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Kerrie’s Latest Post on Migraine.com: The Many Symptoms of Migraine

Migraine is far more than “just a headache.” Skin sensitivity, difficulty finding words, inability to concentrate, constipation, stuffy nose, and dizziness are but a few of the many symptoms of migraine. Check out my full article on Migraine.com, Migraine is More Than a Headache: The Many Symptoms of Migraine.

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I. Am. In. Hell.

Wow, I’m having a rough time of it. The weekend was terrific and this morning was OK, but I’m back to the same old migraine stuff today. My migraines are particularly bad when I’m trying to sleep.

Finding words was so difficult on Friday that it ceased to be amusing. The post office was the airport, the refrigerator was the washing machine and the furnace. I was annoyed with Hart because I felt like he was interrupting me; really it was that I couldn’t finish a sentence.

I’m easily frustrated, can’t make decisions and the littlest things upset me. I’m nauseated if I eat and nauseated if I don’t.

Some of these are symptoms of migraine, some of depression. I’m seeing my psychiatrist on May 1 and a new headache specialist on May 16. My motivation is so low that It was hard to get myself to make the appointments.

I’m sorry if I haven’t responded to your e-mail or comment yet. Not even being up to blogging makes it difficult. I plan to use any good time the next couple days responding to you and writing posts.

The silver lining is that I can no longer ignore how bad and frequent my migraines and headaches are. This may not sound like a good thing, but now I know that I need to try some other treatments.

I can’t even edit this post. I feel so lame.

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Cognitive Impairment & Other Strange Migraine Symptoms

Pain is an obvious symptom of migraine, but there’s so much more to migraine than the headache. Even the well-known symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes aura barely scratch the surface.

Right now I’m in the early stages of a migraine. Although I can feel the pain coming on, more frustrating is that I’m having trouble thinking, concentrating and finding words. I’m fatigued and thirsty. The black circles under my eyes have returned. Eating might make me feel better, but I’m nauseated, have no appetite and the smell of food turns my stomach.

My current symptoms are part of the many different migraine symptoms. I now know what to expect, but I was terrified when I first noticed all these strange feelings I had before and during a migraine. Cognitive impairment was by far the scariest (and it still frustrates me to no end).

My mind is so fuzzy that I can’t make sense of the rest of the post. I’ll return to the topic next week. In the meantime, here are some relevant links that I intend to use as support.

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Finding My Mind

My older sister, M, took a modeling class when she was 12 or 13, which commenced with a fashion show. On the way to the final event, my sister realized that she left her belt at home. Exasperated, our mom said, “M, where’s your head?” “On the floor in the closet,” M said, assuming that she was asking about the belt. That phrase is now part of our family lexicon. When one of us feels forgetful or spacey, we say, “My head must be on the floor in the closet.”

And I’m saying this a lot lately. I can’t seem to keep a thought in my head. I’m distracted easily and then can’t remember what I was talking about, the “right” word seems forever elusive, and I just don’t feel as sharp as I used to be.

The inability to think and find words are little-discussed symptoms of migraine. People with episodic migraines are likely to notice this during the peak and hangover (postdrome) stages of an episode. I see this pattern in myself during a “bad headache,” as I refer to my own migraine attacks. But I feel it the rest of the time too.

Is this a symptom of chronic daily headache/transformed migraine? Does the pain just distract my mind from other pursuits? Or is it simply that I’m not using my mind as intensely as I once did (like during grad school)? Maybe the answer is all of the above.

Last week I turned to Hart’s Nintendo DS for a solution. There’s Super Mario Brothers once in a while (I was a champ in middle and high school!), but mostly I play Brain Age and Big Brain Academy, which are designed for mental exercise. Both games have a series of tasks from different types of mental activity. Based on your performance, Brain Age assigns an age to your current mental level (my mind is currently 61) and Big Brain Academy gives you a brain weight and letter grade (I’m a C- student for the first time in my life). The idea is to practice regularly to reduce your score.

Once I was no longer demoralized by my age and grade, I totally got into it. (Is that video game parlance or what? Totally.) I haven’t tested myself in a few days, but have gotten progressively better on the practice exercises.

Already my self-confidence is boosted. I’ll probably never be as smart as a 22-year-old who is ensconced in academic journals and writing 25-page papers regularly, but I should be able to read something other than chick lit.

Knowing that there’s a part of my headaches that I can exert some control over is empowering. Trouble thinking is a symptom of migraine, but I don’t have to dig for my head among the shoes on the closet floor.