What Happened to My Life?

I've been suffering from migraines for over six years now, and while that doesn't seem very long at all compared to many people on this site, I'm sure everybody would agree that just one day with migraine can feel like an eternity. I'm 23 years old and can vividly remember my first migraine. I was in 11th grade and headed into my physics class (I like to blame the whole migraine thing on physics now). On average I have between 20 and 25 migraines per month. I very rarely go a day with absolutely no head pain. Migraines almost cost me my high school diploma and bachelors. I don't know how, but I somehow fought hard enough to get through high school and undergrad, however my life is far from where I want it to be.

Migraine Awareness MonthI haven't been able to pin point any extraordinary triggers yet, and I think that's because everything seems to trigger my migraines. Honestly, I have so many migraines that I'm never really sure if it is just one continuous headache or one ended and a trigger quickly prompted another one without giving me enough time to differentiate between the two headaches. I do tend to be very sensitive though. Anything from weather changes to fluorescent lights to hormones can affect me. Stress is a big trigger, which is ironic since migraines cause so much stress in my life. Another sure fire way to get a migraine is to eat or drink anything with aspartame. If I have anything with that I will get a level 10 migraine in about 5 minutes, and it'll last for hours. I've gotten very good at reading labels!

As for symptoms and side effects, I've had a variety, but there are a few that always occur. Along with the head pain, which usually shows up anywhere from the middle of my right eye to just about my right ear, I have extreme sensitivity to sound, light, and smell, vertigo (sitting, standing, and occasionally lying down), nausea, and numbness or tingling in my extremities.

While my constant symptoms seem to be some of the more common ones, I have many symptoms that don't occur with every migraine and seem to be a bit more peculiar. For example, when I try to rest during a migraine I seem to have something that is called sleep paralysis. It happens when you're asleep or partially asleep but you feel awake. You tell your arms or legs to move or your eyes to open, but your body won't react. I also have problems with my vision. I say that instead of having blurry vision, I have "overly focused" vision. What I mean by that is it feels like I'm wearing glasses made for somebody who has a higher prescription than I. I've tried discussing these symptoms with multiple physicians, but they mainly dismiss them or simply say, "hmmm". I wonder if anybody else has experienced similar symptoms.

I've been to many neurologists, been on many medications (preventative and abortive), tried many alternative treatments, and experimented with a variety of diet modifications but nothing has caused improvements. All the diagnostic tests come back "normal", so the mystery continues.

While not knowing what is causing the problem is annoying, the biggest issue is what migraines have done to my life. I'm not the person I was before they hit. My energy level is extremely low, my memory is terrible, and I have almost no social life. As a 23 year old I'd like to enjoy my youth, but it feels like its been taken from me.

I hope and pray everyday for an answer to this mystery so that I can go back to being myself and have a life led by me and not my migraines.

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