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My Story

I have had Migraines since I was 12, and now I’m 45. My Mom and Dad had them, as well as 3 of my 4 sisters. I have taken just about everything they have made- but I also have Low-Blood Pressure-so Beta Blockers are out, although I have had them prescribed to me more than once!

Now, I ask if they have read my chart when it happens… I have a not-very-clean house, which bugs the crap out of me sometimes, but it’s hard to do chores when you can’t bend over. My husband will sometimes pour bleach or other smelly things to clean, and “forget” that it is a trigger. I keep waiting for them to get better… I have had to move at church because of the lights, or someones perfume or cologne.

I would only be able to eat oatmeal if I eliminated Everything that is a trigger for me. My triggers have been a source of amusement for others-the list seeming overwhelming to them, I guess. I should weigh 100 pounds for what I can’t eat-if it comes out of a bag, box or can, I’m done for! I don’t want this, but if this is my cross, I will bear it. Somedays better than others.

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.


  • Janet
    7 years ago

    I have suffered for 36 years with migraines. I have left church because of someone’s perfume. I weigh 92 pounds because of all the foods that trigger migraines. People who know me still ask if I can eat this or that when my diet hasn’t changed since I was 20 years old. When my son asks when I visit him and his wife and our first grandbaby :)……can you have pizza mom???? I want to kick him…ughhh….these are the people who know me the best. My husband in the past 8 years is as helpful as can be guiding me to stay away from food triggers and not eating things in front of me…which really doesn’t bother me because I get enough migraines…so I don’t need to borrow trouble and I really don’t want him not to have a bag of microwave popcorn just because I can’t. Your article says it all… triggers are the same…light, sound ..smells, and yet when I say shhhhhhh or that smell is so strong, I still get “oh does that Hirt your head?” Duh!!!!!

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    So very true Janet. I think people are hoping that our triggers will just go away. In a sense you are “lucky” your triggers haven’t changed. Some of us have “evolving” triggers and by that I mean new ones crop up. For example, I never had a problem chopping raw onions until a few years ago. I was chopping an onion one day and got hit fast and hard with a migraine attack! One of the women in my migraine and headache support group wears a button saying something to the effect if you are wearing perfume please stand back I am highly allergic.

  • kathyhorton-bishop
    7 years ago

    You’re story is so familiar…..I had to stop going to church because of so many triggers…my list too is endless….I tell my friends if you want to come see me then come but if you are coming to see my house don’t bother…there is a nice letter to help others understand you and migraines I believe I got it from this website… is awesome….I will keep you in my prayers…Migraine is a tough road surround yourself with comforting things and make a safety zone in your house where you can retreat to ….. mine is my bedroom..soothing colors..super comfy bed…pillows blankies my migraine meds soft music whatever you can do to take the edge off…I also suggest a do not disturb sign…for times when you retreat and need to be left alone…Keep the faith…and triggers can accumulate over days…so one exposure might not set you off but put a few together over a couple days can set you off….go for a whole foods diet and try to find something you can enjoy.. Hugs from someone who understands…..

  • jacquelineking
    7 years ago

    I feel for you, I remember being so overwhelmed by my triggers that I felt the same way. I’m sure your keeping a record of your migraines, but start doing some detective work. I like the migraine tracker on, its extremely detailed. you might find that certain triggers are over lapping, making it seem like other foods are triggers. Also, I learned that as long as you can eliminate MOST of your triggers, you can be exposed to a few minor triggers without causing a migraine. It is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid all your triggers. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying eliminate all of them. As for your husband, throw out the bleach! Buy migraine friendly cleaning products. Tell your family and friends what they can do to make your life a little more migraine free, if that means don’t wear perfume around you, i’m sure they will comply.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    KAZ – Thank you for posting. I wish I could tell you that you were alone in your experience, but many of us are right there with you.

    I still get funny looks in church when I can go, because people think there must be a *reason* I wear sunglasses while indoors. It’s interesting to hear the comments when they don’t know I can hear them. “Did it get dark outside suddenly or something?” “I wonder if she has a hangover.”

    Re-learning how to eat seems overwhelming at first, but I figure if my great grandma could do it without bags, boxes, packets or cans while cooking on a wood stove or in the fireplace, and not even the luxury of electric appliances to help her, then I can too. Just a matter of making some changes. It got much easier after time 🙂 Hang in there!

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