18 years of constant pain and I'm still learning

The pain first started when I was 15 years old. I was at school and taking my exams. It started off as the occasional headache and due to the pressure at this time I put it down to stress. They continued, as did the exams, but once I’d finished school for good and went away on vacation the pain didn’t stop. Gradually the headaches were so frequent that they merged in to one, until I was constantly in pain. I can't remember what it's like to not have a headache anymore.

It took 15 years to get it diagnosed as Chronic Migraine by a consultant in London - it sounds silly but getting a label was a massive thing for me and I'm still learning what migraine is as a whole. I have felt so alone and isolated in the past – thinking that I was a complete freak to have such a condition, not knowing of anyone the same and being told by doctors that they didn't know what to do with me. During a week’s hospital stay to have DHE I met a lady who’d suffered from the same thing as me for 7 years, and I cried at the thought that there was someone else similar – "what a revelation; I’m not making it up! It’s not all in my head!" (err, well most of it is, actually).

Only last year did I discover that lights (evil downlighters and the ones in the office with mirror panels in particular) are a major trigger for worse migraines for me. I never connected my aversion to lights in shopping malls to my pain, and also my proclamation to my dad at a young age that I didn't think I'd ever drive because the lights were too bright. Why did I never before realise that lights made my head bad, made my whole body ache and make me want to lie down?

So my journey continues - 18 years of trying various medications, alternative therapies and weird & wonderful treatments with no change to my daily pain score. I feel more optimistic than ever, having given up on the concept of hope a long time ago, as I discover more resources and educate myself on the condition. I look forward to reading more from you all.

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