Duped by the Migraine

Do you ever have those days where you’re in denial that you have a migraine attack coming on? In this video I talk candidly about the silly things I tried to ward off an impending attack.

*Spoiler alert* It never works!

After I filmed this I became one with the sofa and passed out. Thankfully my symptoms did lessen by day two (though brain fog ensued), and were minimal by day three.

You can read about how I rate my migraines here.

Please tell me, does this happen to you, too? It almost seems a little ridiculous at this point, years and years of migraine attacks later. Do you also get duped by the migraine?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


View Comments (9)
  • WeaverGrace
    2 years ago

    I was diagnosed 10 years ago as having bipolar disorder, but since I started logging my migraines in the MigraineBuddy app 8 months ago, I discovered that my mood swings correlate perfectly with my migraine prodromes and postdromes. I’m glad to be no longer fighting a losing battle with bipolar.I feel like I’m making progress against chronic migraines.

    During prodrome, as rossbow13 described, I tend to get hypomanic, busily tackling a couple dozen projects at once, doing an immaculate job with each, craving sugar. My digestive system tends to shut down. I can’t think straight, so I truly don’t realize that a migraine is coming. Now that my husband has become so familiar with my migraine process, he points out to me when I seem to be in prodrome, and suggests that I use a remedy. I look at him blankly, and ask why he thinks that I might be having trouble, but I have come to trust his judgment. I have tried to leave notes for myself lying around so I wouldn’t be so dependent on him, but I truly can’t think straight during a prodrome. When he’s not around, I don’t realize that I’m in trouble until I am vomiting and in deep pain, but then it’s probably too late for a triptan, and nothing else alleviates the pain, except a large dose of a sedative.

    My depression hits during the postdrome. It typically takes 2-3 days for me to recover from a migraine, especially after using a sumatriptan, and then I’m typically back in prodrome again.

  • Amanda Workman moderator
    1 year ago

    WeaverGrace –
    Sometimes we get so used to the range of symptoms that it can be hard to tell in our own minds what they add up to. My husband does like yours and has learned to notice when it’s about to get bad and tell me to stop doing chores, etc and laid down. I also have a dog who will get up under my feet until I sit down.
    Have you mentioned the side effect of the sumatripitan to your doctor? There are many other abortives available if this one is adding to your issues, You definitely do not need more issues from medications. Hang in there and remember we are here for you
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • TipForge
    2 years ago

    Denial, yes! And then I try to convince myself to avoid denial next time, but it seems that denial is my way of coping until the pain or aura hit me like a ton of bricks. This may be why I was never very successful with those medications that included instructions to “take at the first sign of a migraine.” If you are in denial, you won’t take them. I believe most of us have the tendency to avoid pain, and denial may just be our way of pushing the “idea” of pain off, until it finally hits us.

    I was told that my migraines would get better after I turned 60, but that hasn’t been true for me. In fact, they are much worse now than when I was in my 40’s and 50’s. The frequency and duration has increased.

    Thanks for sharing your migraine rating system. It actually seems easier than the scale of 1-10 method used by my doctors.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi TipForge,

    I very much understand what you are saying. It can feel impossible sometime to not be in denial until it’s too bad to ignore.

    I’m really glad my rating system is helpful!


  • rossbow13
    2 years ago

    Definitely ME TOO … I don’t even notice it happening … my husband points out that I have suddenly become Superwoman and am cleaning everything in sight (why does an impending migraine make me see dirt?), and yearning for sweet foods, and rushing around (yawning a lot) … am I aware, at that point in time, I am getting a migraine and so want to do as much as possible before I become prostrated? Why am I determined to ignore the knife pushing behind my right eye and that my last meal is staying stubbornly in my stomach, resulting in nausea? Why don’t I notice I have stopped urinating and am feeling distinctly “different” although I can’t actually describe it? Why do I feel elated … is it something to do with my bipolar 2 … which, incidentally is a comorbid condition alongside migraine … I used to think I had to get everything done before the migraine made me lie down, when I would find, three days later, all the work piled up around me as everyone waited for me to stand up again … but I’m 70 … surely this is a reality check and now when it happens I am justified in lying down, listening to an Audible story … but no … here it goes again … another cupboard to clean, a floor to polish, a dishwasher to empty … YOU ARE NOT ALONE! But then the massive mood swing into depression, the pain, the nausea and vomiting …. that’s life!

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Oh boy, Rossbow13, at least it’s not just me! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • rplymire
    2 years ago


  • James.C
    2 years ago

    It happens to me A LOT! I feel so stupid afterwards, too. My wife says to me, “You knew it was coming, why didn’t you do anything?”

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Aw, yes it can be hard to explain to others why we didn’t quite recognize what was coming. It’s like we half-know. So frustrating! Thanks for sharing, James.

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