Migraine Cycles: The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY (Part 3)
Last updated: December 2022
There are many factors that feed the beast I call migraine disease.
Migraine is a very personal and individualistic neurological disease. I must remember this from time to time because it has been a part of my life for so long. The disease has had a tremendous impact on my life. It slowly became more enmeshed in me and my life as it progressed.
Have I seen migraine as good or bad?
As I mentioned in another part of this series, there are some positive things that came about due to migraine and how I chose to accept it. I have drifted between the ideology of the glass is half full or half empty for a long time, but the point I missed was that the glass is refillable! It is based on our choice of how we relate to our situations. Migraine has taught me a lot. I pulled some of the good and bad, and now here is the ugly side of my migraine disease.
What does NDPH have to do with it?
I live with a comorbid condition called new daily persistent headache (NDPH). In a nutshell, this means I always have a headache. Every. Waking. Moment.
How does it impact my attacks?
It is exhausting, but it pales compared to my chronic migraine cycles. It will feed the beast constantly on an ugly day. It’s like throwing gas on a fire. For me, an ugly migraine day is being awoken in the wee hours of the morning with an aura of flashing, shooting stars.
What do I use to combat my symptoms?
I know I must move quickly to try and get ahead of the coming train wreck, but the mere act of moving ramps up the attack. My distorted vision feeds nausea. Dizziness solidifies that feeling to the point that Zofran and ginger barely make a dent in those symptoms. My attack progresses on these days, no matter the therapy plans I try. Migraine is relentless, as are the symptoms and pain.
How do I ride out the attack?
When I have finally made it through my arsenal of treatments, all I have left to do is retreat into my cool, dark room. I am fortunate that my wife and daughters understand what I am experiencing, and they all play a role in helping me ride out the attack cycle.
How does my mind make migraine uglier?
This is another aspect of the ugliness of a migraine attack for me. The psychological toll it takes on me is just as destructive as the physical assault on my brain and body. My mind can make the ugliness even worse many times. Besides getting me to focus on the pain and other symptoms, it stirs up feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. I know this is not true, but in those moments, it feels painfully real to me.
Do the mind games stop as an attack passes?
As the attack passes, usually in days, I start to return to myself physically. The mind games that migraine plays with me are more pervasive. It takes a while to shake off the insecurity of what I felt during an ugly attack. I am more anxious because I am worried that another attack will come, or worse, one will come again and stay for weeks. I have survived that way on several occasions, but knowing that I will overcome it doesn’t comfort me. An ugly attack also means my depressive disorder will act up. It takes time, but I eventually get my brain to reset itself.
What advice do I have for you?
I’m still learning how to live with migraine. If you are a person who lives with migraine disease, my words of wisdom are simple. You are not your condition. Don’t ever let it define who you are. You are stronger than you can imagine! Live your best life even if it’s different than you thought it would be.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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