Pain Pain Go Away Come Again Some Other Day!
I have come up with so many ways to try and lighten myself up about my migraines. I've tried everything over the years and honestly, I've sort of given up.
The first migraine I remember was when I was about 4. I remember rocking back and forth curled up on my knees sort of gently bumping my head in rythm to the pain. No one ever helped because it was widely assumed I was "just looking for attention."
Sometimes I'd even be punished for my migraines... oddly, because my dad had them, and my mom hated that she had to deal with his. She called me a faker, a copy cat, selfish and dramatic... so I didn't seek help for my migraines until I was a teenager and ran away from home. The docs did CAT scans and a slew of other tests and found nothing wrong, so at that time they just gave me pain meds. Luckily (I think now that I've read other stories of the problems with them), they did nothing for my migraines and I quickly gave up on them. I tried a number of other things over the years from hormones (this made them so much worse!), to acupuncture to massage and chiropractics, preventative drugs like Topomax (that sucked!!!), different exercises, you name it. Many things worked, but usually only for a short time.
After a few years I finally gave up on everything. I tried to morph my life around my migraines. Learned to build in extra days to trips, to have some really good backup excuses and plans for everything (I was still really ashamed and trying to hide my migraines), and, blessedly through my twenties and early thirties, my migraines mostly waited. It was like they built up, then when I had any time to rest, I'd get clobbered with a migraine. Finally, in graduate school, I decided to give doctors another try, and by then the newer, non narcotic drugs where better. I went through a few of them as well, each working for a while, then I'd get rebound migraines, then just give up. I think the last of those I tried was Relpax. My current emergency backup drug is Maxalt... but it's so expensive I save it for times when I absolutely cannot have a migraine (job interview, play day with my son).
Now, I don't want to put all blame on my migraines... but I wonder sometimes. I've also struggled with depression, PTSD and anxiety (depending on the doctor!).
I've been suicidal on and off, and when my ex-husband turned out to be abusive and controlling, he got custody of our child when I tried to leave him, in part because in court he used my migraines... on top of all the depression, etc. Sad thing is, I really have never harmed anyone, have never put anyone in danger, certainly not my child! I've had these migraines and other things my entire life, and I've adapted, I've been in therapy for years and years, I take the medications each doctor tries... I think I still have some value, I am a pretty positive, loving, kind generous, fun! mom and wife and friend. But, clearly in the eyes of the courts, in the eyes of people who help, I am not. I am actually worse than a drug addict or a prostitute or a child abuser.
Drug addicts can go to rehab, alcoholics have AA and sponsors... even abusive parents can take classes, be supervised and eventually get their kids back. Chronic pain sufferers are treated like criminals. I have a career I am very proud of, a masters degree from Harvard... and because I am in pain, and sometimes feel really bad because of it... I am a worse parent than a wife beater...
Sorry to get sidetracked, I wanted to finish my migraine story with another that I am now hearing from many others... the medication has become so expensive I can't afford it. I've experienced two different migraine traps:
1. I have to work very high stress positions to afford the treatments I need, but the migraines are so bad because of the stress, I pretty much just work to pay for my medication... terrible life
2. Recently I decided to take time off from work (after a lifetime of working through my suffering in relative silence), since I have such a successful background, I don't qualify for any subsidies or health care help, medication, now I can't work because I cant treat the migraines... I literally (no attention seeking, no cons for help, it's just the truth), I literally am about to be homeless because of these, this.
I will figure something out.. I always do. I think that migraine survivors have to be some of the most creative resourceful tortured souls out there! But, wouldn't it be nice if there were some Migraine walks? Some migraine rehabs? Even prisoners get better care than migraine sufferers.
Have you shared your migraine story with us yet?