What A Migraine Feels Like


I spent an hour chasing a small blurry dot yesterday. It’s never big but it steals my attention. Sometimes the dot is pink and I have my own rose colored glasses. I’ve learned not to trust my body because my eyes play these tricks on me to let me know that I will have a migraine tomorrow. I blink, it’s still there. I blink, it’s still there. I squeeze my eyes and it’s gone; but only for a moment.

I had my first migraine when I was 11 years old. Some of the women in my family suffer from frequent attacks and I’ve inherited this predisposition. I have a migraine almost every month because mine are triggered by hormones as they are for many women living with this condition. Recently I went 4 months without a migraine and it was so novel that I didn’t even care when then next attack came.

A few times a year I have a stress triggered migraine. These usually happen when I’m neglecting to proactively manage my anxiety and I feel stupid because maybe I could have prevented it. I don’t take regular medication for migraine because I haven’t found anything that works for managing my pain or proactively staving off an attack. I have to be really diligent about paying attention to my body and recognizing clues that a migraine is coming. I practice yoga and meditation which helps me feel in control of my body and mind.

I had strange dreams and slept horribly last night because I knew I would wake up and be in pain. And I was. I still am. I wish I could’ve gone back to sleep. But now I sit at work, with my elbows on my keyboard and my hands squeezing my temples. Existing.

My skull is numb in the back, where my head meets my neck. I touch it and I feel nothing but dull burning and pressure. Inside, my brain is pins and needles and it feels like the upsurge of sensation when your foot is asleep and you stand on it and immediately regret that decision.

Oops, I “forgot” to turn on some of the lights in the office. No one’s noticed that they’ve been working in dusk-like brightness. Fluorescent lights, flickering lights, and extreme smells make my pain really intense and my senses are hyper-active. My blurry friend is gone and now my eyes are just sore and they feel like the last all-nighter I pulled in college.

I’m so tired and in a foul mood. I feel vulnerable when my attitude is out of my control. I don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable but their talking is making me sick.

The bossman is understanding and leaves me be and I find this refreshing. Over time I have been cautious about telling men about my experience with migraine because only a small percentage of sufferers are men. Personal history has taught me that a lot of people are unwilling to acknowledge the severity of pain that they have not experienced.

I’m so nauseated; the only thing worse than days of nausea are days with constant throbbing in my right temple. I never throw-up. I almost wish I would because I like to think it would make the sea sickness go away. I’ve learned that some sufferers puke all the time and have to camp out in the bathroom during an attack. I’m glad that’s not me; my body is not out of my control.

Finally, I’m home in bed and the throbbing is intense. It’s my crazy college roommate knocking at my door. Bang, bang, banging. I try and sleep through it but it’s impossible. She has my attention and I’ve lost my mind, my control.

Sometimes I lie in bed and cry like toddlers do when their teeth come in and they’re confused and there’s little relief that can be offered to them. I want to call my mother because talking to her helps me relax and relaxing is the only hope I have of ever sleeping. I won’t call her, mothers carry the pain of their children and I do not want to upset her.

I want to sleep so badly. Isn’t that weird thing about sleep? The more you crave it and think about it, the less likely you are to actually achieve it? I pray to my God that this is only today and not tomorrow or the next day like it often is. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe. Rest. Sleep. Thought Catalog Logo Mark