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Living with Migraine

Memory Loss and Aphasia are unmanageable

  • By Claire

    Hi all,
    I’m a chronic migraine sufferer who is about to embark on a journey halfway across the world to teach English in Asia. Although I’ve had migraines since I was seven (abdominal, then with aura, then medication induced, then cluster) and have learned to cope with the pain, the added extras which I have been luckily dealt with are not so manageable. I’ve been forced to endure aphasia during exams (high school and university) but now it has kicked up a notch into full blown memory loss for an hour or sometimes more. I can’t even remember my own birthday or laptop password during these times and because of my frustration at this I have begun getting uncontrollable mood swings as if I were PMSing all the time and not even noticing it. I hate these times more than the days of agony and darkness. I have an extremely understanding and helpful boyfriend who plans on sticking it out with me forever, but I constantly find myself hurting him without realising what I am doing until the next day. I want to break this cycle of constantly feeling guilty for everything I do and say, but I don’t know how.I also have periods where he says I am perfectly functional (even on the phone to my parents) and then a few minutes later it is like I wake up and I don’t remember what happened or how I ended up where I was.
    Is there anyone out there who has gone through this and come out the other side? How can I stop myself from being an amnesiac to ? Above all I need to know if it will be possible for me to hold down a job despite these attacks!

    I could really use some advice….

    Claire

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Clairmcg,
    I’m really sorry you’re going through this. I, too, have experienced mood swings with my Migraines. I am a lot less patient than I used to be and can get angry easily (that was never a problem before!). And when the pain is really bad, I completely blank out on conversations or even days worth of time like you do.

    I wish I had a magic fix that would make it easier to deal with these Migraine symptoms. Over time I’ve learned to recognize when I’m being difficult and try to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. I also write down important things because I know I can easily forget. I keep a notepad in my purse for this reason.

    While these symptoms are common with Migraines, they could also be caused by medications you are taking. Topamax is notorious for causing confusion and difficulty speaking. And some preventatives can cause mood changes. It may be a good idea to look over your meds and talk to your doc about it in case a change in meds is needed.

    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Jodygo

    I don’t (as far as I know, and as far as my boyfriend says) suffer from the worse mood swings, but he says I do get a bit more cross than I would normally. Usually I’m pretty even-keeled and actually quite laid back.

    The memory thing, though, is a BIG issue. We joke that I’m like a watered-down version of “Fifty First Dates.” I (literally) can’t tell you how many times we have the same conversation, with each time seeming quite unique and eye-opening.

    About halfway into any given insight, I’ll come to the realization that we’ve discussed this (often many times) before. Happily, my boyfriend (omg, he’s my HUSband … can’t seem to get that through my head!) is very loving and patient. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if he weren’t.

    Like Katie Golden suggested, I also have a calendar that I update religiously, with copious notes. In addition, I set alarms for myself and ask friends to call/remind me as much as possible. This has, however, made working at my old type of job quite impossible. Sad thing, because I’m getting very restless, and although I usually only get like two-hour windows of being relatively pain-free (or at least down to a manageable/tolerable level), during those times I feel the weight of being basically a slug compared to what I was just a a few months ago … sigh.

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