Does anyone else have PTSD as well as chronic migraine with aura?

Does anyone else have PTSD as well as Chronic Migraine with aura? The symptoms and triggers can be the same. And the symptoms of one can trigger the other. I’m getting better at telling the difference at times. The PTSD when triggered causes me to freeze with fear, but with the migraine, I get “spaced out” and have no fear. I also often get embarrassing pseudo bulbar crying.


Community Answers
  • SCBoyMom
    6 months ago

    I’m so glad to see someone else bring this up! I have PTSD from childhood and adolescent psychological and physical trauma. I had dissociative amnesia for a number of years. My anxiety and depression are currently being treated, and I’m working through the traumatic events with therapy. My migraines began in earnest about a year and a half ago, once I began to remember the events that took place. I’ve been wondering if there was a connection. I know psychological trauma can affect synapses in the brain and neurotransmitters, so maybe there is a connection? I’m just glad to know I’m not alone in this.

    I’ve found things that help me are deep breathing, staying hydrated even when I feel too tired or sad to drink anything, and lavender. I like to apply lavender (safely per my certified aromatherapist) according to the protocol given to me. It helps me relax and the lavender can help with neurotransmitters and synaptic functioning as well.

    What helps you?

  • Jeani author
    6 months ago

    Lavender, thanks. I’ve used certain incense in the past, musk, amber & sandlewood. But my naturopath told me that incense contains toxic metals. I haven’t investigated safe, affordable aroma therapy yet.

    I also find deep breathing helps to center me, helps to control anxiety,

    And getting enough quality sleep is probably the most important for me and yet the most elusive.

    Yes, I noticed the same sort of connection with my migraines and the stress of recalling old traumas. That’s why I originally thought they were psychological. To date, I can still tell if some old forgotten incident is making its way to my awareness , when I start getting, anxiety, weakness, spasms, crying, and even pass out. Therapy can really assault our defense systems. Our brains will try to equalize the status quo.

    I’ve learned that PTSD is not classified as a mental illness. It’s considered a brain injury!
    The aura of migraines are neurological. I know from gene study that my migraines with aura are inherited. But, not all trauma causes PTSD. A person must be predisposed to it. So it probably has a genetic component also.

    Like you, I think there is a connection. It maybe that the PTSD stress of recalling the forgotten trauma can bring on a migraine if a persons genes predisposes them to both. Not all people with migraine with aura have PTSD and not all people with PTSD have migraine with aura.
    Maybe we are a select few.

    I would like to see some sort of study on this. It is amaizing all the new research on brain health and development in recent years.

  • Riaa
    6 months ago

    Your question just blew my mind! This is something I really will have to reflect on. I definitely have some PTSD from childhood and I wonder if maybe my migraines came along as a sort of self-defense to my triggers and stress from past trauma, by making me space out. And I too cry with migraines sometimes. I had a therapist tell me that maybe I cry with migraines cause that’s the only time I allow such an emotional release.

  • Jeani author
    6 months ago

    Hi Riaa,

    I’ve also had PTSD from extensive childhood trauma and a 25 year marriage that perpetuated it. I handled it with disassociation. When I felt my life was threatened, I would disappear. It was like going out of body. The next day, instead of dealing with the trauma, it had been forgotten and life went on as usual.
    That’s why I stayed in it so long.

    I had not been diagnosed with PTSD, because no one knew what I had been through. But, when I became depressed, I was falsely diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder and some other stuff. These diagnoses were based on what my narcissistic husband was telling the doctors. They gave me a bunch of medications that messed up my brain.
    Then I started having various neurological issues with speech, my hands and legs. My primary sent me to a neurologist who decided I had early MS. I rather ignored it at the time because I knew MS progression was slow and I was busy with a family and a business.

    At the age of 45, my husband and I went on a two day river rafting trip. I was having a great time until a mishap caused me to suffer head and neck trauma. After that some things changed

    I found that about once a month I would just pass out. Usually when I was home alone doing chores. No one saw this. The doctors said it couldn’t be from the head trauma.

    Then came the seizures. I was eventually diagnosed with complex partial epilepsy. That is, until they ran the EEGs and found no seizure activity. I was beginning to think maybe I was crazy.
    I spent a week each at UCLA and Stanford Universities, wired to machines while having these nonseizure, seizures. And nada! Nothing shows up.

    At Stanford I was taught some self hypnosis to abort them. That just took my mind father away. Years later I get a copy of this doctors conclusions he said I had PTSD. Thats the first time i knew that is what he diagnosed. Well the self hypnosis or dlcssasociation, works for PTSD but it did just the opposite for the seizure like episodes I was having.
    It wasn’t until 3 or 4 years ago when I was filling out some questionnaires @ 23andme where I had a gene study done, that I was homozygous for the risk allele on all three migraine genes. They reported that I might have familial migraines with Aura. As I looked that up, I found that these migraine auras look like complex, Partial,seizures! Going through the four stages of the migraine is like going through the stages of a seizure, including the post octal sleep.

    Since then I found this site that has helped me validate what is happening to me.

    I’d like to talk with you more about this because we need to be able to tell what is what in order to make sense of it. In part you and your therapist may be right. But I’ve found there is a lot more to it than that.

    If you have PTSD, you are most like born sensitive, making you an empath. Empaths feel other people’s feelings. Some feel the feelings of animals &/or plants, or spirits, or energies left within a space.

    So, sometimes I just cry and feel sad when I was fine before I entered the room that has the sad energy in it.

    Some times I cry without feeling because that is one of the end stages of my migraines. (Like pseudo Bulbar effect) it’s a weird feeling to cry without feeling, and in public!

    Then, sometimes I cry because I’m so frustrated about this whole mess that has taken my 73 year lifetime to figure out, plus taken my social life away.

    So glad to finally meet someone else with this. Maybe we can help each other.

    Jeani

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