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Anticipatory Anxiety

I apologize but this is a stream of consciousness type of post because I just had five bed-ridden migraine days in the past 8 and am too tired to edit myself.

To begin, I find that all those wonderful celebrations that everyone looks forward to, such as birthdays, anniversaries, family get-togethers, holidays, make me incredibly anxious because I don’t know when or if (though the if is not really and if) the migraine will strike. Will it ruin my children’s birthday? Will I neglect my husband when he comes home from a business trip? Will I have to bail out on yet another family function or girls night out? Sometimes, just having no plans is easier because I don’t feel like I am letting anyone down. Yet, having no plans is lonely and makes me feel useless; so, I bounce from one extreme to the other–over-scheduling on good days and dark quiet rooms on bad ones, or napping to save up energy and ward off the middle-range migraines that plague me most of the time in between the bad days. It’s the last of control that is the worst. I am grateful not to have a horrible, terminal illness, but am resentful of the nature of this neurological one that has so few curative treatments.

I am also saddened by my inability to hold onto a full-time job. I have a lot to offer and want to, but the illness is debilitating, so I find myself turning myself into a pretzel at times just to be a part of my life and may loved one’s lives.

Over the pst 9 years, I have learned not to give myself as much of a hard time. If I need to rest, I do. Still, I catch myself saying “sorry” much more than I would like; and I catch myself worrying if I will have to say “sorry” for each upcoming happy event.

The one thing I have learned–the bless in this mess–is that I stand up for myself much better now than I ever had done before. I state what helps and what doesn’t and I express my emotions in as non-confrontational a way as possible ( though I admit, that is sometimes a failed effort).

In addition, it is so hard to tease out whether the anxiety is a prodrome or just a knee-jerk response to worrying about whether I am going to miss out on another event.

Do any of you ever feel like this? And what are your solutions? Thank you for listening and I hope your next weeks are migraine free!


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • aks868 author
    2 years ago

    Thank you all to your kind responses!

  • Not-Again
    2 years ago

    Hello. I think anger can be a healthy expression at times for those of us who have migraines and of course did not ask for them! My problem can at times be pent up emotions that boil over onto an unfortunate person. The isolation can be life-limiting at times and I wish sometimes someone would just hold my hand while I lay in bed with ice packs and heating pads, barf bowls, and you name it. Just to not be alone. I finally decided to indulge myself in more solo activities that could be shared when I feel better. I’ve taken to writing hand written letters, doing crafts, *watching* (actually listening with my sleep mask on) favorite mindless TV shows where you don’t have to follow a plot, and adult coloring books. These things are more self-care actions and yet I still have times where I can do nothing but exist, vomit, experiencing horrifying pain, not see, have vertigo, and lay in a bed or on the floor of the bathroom while time and life passes by. During the pre-attack phase, the acute phase, and the aftermath, it can literally be one moment at a time. I think when we’ve had enough of the migraine life and reality sets in we go through a grieving period or sometimes multiple grieving periods. I don’t know if any of this helps. That said, I hope you find little pockets of time with relief from the pain and the havoc migraines cause. I hope you find some things you can do that bring you joy, something to look forward to. I hope you can find some self-care actions that work for you to pamper your body and your heart during and after attacks. Thank you for writing such an honest post. Your words ring true.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Alicia,

    Thanks for being part of the community and for sharing your story.

    I agree that you do learn to stand up for yourself with this. There is also a kind of acceptance of the “is”. In addition to migraine I have recurrent major depression, PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder.

    Like you, I often don’t know where that pounding feeling in my chest or throat originates. I take my pulse, and if it’s normal, I use meditation techniques to push those thoughts away that would push that pounding up into my temples, or have me hyperventilating. It’s kind of strange to have the knowing in conjunction with all the crazy physical sensations, but it helps to rein them in until the sensations pass.

    Please know you’re not alone. We’re always here to share support or just to listen in those times you need help walking through those uncomfortable places. -Warmly, Donna ( team)

  • aks868 author
    2 years ago

    Got to apologize for all the typos! I guess it really was unedited–and it drives me nuts, because I am an editor, educator, and artist, so the misspellings, grammatical errors, and typos are just true evidence of the migraine. Oy!

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