Brave New World
Last updated: October 2020
My parents moved here in search of a better life. They were new to the US system, which played a large role in why I never received the treatment I needed to have. They just didn't know, and had never experienced something like it. I developed my first migraine at the age of 9. I was in fourth grade, and remember it was a hot day. We were all playing on the fuming black asphalt. I recall playing with one of the kids when out of nowhere for the first time ever, I began to lose my sight in the middle of our interaction. I had my first experience with an aura.
Back then I didn't know what it was, and I wasn't sure whether, or it was normal. I just knew I wasn't okay, so I went to the nurse's office, and from that day on I pretty much lived there. The only treatment I ever received was an ice pack, which was basically a wet paper towel. The nurse was always baffled as to why I got sick as often as I did. Everyone looked at me like I was an alien, because they had never seen a child experience a migraine. Many said it was impossible, so they discounted it as a possibility. Initially I thought it was a passing illness. I never imagined it would linger for as long as it has. It has been over 10 years now, and part of me is still waiting for the day when they will disappear, but with each attack that grows in severity; I doubt it. All throughout my K-12 education I was living with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts as a result of living with migraines. I recall my 10th grade biology professor pulling up an article about famous people who are living with migraines, and that was the first time anyone had ever shown me something like that. I think for a brief moment in time that helped me feel less alone, but I still didn't know anyone who had these attacks with auras that I did.
I began to wonder if I would ever meet anyone else like me. It wasn't until last year that it occurred to me that there could be a migraine support group. All these years of joining various groups online, and it never dawned on me to search for a migraine group. I suppose my belief that no one else might have this, and being isolated from others due to migraines that I became used to living with it alone; suffering alone. It wasn't until this year that I received medical services from a neurologist specialized in migraines, and received medication. It all stemmed from not knowing, being new to this country, and being used to pain and suffering. Now I have a more understanding support system, and I have great online support groups with people who understand. I have learned that there are various types of migraines, and some even more unique than mine. I am glad to have found the online support groups that I have, and continue to educate myself, and those around me on this severely debilitating neurological disease.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?