Ouch, That’s Not Just A Regular Headache
I can still remember the first migraine I ever suffered. I was 18 and until that point had rarely experienced any headaches whatsoever. That was until I came home from college one day and noticed that my vision wasn’t quite right. I saw some sparks, a few flashes, and I couldn’t bear to look directly at the kitchen light. I lay down on the couch, had a glass of water, and tried to convince myself everything would shortly return to normal. It didn’t. Over the next half an hour, I felt increasingly nauseous. Suddenly, the dinner I’d been looking forward to all afternoon didn’t seem appealing at all.
Then came the pain. For most of the evening, I was in agony. The evening out I’d planned was no longer an option. Instead, I lay still on my bed and clenched my teeth, praying that the pain would soon dissipate. Eventually, it did – but only after I’d vomited. Now I’ve worked out a treatment regimen that helps, but I’ll never forget how terrible those first few migraines were. Worse, I found that many people simply didn’t understand how bad migraines actually are. In that spirit, here is a list of things that only migraine sufferers will relate to!
1. It’s Hard To Describe The Pain
You can’t see the agony of a migraine, and it can be hard to describe. For some of us, the pain can be crushing. For others, stabbing. Some people experience it as rather like a hammer or ice-pick being driven into their skull. Either way, words are often insufficient to convey just how bad it really is. When migraine sufferers say that they are in pain, it is an understatement!
2. The Pain Interferes With, Well, Everything
It’s hard to plan a normal schedule when you frequently suffer from migraines. An attack can come on with little or no warning, and it can subsequently ruin your plans for the rest of the afternoon, day, or even the remainder of the week – some people are in pain for days at a time.
3. The Symptoms Aren’t Just Physical
Along with pain, migraine can cause emotional changes. In addition, living with a chronic condition can take its toll not only physically but in a psychological sense too. Never being sure when the next attack will arrive is stressful and exhausting. For the most unfortunate sufferers, their pain and its management can come to form a large part of their identity. They – and others around them – start to see them as “someone who has migraines” rather than as a normal, productive member of society.
4. Migraines Make Even The Basics Hard
Eating, sleeping and even being able to keep liquids down can be made impossible by a migraine. The nausea, dizziness and visual disturbances can make even everyday activities next to impossible. For example, drinking a cup of coffee or eating a light snack can be enough to trigger vomiting in some people.
5. It Can Be Impossible To Sleep
Whilst some sufferers can sleep with the pain, many cannot. This is exhausting – you are in pain, the pain is tiring, so you want to sleep – but you can’t. A truly vicious cycle can develop, because a lack of sleep can be a trigger for further migraines.
6. A Migraine Really ISN’T Just An Ordinary Headache
A migraine should never be referred to as “just a headache”. This minimizes the pain and suffering endured by those who suffer from them. A migraine is not simply an isolated, painful event – it is often a recurrent problem that has a devastating effect on the lives of many.
7. There Really Is No Proven Cure For Migraine
Painkillers can work to relieve the symptoms for some people, some of the time. Some other people find that eliminating certain triggers such as stress, coffee and irregular sleep helps reduce the severity and frequency of their attacks. However, the simple fact remains that there is no universal cure for migraine headaches. Most sufferers would have visited medical professionals already, and nothing is more irritating than being told to “see another doctor” or worse, to just to “live with it.”
The next time someone needs educating about what it’s really like to live with migraines, why not forward them this article? It might help them lose some of their misconceptions and understand your pain a little better!
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