My old friend, the migraine headache, came a-calling two weeks ago, and has yet to leave. After a six year remission, I thought this problem had gone for good. In September I had a bad headache episode, but I thought it was a stress-induced fluke. Two weeks ago, when I woke up dizzy I found it strange. Then I heard a friend talk about her migraines and I realized: they were back.
I had not wanted to accept they could really be back. Migraines caused me much misery in my earlier years. I'd hate to tally up the amount of time I spent in a dark room, under the blankets, waiting for the pain to subside. Suffice it to say: far too much.
My experience of migraines usually begins with light sensitivity. I'll find myself squinting in a normally lit room, wanting to put on sunglasses. If I take medicine at that point, I sometimes avoid the worst symptoms, which escalate to severe pain, fatigue, and mental fogginess. If I miss that early window, the migraine seems to stick around until it feels like leaving. Even after the pain eases, I'm left with the fatigue and fog, sort of like a terrible hangover, which sometimes ramps back up to a headache. It's as frustrating as it is mysterious.
Over the years I've tried many things to alleviate the symptoms. I've been on prophylactic medicine which, whoops, made my blood pressure dangerously low. I've done natural remedies, eliminated foods one by one, seen chiropractors, acupuncturists, acupressurists. I've thrown every thing I can at this problem, and still it persists.
By day 7 of this episode, I broke down in tears, so angry, frustrated, scared. They were back, and denying it was not helping. I made an appointment with a different neurologist. I saw my dentist to have a night guard made. I have slept more, done less, treated myself with extra gentleness. I have also admitted to friends and family that I am not well, and may not be quite myself. I hate this problem. I also know that I don't have to like it to accept that it is happening. At least with acceptance, I can take some action.
What helps you when are you unwell?