Invisible Disabilities Week 2018 – Chronic Migraine Awareness

A few months ago, celebrities were doing this pose known as the ‘Migraine Pose’ and it caused so much contraversey, as it should. My 5 seconds of relief, is not equal to your 5 seconds of selfie. 

I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraine-Vertigo just over a year (or two) ago. It started with a colonoscopy that resulted in an allergy to the sedation. I had a major anxiety attack and my oxygen levels were crazy. A few weeks after the migraines started. My head was constantly pounding, I constantly felt like I was going to faint, I couldn’t lay a certain way in bed because I’d get very dizzy. I couldn’t cope atall, and whenever i got the pain, I’d have to go lay down. Once my head hit the pillow, I could not wake up/lift it up again. I’d wake up, 2 seconds and then would pass out again.

“I was experiencing the same frequent abdominal issues, which I now know was abdominal migraine. Head pain was triggered through exertion (playing during recess), motion sickness (playing on the swings or seesaw and riding in cars), strong odors, specific foods, bright lights and loud noises. It was hard trying to be a normal kid like my friends and cousins when so many things triggered pain and sickness.  I had to learn trigger management early on to try to experience as many normalcies as possible as a child” – The Migraine Diva

My first diagnosis was Vertigo (BPPV). But when the tablets for that made me worse, I was referred to an ENT and neurologist. It turned out to be Chronic Migraine-Vertigo (also known as Dizziness Associated Migraines | Vestibular Migraines). 2 years later I still suffer with migraines. After various techniques, meds, I’ve got them down from one lasting 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 28 days a month, to 3-5 a month, which I can cope with. Although the pain is worse, and when I sleep, I go into a comatose state, it’s bearable.

Migraines are not just ‘headaches’
or your excuse for a new selfie trend. Many people suffer with them, and are burdened by them. Raise more awareness for it. 
Chronic Migraines come in many forms. You can have vertigo associated migraines like myself, stomach miraines, stroke-like migraines, migraine with aura, migraine without aura. 

If someone ever tells you they have a migraine, take it a bit seriously. The agony of one, is much worse than a headache.

“I was diagnosed with Migraine’s at 18 years old and am now 41. The first time I experienced an attack was the worst thing ever, I thought I was having a stroke as I had numbness and pins and needles down one side of my body and my head was throbbing, I was so scared and ended up at my local hospital as an emergency. I was told it was a migraine and prescribed some medication. I continued to suffer from severe attacks on and off over the years and tried many different medications and treatments with very little success. I was studying at college in 1997 and the attacks became worse causing me to take a lot of time off. I decided to make an appointment at the National Migraine Clinic in London which was the best thing I could have done, I met with a Headache Specialist who tried me on different medications and suggested I may not be absorbing the tablets so thought injections maybe better, this was a relief as the attacks would disappear quicker and stopped the nausea as well. A result, something that would work but very painful to administer and bruised me. I am still looking for a preventative treatment that will work but due to having an unstable neck from another condition it makes them difficult to manage.  Migraine’s have a big impact on my life but as they are invisible makes it difficult to explain to people.” – Emma, My EDS Journey

Top Tips for Migraine Sufferers:

  • Don’t leave them! – Seek medical attention if you are getting constant migraines. They are not something you should have to live with. 
  • Food can be a trigger! – You may feel better after a piece of chocolate or a coffee. But these can be withdrawal migraines. Our brain tricks us sometimes as a migraine sufferer. It tells you “Oh you haven’t had a coffee in a while, here is a headache which mimics your migraines”. Then you believe having a coffee will sort it out. Nope! It may seem like it’s helping but try to figure out your food triggers.
  • Create a sleep schedule. – Sometimes our brains are deprived of sleep, so migraines can act as an alarm…a sleep alarm! Try going to bed a few hours earlier than normal. And it’s okay if you’re awake for a while, you’re training your body! It’ll learn soon!
  • Stop listening to what others say! – I know it’s easier said than done, but you’re adding on toxicity and stress, which can lead to more migraines. Make a priority list. What stress can you handle or have to right now? And try to downsize the ones that aren’t near the top!
  • Keeping a migraine journal is a good idea! This is also good if you have a fear of “white coats” as doctors can then simply, look in this journal and can pinpoint triggers, what type of migraines they are and more! Also make notes about any family history of Migraine or headache. If we don’t know about family history, find someone in the family to ask.

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