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It is not just a “headache”

I have had migraines since I was in high school. I remember calling my mom crying because I hurt so bad.

I didn’t know what I had, but I figured it wasn’t normal. I finally figured it out when I was in nursing school and at that time, there wasn’t much in the way of treatment. Fast forward to post-menopause and I am now having migraines at an alarming and almost debilitating frequency. My sister, also a, RN, says that I have “migraines” which in reality, means I use migraines as an excuse to get out of things. My sister-in-law, who is also an RN, sends me articles on how to prevent “tension” headaches.

It is frustating that I cannot expain to people what it feels like. How frustrating it is not to be able to function normally on some days. To be so nauseated that you wish you would throw up. How certain sounds are like fingernails on a chalkboard. How perfume makes me gag and can trigger a migraine. How I feel like I am losing the things I enjoy like reading or listening to music because I cannot focus. How I am feel life is passing me by.

I am an older mom with young children…it scares me that I will not be able to enjoy the things that they excel in. It is not just a “headache”.

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.


  • connie pollington
    5 years ago

    I can so relate to your story. I am going on about 15 years of having chronic migraines. I have missed so many events, not that I wanted to, because I had to put an icepack on my head. I have tried just about every medication known to man, as well as Botox. Nothing has helped. The bad part is even on good days I feel bad because I am so nervous about doing anything because I am worried about getting one. That or I am so drained from it that I don’t feel like doing anything. Consequently, I get depressed because nothing gets done in my house so therefore I am behind about 4 years on paperwork and spring cleaning. I keep faith that someone somewhere will come up with a cure or something that will help. So we don’t need to worry about what others say. We are all on this page for a reason and that is to give each other the support needed to make it through the days good or bad.

  • Lida Krüger
    6 years ago

    We have all been there. Some of my friends think I just “don’t like” having a torch shone in my eyes, and will get “all moody and bitchy” if they do it.

  • pooh2you
    6 years ago

    I agree with what the others have said, don’t give up! And don’t listen to the negative things your family and friends say! You need to become an advocate for yourself! This site, and others, are great places to learn about migraines. Learn all you can so that you can take care of yourself and stand up for yourself. Keeping a migraine diary is the first step. I use one on my smartphone because I find that easiest for me. Also, see a neurologist that specializes on migraines, you will find he/she is much more helpful and understanding. Best of luck to you for better days!

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. As Julie said there is a wealth of information here. It would be nice to get rid of a tension-type headache before it triggered a Migraine, but that is not always possible. And I’ve found some of the “smartest” people say the most ridiculous things about Migraine. Have you though about seeing a Migraine specialist? This is the expert who treats Migraine and headaches all day, every day. Just something to think about.

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    Don’t give up hope. Posting this article is your 1st step. You can get so much support and help from this online community because we’ve all been there-heck we’re all still there. This site can give you all the tools and resources you need to get to the right doctor, ask the right questions and get information on the medications you migth be put on. Migraines are a chronic illness that can be managed with preventive and abortive medications. If your not sure of what your triggers are you should start a migraine diary to write down what you eat and drink, when you get up and go to bed each day. You should keep the same sleep schedule and wake up the same time each day-no sleeping in as that can trigger migraines. On this site there should be a link to create a migraine diary. This is so helpful as it will help you pinpoint your triggers so you can avoid what will cause your migraines. And it is frustrating explaining to family and friends. I’ve struggled with that for over 26 yrs.You just have to get to the point where you can just shrug your shoulders and say “oh well” and forget about explaining it. Either they get it or they never will and if they havent’ by now they won’t. And if your sensative to smells and sounds and you try to avoid them they will go out of their way to seek you out. Call it Murphys Law. I’ve made my house as scent free as possible, but then my spouse or daughter will fry up bacon for breakfst. GROSS, that really sets me off. In the dead of winter I will open up windows and turn on the fan to try to get the stink out before I dry heave!! No kidding!! My daughter, after a few terse “conversations” has learned to put on her “stinky” cologne after she walks out the door. Thank God!! On the rare times we go out I swear to goodness we can be sitting on the very far end of the outdoor patio, as far away from people as possible, I was sipping ice tea and my husband and daughter had their drinks and cigarette smoke came all the way from the other side to find me!!!!! Do it will never fail-stinks will find you no matter what! So keep an eye on the post on these blogs and reply to the ones that interest you and be active. You will get a lot of support. Start a blog of your own. Good luck to you.

  • Pamg
    5 years ago

    I have suffered these since I was 5 and have heard everything from your lazy to you are faking pills shots boric more pills nothing helps I have lost job after job from missing days yet I can’t disability I am disabled from working and.having a life I have missed family functions shopping trips.and.days with my mom who now has Alzheimer’s and I am at my witts end

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