Chronic Migraine, Coping, Mental Health

Frequent Migraines + Cold, Dreary Weather = Hibernation

I’ve had intermittent bouts of inexplicable sadness since I returned to Seattle after Christmas. Always worried I’m going to slip into a clinical depression, Hart and I watch closely for warning signs. How I’ve felt just doesn’t fit the profile, but I’m rarely sad without reason unless I’m depressed.

Could being cooped up in my house with migraine after migraine, and not seeing or talking to friends and family have something to do with the so-called inexplicable sadness? Hmm.

I’ve hidden from the cold, windy, rainy weather that’s descended upon Seattle. It seems colder and wetter than usual, but maybe I’m revising history. My scalp hurts when rain, even the slightest drizzle, hits it. Wind or extra-chilly air increase my head pain.

Yesterday was warm and sunny (that’s Seattle-speak for 50 degrees with a light wind, a sun-shaped glow behind the clouds and a few visible blue patches in the sky). My head wasn’t any better than it had been, but I was in such a great mood. I walked a couple miles, did some grocery shopping, went to two appointments and had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. That’s more than I did in any week in January!

I went into hibernation without even realizing it. Eventually sitting in front of the cozy fire became oppressive — the opposite of the comforting home it usually is. In the name of keeping warm and not exacerbating my head pain, I withdrew from the many activities that make my life good. I thought I was taking care of myself, but was making things worse.

I emerged into the world yesterday and it was glorious. The weather won’t hold, of course, but I hope the glimpse of sun will keep my new perspective in place.

2 thoughts on “Frequent Migraines + Cold, Dreary Weather = Hibernation”

  1. Okay, we are all going to Maui, that’s it. Would that I could get away! Being a Vancouverite, I know all about oppressive chilly rain and darkness. There’s hope for warmth soon, I think. I pulled some leaves off the garden today and noticed green things growing and that lifted my spirits a bit.

    I think it is very common for people with chronic pain to hibernate in the winter. It doesn’t seem like we have the energy to spare to push ourselves out into the cold. You probably were taking care of yourself the best you could.

  2. Hang in there, Kerrie. I know exactly how you feel. Denmark is not the most sunny place on earth in the wintertime either!!! My suggestion is to get a change of scenery…we just got back from a week in the sunny Alps and it did me a world of good. It lifted the gloom slowly but surely and allowed me to refuel in many ways. My suggestions is to take a short trip somewhere where you know it will be sunny…San Diego or Lake Tahoe maybe? I know there is a trade-off with having pain from traveling and I did suffer some, but the benefits from the sunshine, clear blue sky and fresh air far outweigh the suffering!

    Spring is right around the corner so hang on! I am!


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