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Migraine Story

First, I would like to thank Ellen and Nancy for starting this community. It is very comforting to know we are not alone and to share our stories with those who understand. You are providing well needed hope.

The first migraine I remember was when I was 7 years, old in spanish class. My teacher didn’t believe me because I would go to the nurse every week at the same time with a headache. She would not let me see the nurse this day and so I stayed in class. She apologized profusely when I ended up vomiting in the girls bathroom. She was the first person to not believe my migraines were real. Fourth grade was when I was first diagnosed with migraine.

 
As a child the pain was in the whole head and now it has focused on one particular spot on the right side. Neck pain, body aches, sensory overload, vomiting, moodiness, and fuzzy thinking are a few of my symptoms.

Since I was a child I have been prescribed handfuls of medication. Anti-depressants, blood pressure medication, Imitrex, allergy medication, the list goes on and they hardly gave me any relief. The doctor removed my tonsils and abnoids to increase the airway (to improve my sleeping) when I was 12. I have a deviated septum which makes breathing through my nose difficult.

In 2009 I attempted suicide during my third bout of depression when I was a freshman in college. I didn’t realize it at the time how my migraines were causing my depression. If I was migraine-free the attempt never would have happened.

Now I am 24 years old, and a graduate of a liberal arts college (I did it!). I get a severe migraine every 2 weeks and a mild one nearly every day. A year ago I had a severe and debilitating one every single day. I couldn’t sleep at night with neck pain and sleep is my only cure. I tried the elimination diet and became obsessed with the idea of controlling my migraines. The truth is that I do not have control of my migraines. I have been fighting them my whole life and am finding more peace now that I am finally accepting that they will forever be with me and am learning to live with them. The elimination diet helped me realize that alcohol almost always gives me a severe migraine so I do not drink anymore. I also discovered that missing a meal or not eating enough will also give me a migraine. I always get a severe migraine before I menstruate. I avoid high sugar foods. I do not drink more caffeine than a cup of green tea in the morning.

I just started work part-time in retail and am very scared of getting a migraine and calling in sick. I go to sleep before 11 and make sure to eat a lot but that’s really all I can do. There are little things I can do to prevent daily migraines but they still pop up frequently.

I discovered that I can paint when I have a migraine since it uses the left side of my brain and the pulsing and throbbing is on my right side. It’s interesting to look at a painting I did during a migraine because the pain is depicted in the art. I meditate with a group once a week and find that using the techniques helps with pain management. I refuse to use medication since it seems to worsen the migraines. I have tried acupuncture (which was helpful but not a cure for me). I see a psychologist weekly to help with the emotional triggers. Daily light exercise helps to elevate my mood and prevent them but exercise on a migraine day is terrible.

Other posters mention symptoms which I am shocked we share. Joint pain, depression and deviated septum. Does anyone else have difficulty sleeping? I require at least 8-9 hours of sleep, any less and I will get a migraine. I wake up frequently. Anyone else have drops in blood sugar? I require snacks with me at all times. Does anyone else have a history of childhood trauma? I suffered some emotional, sexual, and physical abuse as a child and often wonder if this plays a part in my migraines. I am fine now: learning to be strong, take care of my feelings, and get the help I need. I hope to become financially independent one day but with my migraines it is a challenge to be consistent with my responsibilities.

Thanks for reading.

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

Comments

  • Doug
    5 years ago

    Your migraines sound very similar to mine. I get mild migraines almost every day and debilitating migraines every 1-2 weeks. I have tried a food elimination diet, various supplements, chiropractic treatment, beta blockers, etc. with no substantial results.

    Sleep has a huge impact on my migraines. If I don’t stick to my schedule of about 7.5 hours per night, I usually wake up with a horrible migraine the next day. I often have phases of about 2-3 weeks at a time where I can’t fall asleep and/or wake up frequently throughout the night. I also feel like I probably have blood sugar drops, but I have never measured it. My energy levels are all over the place, but usually on the low side. My migraines and energy levels usually feel better when I eat, so I tend to snack throughout the day.

    My migraines also tend to accompany depression. This is something I haven’t talked about with a doctor yet or my wife or anyone. I started feeling depressed right around the time my migraines progressed from episodic to chronic. I feel fatigued all the time, even when I do not have a headache. I constantly feel like my energy as well as my mood are down. I try to put on a face for everyone, especially at work, but all I want to do is lay in bed all the time.

    I find it interesting that I have other similar symptoms to you as well: neck pain, body aches, sensory overload, moodiness, and fuzzy thinking. I occasionally get the vomiting too, but I have never thrown up very easily, so it has only happened a few times, like when I get a migraine that is a 9 out of 10 on the pain scale. I wonder if there is something to this combination of symptoms and if other people with chronic migraines have experienced this wonderful gallimaufry of disturbances as well.

    I am glad you are able to paint. Music has always been my outlet, but my migraines make it very hard to enjoy it. I can’t focus well enough to play, conduct, or compose. The only thing I am able to enjoy is reading, usually in a dark room on my iPad with the screen inverted so it is black with white text. It’s great that I still can enjoy books, but I almost feel like I am living more of my life through the characters and plots of books than through my own experiences.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    5 years ago

    E,
    I can relate to so many things you mention. I remember my 1st grade teacher not believing me until I puked on a classmate’s lap in the reading circle. She never doubted me again.

    I am so sorry your depression brought you to the point of attempting suicide. Unfortunately, depression and Migraines often go hand-in-hand. But you should be really proud of yourself. It seems like you’ve worked really hard to get control of your life and to manage your Migraines the best you can. It’s really impressive.

    It took me a long time to get to the acceptance phase too. I wrote about it in this article: http://migraine.com/blog/you-have-a-friend-request/

    You are an incredibly strong person who has dealt with a lot in your short life. Thank you so much for sharing your story so candidly. You’re an inspiration!
    -Katie

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