Coping, Mental Health

The Physical & Mental Roller Coaster of Chronic Migraine

Sometimes you don’t hear from me for awhile because I’m in a horrible spell of migraine attacks. Other times it is because the migraines have let up enough that I’m racing around, trying to accomplish everything that falls to the wayside when the migraines overtake me. I continue to expect the migraines — and thus my life — will even out. Silly me.

The last week of April I had a cold, a mouth full of cold sores, and storm-triggered migraines. A down week. Last week I felt great even though I discovered I had an indomethacin-induced ulcer. The migraines were mild and I had a ton of energy. I went to the dentist, the doctor, yoga and physical therapy, had coffee with an old friend, got a magnesium infusion, cleaned the house, hosted a Cinco de Mayo party, was swamped with TheraSpecs work, and more I won’t bore you with. I was exhausted by the end of each day, but woke up the next morning ready to go. Clearly an up week taking loops at high speeds. This week I’m struggling to keep my head up through severe migraines. And the roller coaster plunges back down.

Maybe I’m now paying for overexerting last week. Or maybe this is a new week with unrelated migraine triggers. The amount of time I spend second-guessing my health-related decisions is dramatically less than it was, say, a year ago. Still it feels like far too much time and energy. Balance continues to elude me. Not just in deciding how much to do and when to rest, but also in how I think about migraine and my role (if any) in exacerbating the illness.

In theory I know migraine is a disease and I am not at fault for having it. In practice, though, when “stress” is a commonly cited trigger for an illness, the patient is inherently blamed for worsening their own health. So I always wonder what I did wrong and what I can change next time.

I’m stuck on a ride I can’t get off of even though I didn’t want to be on it in the first place. I never did like roller coasters, but am willing to make the most of the ride since I’m already here. If only I could figure when to throw my arms in the air and scream with joy and when to hunker down and hold on tight.

6 thoughts on “The Physical & Mental Roller Coaster of Chronic Migraine”

  1. Life with migraine is definitely a roller coaster. I can relate to how you are feeling for sure. It’s hard to balance life with the extreme highs and lows; terrible pain one day can lift and leave no trace the next day. People blame triggers, and I get that…but sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason.

    1. Laura: I’m sorry you’re suffering so much. Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you find the blog helpful.

      Lisa: You’re too good to me! I’m so glad you’re hopeful for finding treatment. You really do have many options.

      Shelby: I’m with you about no rhyme or reason. I search and search for possible triggers, but often can’t find anything obvious… unless the answer is _everything_ is a trigger, which I won’t accept.


  2. I agree with Laura! You are not alone. It’s funny to because every time I have just one day (or a string of days if I’m lucky!) without head pain feeling like my old self, I begin to doubt that the pain was ever real. I wonder what all the fuss has been for. I have only been going through this for a few months, not as long as you, and there’s hope of finding an effective treatment, but I do really appreciate your blog and very much relate to everything you say. I can tell you’re a strong person and you learn from your experiences. I’m so appreciative that you share them. Much love!

  3. As I read your stories above, wow can I ever relate to nearly ever one of them. I don’t wish these feelings upon anyone but it is nice to know there are others who suffer the same. I always knew it was not made up pain but reassurance is nice. Hope you get feeling better. Take care. Cheers!

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