As part of the Migraine Explained series, I wanted to share some stories of the people that struggle with Migraines. I tell my story on this blog but I want to give other perspectives of the disease as well. So, Occasionally, I will be having a guest writer that will share their Chronic Migraine story.
Brittany’s Migraine Life
I’ve met many people who understand me when I tell them I suffer from migraines. From those who get them, I get the immediate softening of the eyes and words – they understand more than they wish they did. From those who’ve never encountered one, or ever had a loved one with them, the question usually comes as “Oh, like headaches?” to which any migraine sufferer will cringe.
Headaches suck, I’m not trying to under/overestimate any levels of pain. I’m a migraine sufferer, have naturally birthed two children, gotten gallstones, and battled many kidney stones. For me, I gauge my pain against what I’ve known. But, migraines are truly in a category all their own, not only because they vary from sufferer to sufferer, but because for me, they are rarely the same from one to the next. Suffering from headaches now feels totally manageable, while trying to do most every day tasks with a migraine is nearly, if not totally, impossible. Although I’ve certainly experienced higher levels of pain, it’s the ongoing nature of them for chronic migraine sufferers that makes it harder to manage.
My Migraine Triggers
I’ve played all the games doctors want you to play to try to learn your triggers – removing things from your diet and tracking everything from moods to foods to activities and sleep patterns. Mine haven’t been food-triggered as far as I can tell, so I don’t have a list of things I can avoid in my diet.
My triggers, as I’ve been able to pinpoint and understand after suffering for 27+ years (since I was five), are menstrual cycles, adrenaline, stress, overheating and barometric pressure changes. This means monthly PMS migraines, I’m-so-excited-for-this migraines, big work project migraines, driving in the car with a winter coat on migraines, and thunderstorm migraines. It can feel inescapable.
My Life with Migraine
As a Mom and small business owner, regular two to three times a month migraines are one of my ultimate frustrations. On the days my daughters want to play, our kids need run around, a school project needs worked on or the kids just want to be noisy kids, I am forced to retreat or alter plans in order to accommodate the pain.
I am a social media consultant, which means that not only am I on a computer for a good part of my work, I also have my nose in my phone regularly. On my migraine days, I oftentimes cannot even peek at a screen without severe nausea or pulsating head-pounding.
I have a wonderful support system as far as a significant other who would do literally anything for me and parents willing to help whenever they can, but sometimes, half the migraine battle is fighting back the tears of missing out on parts of our lives that I’ll never be able to get back.Lean on others, stay optimistic, try to manage your stress, rest when you need it, and push on to fight for another day! ~Brittany Gray
Getting Through the Tough Days
I wish I had an answer for myself. I alternate different kinds of medications and have learned to quickly identify the signs that I am moving towards a migraine: a targeted, periodic pain in a temple or above the brow-bone, queasiness or inability to eat, blurred or delayed vision, and a few others. I try to catch them before they start, but some weeks I will literally take meds everyday, feeling the unwelcome twinge, and afraid to let one of these monsters poke through to ruin things.
I don’t enjoy taking meds, and try to treat my body well, so a constant push of medication doesn’t feel healthy to me, in the least. Avoiding migraine-triggering situations is practically impossible for me, and I’ve come to accept that. Still, it can be really upsetting when an overheated and excited room at choir practice, or a loud arcade with my children can send me spiraling. My daughters are so used to this that they truly take the “quiet time” seriously when they know I’m nursing a migraine.
Trying to Make Life Better
It can feel lonely, as migraines are one of those invisible illnesses that no one really knows just looking at you. It can be upsetting when I have to delay items due to my clients, especially since full-on migraines tend to last me two to three days. I try to stay healthy, eat right, exercise, take supplements, and pay attention to my stress level, but I know that I will probably continue to struggle with them for a long time, if not forever.
I look at it as my responsibility to stay positive. After a bad day, I appreciate the healthy ones even more. I look for gratitude in all that surrounds me, and try to tackle each one at a time, while continuing to hope for a more permanent cure.
My Advice to Other Migraineurs
If you suffer from migraines, I implore you to lean on your support system. If you’re anything like me, it can be difficult to ask for help, but I also know that I will get better quicker and with less stress if I let others take care of me. Trust me, they want to! Lean on others, stay optimistic, try to manage your stress, rest when you need it, and push on to fight for another day!
I want to thank Brittany for sharing her Migraine story with The Frozen Mind. Her story is one of managing to create success in life in spite of Chronic Migraine that sometimes take over. As a wife and mother myself, I can relate to her as I am sure many of you will as well.
Migraine Related Topics:
- Migraine Explained: Cognitive Dysfunction
- Migraine Explained: Migraine Triggers
- Migraine Explained: Season Change
- Migraine Explained: Allodynia
- Migraine Explained: Status Migrainosus
Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information and first hand accounts about a serious medical condition. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice.