Life long victim

I started getting migraines when I was in third grade. My father, also a chronic migraine sufferer, spent his life treating his headaches with Excedrin migraine. A necessary vice in his life, and once I was old enough, a vice for myself as well.

As a child, I suffered from completely debilitating headaches. It was all I could do to lay down in a dark room, a wet rag over my head, and try not to think about my need to expel my lunch. I’d never actually had my migraines diagnosed by our family doctor because she felt, “She probably isn’t having migraines, just headaches, no need to look into it further”. As I grew older, the headaches didn’t go away, but for the most part I was able to keep them under control by taking over the counter medicine on a regular basis and double or triple dosing when I had a really bad headache.

By 23 during my second year of graduate school I started getting migraines every day. I continued treating them the way I always had, but my ability to concentrate was almost entirely gone, and I began to realize my appetite had severely decreased as well, a function of my medicine overloading no doubt. I finally decided to go to the doctor on my own starting with the basic cat scans and a daily preventative. I was still finding myself with near daily headaches, and worst off began suffering with depression. Self diagnosed I’m assuming it was a combination of always having headaches and the blood pressure medicine I was taking to “control them”. I eventually found my way to a neurologist who informed me that my extensive need to have caffeine is likely a major player. I quickly quit the wide awake drug and cut back on other known migraine triggers. Immediately my headaches went away and I only experienced one every 3 weeks or so.

Once summer hit, my headaches came back with a vengeance, and I’m still uncertain as to why. My caffeine intake is almost at zero (admittedly, I slip up here and there, but never drink anything with more caffeine than green tea), and I try to keep my triggers low. I’m hoping the humidity of Virginia is playing a role in my head trauma lately, so we’ll see what happens this fall. I’m also planning to completely cut out migraine triggers, although my time constraints from graduate school are making it more difficult than preferred to start being serious about my eating habits. I’m still uncertain as to why my headaches kicked up so quickly, and it is my biggest concern. I’ve never had them on such a regular basis before, and never kept an eye on my diet. Currently, I’m trying to exercise regularly, watch what I eat, wake up earlier, and cross my fingers that one day I will be migraine free!

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