This is a reader-submitted story.
1. My diagnosis is: chronic daily headache with migraine
2. My migraine attack frequency is: 40+ per month
3. I was diagnosed in: 2002
4. My comorbid conditions include: anxiety, PTSD (rape survivor!), and depression.
5. I take anti-seizure medication daily and abortive medication 2-3 times a week.
6. My first migraine attack was: 2001
7. My most disabling migraine symptoms are: the preventative lifestyle. I am always responding to the way I feel, adapting my routine, re-planning, strategizing.
8. My strangest migraine symptoms are: clumsiness and spaciness. I become inept, the migraine comes, I realize “oh, that’s why…”
9. My biggest migraine triggers are: weather, sleep, stress.
10. I know a migraine attack is coming on when: I get an earache, extra light sensitive, extremely sleepy, or I realize I’ve been behaving in a confused/bizarre manner. Sometimes the pain comes on and the first thing I truly realize is that I’ve become frustrated, snippy, or hard on myself…and THEN that I’ve been pushing aside thoughts of pain for the past hour.
11. The most frustrating part about having a migraine attack is: it can wipe out entire days, with our without medication. (I often go without imitrex as an abortive because of the hit or miss nature of my dose–I still try to tune my pain out to the point that I often miss taking medication early enough–and because it renders me fairly weak and exhausted for up to 48 hours.)
12. During a migraine attack, I worry most about: the things I should be doing while I am dealing with pain and whether I am an incredible, unpleasant burden on my loved ones for being in such raw agony all the time.
13. When I think about migraine between attacks, I think: Exploit every single pain-free second to the maximum.
14. When I tell someone I have migraine, the response is usually: Oh no!
15. When someone tells me they have migraine, I think: Do you realize that this is the equivalent of someone with a splinter talking about their experience with trauma to someone with a pole sticking out of their head? Is it really so hard to do a quick google and make a few lifestyle adjustments? Shouldn’t you be telling this to a doctor? What makes you think I want to talk about pain when I’m trying to get away from pain?
16. When I see commercials about migraine treatments, I think: Here’s another money-hungry drug company.
17. My best coping tools are: medication, meditation, physical activity and creativity.
18. I find comfort in: confiding in my loved ones and writing.
19. I get angry when people say: “have you tried xyz?”
20. I like it when people say: “Thank you for sharing that with me.” Or, “How are you feeling lately?”
21. Something kind someone can do for me during a migraine attack is: tell me it’s okay to be in pain and offer options.
22. The best thing(s) a doctor has ever said to me about migraine is: “You will live with this condition for the rest of your life.”
23. The hardest thing to accept about having migraine is: You cannot truly control it. If you try to, it will control you.
24. Migraine has taught me: “Give yourself three hours, then try again.”
25. The quotation, motto, mantra, or scripture that gets me through an attack is: The entirety of Buffy.
26. If I could go back to the early days of my diagnosis, I would tell myself: This is your new reality. Never let other people dictate how you feel about your pain. Pursue every avenue of support you need and never apologize for it.
27. The people who support me most are: my boyfriend, my best friend, and my parents.
28. The thing I most wish people understood about migraine is: the pain is severe, sure, but it’s far harder to deal with the constancy and unpredictability in planning the day-to-day and beyond.
29. Migraine and Headache Awareness Month is important to me because: Support from friends and family can make a HUGE difference in the life of someone with chronic pain.
30. One more thing I’d like to say about life with migraine is: Migraines are an unpredictable variable that can turn the most tried and true formula into utter nonsense. Unless you’ve done the math yourself, you can never really hope to understand–and that’s okay. I still love you.
Reader-submitted stories solely represent the personal point of view, experience, and opinion of the author, not of The Daily Headache or Kerrie Smyres. Follow this link to learn how to share YOUR 30 Things about living with a headache disorder.