This is a reader-submitted story.
1. My diagnosis is: Chronic Migraine
2. My migraine attack frequency is: 3-6 a week (for last 2 months, 7 days a week for 5 months before that, and 15-20 a month before that for years… I do remember a time back in late 90s-early 2000s when I didn’t get as many. Not sure why I do now)
3. I was diagnosed in: 1995
4. My comorbid conditions include: Anxiety, sleep disorder, bruxism, Hypothyroidism
5. I take __12__ medications/supplements each day for prevention and _1-2__ medications/supplements to treat an acute attack
6. My first migraine attack was: in 1995 (under severe stress)
7. My most disabling migraine symptoms are: head exploding, vomiting, can walk/talk… too much pain. Light/sound sensitivity. Inability to think.
8. My strangest migraine symptoms are: daily migraines that seem to come on regardless of what I’m trying to do or not do. They just keep coming.
9. My biggest migraine triggers are: aged/fermented products. Wine, nitrates, smoke/smells, sunlight, grains/inflammatory foods, processed foods, sleep inconsistencies, too much coffee or not enough…
10. I know a migraine attack is coming on when: Sometimes I notice I can’t fully relax or drift in thought. I feel distracted and kind of confused. This is when I try and de-stress or use “distraction techniques” but doesn’t always work. Also, I get a “tinge” of pain in my forehead, like a sinus pain… 90% of the time it turns into a migraine.
11. The most frustrating part about having a migraine attack is: knowing another one is coming. That I can’t be myself, and that my life is almost unbearable. I feel like I’ll never get to be the person I want to be because I’m in survival mode. I’m currently on disability due to daily migraines, and now on botox with some relief. I feel like I’m loosing time with my children, and adding stress onto my husband.
12. During a migraine attack, I worry most about: loosing time and ability
13. When I think about migraine between attacks, I think: I don’t even say the word migraine as that might cause one.
14. When I tell someone I have migraine, the response is usually: Oh I hate headaches, have you tried “X, Y… Z” and I think… yes, I tried it. All of it!!!
15. When someone tells me they have migraine, I think: Wish I knew how to help them.
16. When I see commercials about migraine treatments, I think: Not my answer.
17. My best coping tools are: Don’t know that I have one. I’ve been using topical gel for neck pain that can sometimes help. Staying home now, and trying to work on self care. Also, I find that if I can “distract” myself, sometimes I don’t have to take as much meds. Eating or window shopping helps.
18. I find comfort in: hugs from my husband.
19. I get angry when people say: Do you know what’s causing them?
20. I like it when people say: How can I help you?
21. Something kind someone can do for me during a migraine attack is: Accept my moodiness and not get offended by my silence. Hold my hair if I’m sick. Rub my feet (hubby).
22. The best thing(s) a doctor has ever said to me about migraine is: I believe you.
23. The hardest thing to accept about having migraine is: I’m at the end of my rope in terms of figuring out why I’m getting them. I’ve seen too many doctors, and I seem to be going around in circles. Just when I think something might help… it doesn’t. I don’t want to be “that lady on disability” and I don’t want to live an insignificant life. I hate this pain, and I don’t know how to love myself when I’m hurting this much.
24. Migraine has taught me: To value the time when I’m not in pain. I’m not done fighting, and I am worth fighting for.
25. The quotation, motto, mantra, or scripture that gets me through an attack is: “I cried and cried out to you, and finally you heard me, finally you lifted me out of the pit and set my feet on solid ground and gave me a new song to sing” psalms 40
26. If I could go back to the early days of my diagnosis, I would tell myself: I don’t even know. I’ve got nothing helpful to tell myself.
27. The people who support me most are: my husband and kids
28. The thing I most wish people understood about migraine is: It feels like an invisible disease. I feel like people think I’m making up the pain, and I’m dying inside. If I knew how to stop having them, then I would do it/not do it. It’s incredibly frustrating, at times debilitating, and a life sucking condition.
29. Migraine and Headache Awareness Month is important to me because: Awareness of mans afflictions and pains are windows into our humanity. We all have pain, and the more we recognize this the more love we can give each other.
30. One more thing I’d like to say about life with migraine is: It’s not going to get the best of me. I will succeed in my efforts in life, and I will find an answer. As much as it makes me angry/sad/depressed it’s also not going to define me. I won’t let it.
Reader-submitted stories solely represent the personal point of view, experience, and opinion of the author, not of The Daily Headache or Kerrie Smyres.