I would rather have called in sick, but with too much to do and stress at off-the-chart levels in the office, it didn’t seem a smart thing to do.
So why am I writing about this on Friday and not Thursday, when the migraine was in full throttle? Simple. I couldn’t. I tried, but staring at a computer was fucking brutal. Same with looking at a smartphone, or watching TV. My neck hurt. My eyes hurt. Everything hurt.
Let’s clarify something, migraines aren’t just headaches, they’re considered a neurological disease characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms.
In simpler terms, your head feels like it’s in a vise grip and you may experience elevated heart rate, blood pressure, fatigue, lightheadedness, feeling faint or passing out, weakness and/or cognitive impairment (e.g., impaired thinking and memory) at the same time.
In even simpler terms, it sucks donkey balls.
I’ll only speak for myself, but I think others who get migraines may agree, the damn things are debilitating.
A migraine amplifies EVERYTHING I see, hear, smell and touch. Even something like perfume and cologne will smell absolutely putrid and intensify the pain. I want to go home, draw the blinds and lay in bed in the dark. Dark and quiet are the operative words here. No lights, no TV, no laptop, no nothin.’ The senses are already on overload, it’s time to quiet them down.
If I throw up while on a migraine, I get black spots before my eyes. Those spots are called auras. Once that happens, I can’t drive, I can’t walk a straight line, I can’t even stand up straight.
Migraines can be hereditary or caused by triggers. Some of my triggers are milk chocolate, red wine and stress. If I do eat chocolate, it’s usually dark chocolate. I don’t drink red wine at all – there’s no point, I love it, but the feeling’s not mutual. Even a few sips and I’m done for. And stress is dealt with by exercise.
I do have one trigger I have zero control over – and one of the big reasons I watch weather forecasts – my migraines are triggered by changes in barometric pressure. When a low pressure system starts to swoop in – meaning a big weather change, like rain or snow, it means my head will start booming, just like it did yesterday.
To compound the issue, I’m an introvert. I’m already drained by too much human interaction and sound and smell. A migraine in an introvert is salt in an open wound.
My favorite part of having a migraine is working for bosses who don’t believe they’re real. Damn right they’re real and they really fucking fuck up a day.
Yes, I’ve gone to the doctor and while I’d like to get at the root cause, they want to prescribe drugs. Not even they know exactly what causes them and why some people respond to certain triggers and others don’t. After much trial and error, I’ve found this works pretty well for me: Drink a cup of coffee, take an Advil Migraine, put a pack of ice on the back of my neck and lie down. It may not completely stop a migraine, but it at least allows me to function at about 80 percent.
I’ve had the damn things for more than 30 years, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. All I can do is get quiet as possible, and ride the damn thing out.