As Far as Migraines Go, I Am Lucky… At least so far

I’ve always had headaches, sinus headaches, tension headaches, headaches caused by chemical/alcohol smells, etc.

I had my first migraine in college during a science class. I remember sitting there thinking I must be about to die because my vision went all blurry, I felt like I was going to vomit and my heart started racing. I felt dizzy and clammy and when I tried to speak I couldn’t make a full sentence. The professor looked at me and told me to go to the nurse and I ran all the way there.

In college I had migraines somewhat often (about 1-2 times a month, sometimes less). It seemed to happen based on a variety of factors. Weather patterns, my sleep habits, stress, etc all seemed to impact some and then other times they seemed to come without warning. I also developed panic attacks during college. I went to several drs and even the ER before determining that I was a bit of a hypochondriac and that I just was too stressed and had mirgraines like all the women in my family. Since college my migraines have decreased in frequency even more so that I only have a few a year (maybe 5 or 6). They follow a very distinct pattern as well.

I will feel “off” usually in the morning, often after sleeping longer than usual or after a period of poor sleep. Often this conincides with overcast days with lots of pressure/humidity in the air. I will try to shake it but at some point notice that I am feeling weak, thirsty, and kind of tingly in the face. At that point I try to look at something solid colored so I can determine whether or not an aura is begining. If so I immediatly clear my schedule for the day. I feel somewhat guilty about this but since they are so rare these days and are so severe I do NOTHING on migraine days. I call out of work, school, social obligations etc. Call my family and boyfriend and let them know I will not be answering the phone for several hours, etc. Once the aura is upon me I normally have about 15-30 minutes before the dibilitating pain hits. I take the dogs out, grab my bottle of excedrin pm, a big glass of ice water, a cold wet washcloth, close all the blinds/curtains/doors etc. Turn off all noise making things, put a trash can by the bed in case I’m sick. I take my excedrin (can’t afford the other stuff and it doesn’t help enough to be able to go out and do stuff anyway) and wait. Once the pain hits, I just ride it. I cry, occasionally get sick, think crazy things about how I am obviously dying this time, overanalyze every single throb and twinge of pain, etc, etc until I pass out. I sleep for 3-6 hours or so depending on the severity and once I wake up I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. Still sensitive to light and sound and such but ravenously hungry for things I don’t normally care for, specifically Coca Cola (caffeine? makes sense) red meat like steak or a cheeseburger (iron maybe?) and mac and cheese (comfort food I guess, no idea really). Oddly enough unlike many people, orgasm during the post-headache phase really helps my symptoms pass (endorphines?) more quickly. An hour or so after I wake I can normally manage a bath or some food or some very light television or conversation. I normally go to bed after perhaps only another 4 hours or so and am usually ok the following morning. Not back to normal but ok, still kinda groggy and hang-overy. Sometimes I will wake the following morning with yet another migraine and repeat the whole thing all over again but this is rare.

All the women in my family have migraines and anxiety and many have other mental disorders such as bi-polar, hypochondria, etc. My mother has her migraines related to her monthly cycle and for many years now she has had 4 days or more of migraine a month during her period. So far, mine seems unrelated which is a blessing.

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