Nat S Ford (natf) wrote,
Nat S Ford

What a really bad one feels like to me...

This is oh so true and beautifully written. I rarely (thankfully!) get these really bad ones myself since being given propranolol for vestibular migraines, but it still pisses me off when someone with a bad HEADACHE will say they have a MIGRAINE. NO. NOT the same thing at ALL!

Originally posted by umbralin at What a really bad one feels like to me...

My psychologist asked me to write something about my migraines. The text below just sort of happened when I sat down in front of the computer. I figured I should post it here because I'm sure some of you might have similar experiences. And some of you might have completely different ones. I feel like I should label this text with all kinds of warnings. It might be upsetting to read. I know it was upsetting to write. I don't get migraines like these very often, though. Most of the time the triptans do their work pretty well.

The first sign that it’s bad is that the nausea starts feeling more concrete. It’s not just this vague feeling, but a knowing that I’ll start throwing up soon.

The pain gets worse. There’s a throbbing all over, and one part of my head that’s worse, usually just above and behind the right temple. Then there’s a sharp spike of pain. And when it recedes, the background pain is a little worse than it was before. And then the next spike comes. And the next one. At some point I start feeling like it just couldn’t get any worse than this. But it always does.

Whenever I move it feels like the pain gets shaken around. But I can’t lie still either. Lying still makes the pain collect in one place. Moving makes it go somewhere else at least for a while. But when I move it also hurts more. It’s a constant conflict. Move or stay still?

Lying down also makes the pain worse. But I’m too tired to sit up. Sometimes I get up and walk around for a little while. I walk slowly, steadily, trying to find that perfect balance between moving and keeping my head still. I can’t keep my eyes open, so I use the carpet for reference. As long as I can feel the carpet under my feet I know I won’t hit anything.

I throw up a lot. It’s important to feel it coming, because I have to make it to the bathroom. I’m not in any shape to clean up a mess. You move very violently when you throw up and the pain that comes after that is indescribable. I have to make sure to drink a little after every time, because if my stomach is empty the next time, I’ll just keep retching. If nothing comes up, it doesn’t stop for a long time.

I keep watching the clock. How long has this gone on? How much time is left? Will this be the usual 20 hour migraine? Or will it be one of the few ones that ends earlier? Or will it be the one that just doesn’t end?

What did I do to cause this? Did I keep on going even though I knew I should go to bed? Did I take the medicine to late? I shouldn’t have stayed until that lecture ended, I should just have left. I shouldn’t have stayed up so late last night.

When the nausea finally passes, the real hell begins. It doesn’t seem possible but the pain gets worse. I can’t think rationally any more. My thoughts are full of “No” and “Ouch” and “I can’t stand this”. I pray to gods I don’t believe in to make it stop. I’m prepared to promise anything, give away anything just to make the pain go away.

And then I know that it won’t go away. I have to cancel my plans for tomorrow. For next week. It’ll be like this for the rest of my life. I don’t want to live like this. I wish I could just fall asleep and never wake up again. There’s still a part of me that knows this is migraine/depression thoughts, but it’s fading rapidly.

My body starts disappearing. It starts with my fingers and my toes. It feels like my body ends at the wrists and the ankles. The feeling slowly creeps upwards. My awareness is shackled to my head and it feels like everything else ceases to exist. At it’s worst the feeling comes up to my chest.

Eventually the pain gets so bad, I can’t fight it anymore. I can’t care about tomorrow. I can’t remember that there has been a time when I haven’t felt like this. I don’t understand that there will be a time when I won’t feel like this anymore. Trying to focus on anything but the pain seems pointless. There is nothing but pain. The rest of me doesn’t exist any longer. There’s no point fighting it anymore. All I can do is surrender to the pain.

This is when all thoughts disappear. All emotions disappear. The world outside doesn’t exist any longer. I don’t exist any longer. There is only pain. I am pain.

My concept of time is gone. There’s no past, no future. The only thing that exists is this moment. And it’s endless. This is Hell. Endless torment. And everybody knows that if you end up in hell you did something to deserve it.

What happens next I don’t really know. Maybe I pass out. Maybe the pain eventually lifts a little bit. Slowly I become aware that something has shifted. I’m able to think again. Time means something again. I will get better. It’s a long process though. About 10 hours, usually, before I can say I’m relatively pain free. But on rare occasions it takes days. But at least in this stage I can sleep.

When I was younger I could wake up the following morning with a sense of relief and happiness because the pain was gone. Nowadays I’m just tired. I’m sad and exhausted. My whole body hurts from lying still for so long and there’s an empty feeling in my head where the pain used to be.

It sometimes takes several days to get back to my normal life. And in those days I might have a couple of milder migraine attacks to complicate things.
Tags: link, migraine, pain, repost

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