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Living with Migraine

Becoming couch bound. Help!

  • By Herrenfam

    I’ve had migraines since I was 15 (I’m 41 now). They gradually got worse and about three years ago, turned into a chronic daily headache. I finally got to see a headache neurologist about three months ago, and he’s gotten me to look carefully at my triggers and to learn how to avoid them. But this has led to a big problem – I now lay down almost all day on the couch laying perfectly still so my head pain pain (half from my neck, half classic migraine) will not increase. But this leaves me housebound, weak, unable to sleep properly at night, and reduces the quality time I spend with my husband and two teenage children. Plus, I used to take care of all matters of the house and medical treatments for my family, and I’ve not really been able to do as good of job with that as I used to. I Also have bipolar disorder, and last week I told my psychiatrist I didn’t have a purpose in life anymore and my declining activities (I also rarely drive because of my medications) are making me feel useless and lazy. Of course, he promptly increased my medications, sigh.

    My husband is a good man and treats me kindly 95% of the time. But that othe 5%, he gets angry that I’m sick and on the couch and can say hurtful things to me.

    I mean, I don’t mean to ruin everyone’s life and drag them down with my illness and pain, but I’ve had periods of such high pain for so long that, once, I felt suicidal. And that’s not me, I hate feeling like that because I have a family I love so much. But I dispair that I can’t do things with them like I used to do. And the bottom line is I can’t help it when I have intolerable pain.

    Does anyone else feel like this? How do you cope and find happiness in these limitations? Ive fought for so many years for better treatment, and now I have a headache neurologist, but the treatment procedure escalation schedule is slow – I see him every three weeks and try something new. I know that’s fast for migraine treatment, but I’m terribly impatient and anxious when I’m in pain and I just want it to stop so I think the dr is going too slow!

    Thanks for listening,
    Michelle

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Michelle,

    I posted to you in one of your other questions about surgery and some of that information will apply to this question. Seeking out the help of migraine/headache experts can make a huge difference in our treatment plan. If you’ve not yet seen one, I would encourage you to do so. I’ll share those links with you again here: https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/ and https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/.

    You mentioned that you try something new every three weeks with this doctor, does that mean new medication every three weeks? That could be a problem becasue it can take up to 90 days before we see a reduction in our migraine frequency and severity as we adjust to new medications. Also during this time potential side effects may lessen. If we don’t give each medication a fair trial, we’ll never know which one would have been THE medication that would have worked. Does that make sense?
    Another good reason to seek out an expert.

    Depression can be a comorbid (they occur at the same time but are not caused by one another) condition with migraine, and who wouldn’t be depressed when they’re in pain all the time? I know I battle depression and take antidepressants to help. Here is a bit of information on depression and migraine; https://migraine.com/blog/separating-depression-symptoms-migraine-symptoms-frustrations/ and https://migraine.com/blog/depression-migraines-unpleasant-cousin/.

    I also see a great counselor who has helped me learn how to cope with living with a chronic illness, which has been invaluable. Not all of us are equipped to handle chronic, debilitating pain and illness and seeing a counselor can be very helpful. You may want to seek out such an individual and many places work on a sliding scale so it’s more affordable.

    Good luck
    Nancy

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