on the street. Well, I guess I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping an apartment clean then, would I?

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Nikki7, please know that you are not alone. Have you checked with some of the local churches? When I was younger, I used to volunteer housekeeping services to people through a local church. You didn’t need to be a member, just to have a need. You can also check for local agencies that provide “free housekeeping for disabled”. This would allow you to bypass DHS, which also offers housekeeping services to the disabled, but I absolutely understand your reluctance to contact them. I hope that helps!

    Please don’t hesitate to visit here or our Facebook page anytime you need some support, or jsut someone to listen. -Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Anne
    3 years ago

    I went through a period of chronic migraine. When I moved out of my apartment I was shocked at how dirty it was. I simply didn’t have the energy to clean and hold down a job. Now I have a cleaning person that comes twice a month

  • Stephanie
    3 years ago

    I have theses block of non-stop migraine, when this occurs nothing gets done. When I recover I try to get as much cleaning done as possible. Always making sure that what I use to clean has little to no scent. The slightest scent, too much activity will bring the migraine back. Trying to pack in as many activities during the times your not suffering is completely exhausting and sometimes leads to a new round of migraines.

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