This is a reader-submitted story.
1. My diagnosis is: I was originally diagnosed with daily headaches that progressed to chronic that has now changed to transformed migraines
2. My migraine attack frequency is: 1-2 a month, lasting 7-10 days
3. I was diagnosed in: late 1991, early 1992
4. My comorbid conditions include: CKD, and Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia
5. I take 5 medications/supplements each day for prevention and 3 medications/supplements to treat an acute attack
6. My first migraine attack was: while I was pregnant with my son
7. My most disabling migraine symptoms are: light, sounds, ringing in my ears, being off balance, being cold.
8. My strangest migraine symptoms are: being cold but wanting the fan on, light and sound but wanting the TV on, I turn into a mole, nobody sees me for days.
9. My biggest migraine triggers are: weather, not eating regularly, allergies, stress.
10. I know a migraine attack is coming on when: my left ear will hurt, I start to yawn a lot, I feel tired with no energy, and sometimes my body will ache.
11. The most frustrating part about having a migraine attack is: not knowing when it will end, if the medication will work or how much you will need to take, and being alone.
12. During a migraine attack, I worry most about: my job, my salary, how I’m going to pay my bills, will I have money for gas and groceries (single income)
13. When I think about migraine between attacks, I think: will these ever end, I want to be normal again, why do I always have to hurt, why can’t my boss/employer understand what I go through.
14. When I tell someone I have migraine, the response is usually: I’m sorry or I hear crickets. I usually don’t share I have migraines because of the stigma.
15. When someone tells me they have migraine, I think: I’m so sorry you have to go through this; I understand what you are going through. I try to share with them the different resources I use for support and any advocacy work I do to help others.
16. When I see commercials about migraine treatments, I think: how they just help to portray the stigma that we all work so hard to avoid. I wish someone would do a commercial that would do the migraine community justice!
17. My best coping tools are: I’m not sure how to answer this one… help?
18. I find comfort in: knowing I’m not alone in this fight.
19. I get angry when people say: you were out again so we had to go to blank to give us the information, we didn’t know when you’d be back in the office. We can’t always wait for you to come back into the office when you’re not feeling well. Or the “how are you feeling” when you know that they are just asking to ask.
20. I like it when people say: You look good today, you look happy and that outfit looks good, it’s a nice color on you.
21. Something kind someone can do for me during a migraine attack is: Make sure I’ve got something to eat and drink in my house since I live alone.
22. The best thing(s) a doctor has ever said to me about migraine is: I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about you abusing your medication.
23. The hardest thing to accept about having migraine is: You can’t do what you use to be able to do.
24. Migraine has taught me: Not take life for granted and how important your health is.
25. The quotation, motto, mantra, or scripture that gets me through an attack is: Love all, Trust a few, Do wrong to none. Shakespeare
26. If I could go back to the early days of my diagnosis, I would tell myself: Take better care of yourself and I’d start yoga and meditation sooner, and be outdoors more than I am now.
27. The people who support me most are: I don’t know how to answer this one either.
28. The thing I most wish people understood about migraine is: It’s not a choice, its real!
29. Migraine and Headache Awareness Month is important to me because: It gives me a chance to bring awareness to others and not sound like I’m preaching about migraines out of the blue.
30. One more thing I’d like to say about life with migraine is: Just because you cannot see us hurting does not mean we are not in pain. That does not mean you can cause us more pain by saying mean things to us, we have enough to deal with. We are not drug addicts despite what some people may think, so do not accuse us of that; that cuts us to the quick. Yes, we do need to take pain medications, but that does not mean we abuse them. Stop and think about the words you are going to say to someone with an invisible illness before you say them, it can be a difference of them choosing to keep fighting or giving up and hurting themselves. It is not a choice, it is not our choice, please remember that. May we all continue to share peace, joy, love and serenity even in the times we are experiencing our pain.
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.