I could really use some advice, or support. I’m prone to anxiety, and sometimes have panic attacks, either before or sometimes during a migraine (often before a severe migraine, which I think ramps up the severity of the migraine). I developed some tools early on for dealing with anxiety, and I feel fairly comfortable breathing through a panic attack even if I’m alone, because I’ve done it before and can usually recognize it for what it is and just weather it out. But, when I’m having a really bad migraine AND my fight-or-flight response is also maxed out due to anxiety, I’m honestly just a mess, to the point where I can’t really form a thought or sentence. I think in part because I’m a thin/fast metabolism type person, the combined adrenaline from pain and anxiety just hits me like a ton of bricks sometimes.
My boyfriend is awesome, and we make a great team in a lot of ways. He’s always on board with getting me ice packs, drinks, etc. during migraines and keeping the house comfortable and quiet. But, he’ll try to help by asking a huge question: What’s wrong? And I get totally overwhelmed in trying to respond. After all, what isn’t wrong in the heat of the moment? How do you explain that when your head is throbbing and you’re crying hysterically and trying to breathe through a panic attack, so you’ve got no air left for talking? He really wants to help me, and I could really use help during migraine/panic attack collisions.
How do you help your loved ones understand what you need when you’re too upset or in too much pain to explain it as well as what’s needed? Do you just try to stay calm and practice that calmness until it gets easier? Do you have tools or lists or a system? It breaks my heart to not be able to give a useful answer when he really just wants to help. We talk about it in between attacks, and we have a shared list of things that help during a migraine, but it doesn’t cover all the bases.
Am I the only one who struggles with juggling high anxiety with pain in such a way that you’re just speechless and useless and want to crawl into a hole? I’m a very organized person and we have a busy little household, I wish I had a pause button. =(