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Surviving the Door

In 2004 I had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I was sitting on the floor when I was struck in the head by a falling industrial sliding door. I was 25 at the time and loved life. My career was advancing and in my eyes, back then, I was living the perfect life. That was all taken from me on 18 April 2004. Since then my life has been sub-par. Excruciating. Unbearable. Miserable. Lonely. Exhausting. I do my absolute best to fake it for other people’s sake. Few people really understand and sometimes it is too much to try to explain.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome and migraine

I suffer from PTSD. Far too often people say, “That was a long time ago, just get over it.” If only it was that easy, right? Many people believe that only people in the military suffer from PTSD. Every time I come across a malfunctioning door, I know a migraine is to follow. Follow the anxiety. Follow the sobbing. Follow the uncontrollable shaking. Follow the shortness of breath. Follow being trapped inside/outside of a door. Follow being trapped in your own head. Follow inability to express your emotions. Follow the need to die. For the last 15 yrs I have been on drug roller coasters. On this then off it. The withdrawals taxes your body in ways you cannot put into words. I have had several years of therapy including EMDR and been to a great number of pain specialist.

Coping skills and managing migraine

The first thing forced upon me was to learn not to internalize the pain. Coming from people who have never suffered from migraine it seems so simple. I know this makes me a bad person, but I often wish they could experience just one migraine. Live what we live. Maybe then they could understand. I have forced my self to follow this advice the best I can. However, people then don’t believe in the excruciating pain we live. I ask others about their children, families, life in general. I very rarely remember what they tell me but it does help me cope to a certain extent. What they don’t know is I secretly want them to shut up and leave me alone. But I need them. I need their stories. I need their laughter. I need their distraction. I simply need them. More often than not the pain is so intense I lay in bed begging God to just end this. End it all. Stop the suffering.

Migraine pain and helplessness

Others do not understand this. They don’t understand the ice pick piercing through the top of your head. The wanting to scoop your eye out with a melon baller. The desire to slice across the back of your head/neck to let the pressure out. The need to beat your head against the wall until you feel nothing at all. The cutting all your hair off by yourself because you are so desperate for the pain to stop. Looking back it was so much easier in the beginning. The pain wasn’t easier. It was easier for others to understand. They could see the swollen black and blue face, the stitches, the blood in my hair that was too painful to wash out. Once those symptoms were gone so too was many people’s understanding of the pain they cannot see.

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.


  • glassmind
    3 months ago

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your ordeal.

    Many here, including myself, understand the physical and emotional pain of migraine.

    I’ve wanted to die rather than continue experiencing migraine. And sometimes I experience suisideation as a symptom of the migraine itself, which is extremely challenging to talk myself through.

    Living with ptsd and migraine is very hard. When you are able, continue to advocate for yourself and explain your challenges to those around you. Show them your writing and those of others here. In time they may grow in understanding.

    And do continue to talk with your doctors about the ongoing emotional symptoms and toll of migraine. After 15 years, you surely have tried many therapies, but a new one or revisiting one could help. I do understand (as do others here) the additional frustration of failed or marginally beneficial treatments.

    You are always welcome to share here and find empathic community. Thank you again for sharing and gelping to build this space. I feel for your sufferring and stories like yours help me in my struggles.

    Best to you. Hugs

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    3 months ago

    Oh my goodness, what a traumatic, terrifying experience you have endured, 400lbfallingdoor! I hear how completely that accident changed your life. It is no wonder that malfunctioning doors cause you to experience symptoms of PTSD. Living with an invisible illness like migraine is indeed so challenging. People often extend less compassion toward diseases they cannot see, which are frequently chronic illnesses that should be the most deserving of understanding and empathy. That is a frustrating reality for many. You are not a horrible person for wishing others could experience one migraine attack to better understand the complexity of the disease. I thought this article would resonate with you: Please know in this community you are among those who understand life with migraine. You can reach out anytime you need support or a safe space to vent. We are always here to listen. Wishing you a gentle day. ~Allyson ( team)

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