You’re sitting there, minding your own business. Physically, you feel fine. You’re doing whatever it is that you do — sitting at work, hanging with friends, at the movies, at the circus, basket-weaving, whatever. Then… it hits you.
It starts as a dull pain in your head. You notice it, and it “hurts,” but not enough to take action. Yet.
You try to go about your business; ignore it. MAYBE IT WILL GO AWAY.
The dull pain now graduates to a throbbing, pulsating, more intense pain. It travels to the back of your eyes and throughout your entire skull. You swear your hair even hurts. This isn’t a sore throat, or a leg cramp – this is your BRAIN, literally aching to the point of utter distraction. You can’t think of anything else except PAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, normal everyday things like LIGHT and SOUND become your mortal enemy, and you fantasize about a pitch-black silent room so you can avoid the suffering, nausea and frustration caused by this headache. In fact, you laugh at the word headache. You’d take a “headache” any day over whatever this is.
The pain gets worse; you can’t think straight, in fact it actually hurts to think, and in some horrible cases, you start actually thinking that death might be a better option than this.
What I just described to you is a migraine. And I get them at least once a week.
I don’t want my condition to define me, but I guess in a way they are a part of me and have been for most of my adult life. I don’t remember my first migraine, but I do remember having headaches as a kid, even at an age where you shouldn’t even know what a headache is. I was popping adult Tylenol’s in elementary school like it was nothing. At seven years old I rolled my eyes at your Chewable aspirins; get outta here with that. Gimme the good stuff!!
In high school the headaches got worse, and then in college they intensified significantly. I once scared my entire dorm (and mother) into thinking I had Meningitis when I was plagued by a migraine that caused me to vomit continuously and lay incapacitated in my bed for oh, I don’t know, about 12 hours.
The migraines started to take over; they came with a vengeance, ruining social events, affecting my schoolwork (sorry, had to laugh at that one), and more importantly, RUINING SOCIAL EVENTS!
So, it then began. Neurologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists. MRIs, CAT scans, Biofeedback (yes, that’s a real thing) and herbal supplements.
I also visited an Iridologist (yep, also a real thing) and Nutritionist who put me on an insane, strict and ridiculous diet to attempt to detox my body from all the junk I put into it for years. I drank green goo every night and was not allowed dairy, white breads, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and pretty much anything that tasted good. I lasted a few months, and shed a few pounds, but I was starving. And while it may have helped. I still got headaches.
An MRI once came back revealing my brain was “torturous.” I didn’t need to pay money for that information; I could have told you that. Truth is, these migraines were torturing ME.
It turns out there is/was nothing “wrong” with me; just that I’m one of the lucky millions of people in the world affected by this disease. And yes, it is a disease.
Sometimes it feels awful knowing that no one really understands what I go through on a daily basis, and that they dismiss my condition as just a “headache” and to “suck it up.” I don’t wish one of my worst headaches — which have landed me in the ER — on my worst enemy, but secretly wish everyone could experience a fraction of the pain just to know what it’s like. I am livid at anyone who throws the word ‘migraine’ around loosely, “Ugh! I have such a migraine!” Even though they’re visibly fine; laughing, going about their day normally. YOU DO NOT HAVE A MIGRAINE, AND I AM GOING TO PUNCH YOU.
I’m willing to do anything to get better and live migraine-free, so I’m always looking for new and innovative treatments. And in the meantime, I take a prescription medication (called Relpax, if you’re interested) that works wonders and has pretty much saved my life.
I don’t mean to insult my brain, though, because I think it’s a perfectly good brain, and I still wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s.