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9 Things Only People With Migraines Would Understand

9 Things Only People With Migraines Would Understand

Migraines drive me crazy. Like…insane. They’re simply debilitating. People who don’t get them think we are being babies or that we aren’t “tough enough to handle a headache.”

Most people who know me know I’m tough. I’ve done marathons and triathlons. I’ve been through several heart surgeries. None of them compared to the pain of my migraines, which I’ve dealt with all my life. Apparently, I’ve passed them on to my children. (Isn’t that nice of me?)

There’s no way one can truly understand the force of a migraine unless he or she actually experiences it. I hope, for your sake, you never do. For the rest of you, I wish you whatever it takes to keep you from cutting off your own head. Trust me. I’ve been there.

These are the things understood by sufferers of migraines everywhere:

1. Migraines are NOT just bad headaches.

A migraine is actually a collection of symptoms that make up a syndrome. And it’s more than “just” a headache. It’s a bunch of pain and sickness and sensitivities that all come together to ruin your life.

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2. The symptoms of migraines are different for everyone.

Symptoms include: Pain, throbbing, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances, sensitivities to light, sound, taste and smell, and trouble sleeping/waking. There are more, but these are the main symptoms. How many do you experience?

I get dizzy and sick. My son can’t deal with light. My daughter needs quiet time. These symptoms can be strong enough to interrupt school, work or sleep.

3. Symptoms can change.

So here is some awesome news: Your symptoms can morph over time. They may also progress over time. The good news is, studies show that you won’t always experience the same crappy feelings every time you have a migraine.

But seriously…how can they get worse? Go to hell, migraines.

4. Migraines are wicked enough to send you packing.

Packing for the ER, that is. Did you know that every 10 seconds a person checks in to an emergency department in the United States with a migraine or headache pain? That’s freaking ridiculous. If it hurts enough to send your ass to the ER, it’s probably not “just a headache.” You’ve either been knocked in the head with a baseball bat, or you have a migraine.

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I don’t know which is worse.

5. Migraines have made the list!

Migraines carry so much power, they’ve made the list of the top 20 of the world’s most disabling medical illnesses. That’s serious. People miss work every day because of migraines. It’s not a good idea to ask them to tough it out. What if you were a passenger on the plane of which the pilot was suffering a debilitating migraine? Or the waitress delivering your food, who promptly pukes on you as she lays the plate down on the table?

You think I’m joking. I’m not — it’s that bad.

6. And then there are the menstrual migraines.

As if PMS and periods don’t suck enough, many women suffer from menstrual migraines as well. These come on strong and last longer. They’re also more difficult to treat as they don’t respond as well to typical migraine medicines. Those days before our period, when our migraines hit, DO NOT talk about PMS. We’re likely to strangle you.

Of course, we can’t get out of bed or turn the lights on or stop vomiting, but we’ll vow to get you once we’re done with all this female stuff — so you better watch it.

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7. The drugs don’t help.

We’re not talking illegal drugs. They might help, for all I know.

There are over one hundred prescription and over-the-counter medications available for migraines. They work to prevent or treat symptoms. They work for half of us. Some sufferers need to take daily medication to prevent or lower the frequency of the migraines.

8. There are well-known triggers.

When we tell people we have migraines, there’s always that one person in the crowd who likes to spout off the triggers. For the record, I’m never giving up chocolate (apparently, a trigger.) Red wine can cause migraines. Switch to white. (I just made that part up. I have no idea if white wine is better for your headaches, but at least you don’t have to give it all up.) Skipping meals can cause migraines — so by all means, don’t diet. Feel free to eat and tell people, “My doctor prescribed it.” What? It’s true. On that note, I should mention intense physical exertion sometimes causes migraines. You’ll have to modify your exercise plan.

High altitude, motion (as in amusement park rides or boats), lack of sleep (party days are over), bright or flickering lights (no more raves for you) are all triggers.

Even emotional stress can be a catalyst for a migraine. So get some therapy.

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9. Migraines are equal-opportunity attackers.

You wouldn’t know it, but these people suffer(ed) from migraines:  Thomas Jefferson, Elvis, Anne Frank, Whoopi Goldberg, Vincent Van Gogh, Elizabeth Taylor, Terrell Davis and even Julius Caesar.

There’s nothing anyone can say or do to make migraines better. At least not at the time. They suck. What we need are prescriptions, dark rooms, barf buckets and lots of quiet time. Oh, and someone doting on us because we’re suffering unimaginable pain. Maybe some chocolate (without a lecture that it will only make the migraine worse.)

As long as you don’t say, “It’s just a headache,” no one will get hurt.

Featured photo credit: kizzzbeth via flickr.com

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Missy Mitchell

Author, Artist, Advocate

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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