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Living with Migraine

The strain of the middle

  • By Ellie

    I have chronic migraine. I have different triggers which all lead to migraines that present differently do I end up with an unpredictable variety of symptoms. Weather is my most reliable trigger with the most provable progression of symptoms, but throw in another trigger and it stirs things up.

    Typically, I struggle with the guilt of unfinished housework, cranky no b fun mommy days, and the extra strain it puts on my husband to make up for my limitations, but honestly, I think the worst psychological drain is the result of how “minor” my migraines are. I only have about 1 that reaches a 7 on that obnoxious pain scale every 2 or 3 months, and I only reach a 6 every few weeks. Most are actually a 3 or 4, bad enough to make life difficult and exhausting, but not to actually stop me in my tracks. In 20 years I’ve only gone to ER once for migraine, and I’ve never actually thrown up no matter how much I feel like it. Oh, and I don’t get sutra. Way back when we tried 3 different docs before settling, but only because weneeded new treatment plans, not because they mistreated Me. I’ve only had one doc be condescending and judgemental, and that was for a panic attack.

    I find it difficult to complain without feeling guilty. Yeah,I have chronic migraines that mean I live with pain pretty much as a fact of life, it busy means I’m awake, but I still feel like I’m pretty lucky, too. I have migraines, IBS, and anxiety with a history of depression. I’ve got ADHD and MILD sensory integration issues as well. I have to live with a constant struggle against feeling inadequate because my maximum output level is considerably lower than a healthy individual my own age, and I still haven’t figured out how to tailor my to do lists to my actual ability rather than what I “should” be able to do (as defined by my outsiders view of “normal” people). But this only “sorta” disabled, a “little” disabled, position in the middle feels impossible some days. Migraine is considered invisible anyway, but mine usually aren’t even bad enough to make me act worse than exhausted. It makes me feel pathetic to listen to other people’s stories and go home and whine about poor me.

    I know, I know. Everyone had their spoons and my pain and limitations are legitimate. Still. Anyone feel stuck in the middle?

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Ellie,

    Thank you for reaching out and part here in our discussion forum – we’re glad you’ve found us!

    You’re not alone! Many people with migraine disease have similar feelings, struggling with day to day tasks at home and at work. Just because a migraine attack doesn’t reach a “10” doesn’t mean it’s not debilitating. Dealing with constant chronic pain is exhausting and frustrating.

    One word about doctors; if you haven’t seen a true migraine/headache disorder expert (or even if you have and didn’t click) I would encourage you to as soon as you can. These doctors may be different from general neurologists in that they are board certified in headache medicine, which is different than being certified in neurology. When you get a chance take a look at these articles on how these doctors are different and how to find one: http://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/
    and https://migraine.com/blog/really-find-headache-specialist/.

    Being kind to ourselves is so important – something I’m always working on. Self care can be a major hurdle when raising children, taking care of a household and/or working outside the home. Please try and give yourself a break – you’re worth it. And you’re also allowed to “whine” about chronic migraine – it really stinks having any chronic illness. Some days I do feel stuck in the middle as you mentioned, but that usually doesn’t last long. When I’m having an OK day, I tend to overdo and take a few steps backwards, another thing I’m always working on!

    Spoons seem to be in short supply – if I had extra I’d send them your way. We’re here for you!!

    Nancy

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