My migraine is not your migraine…

I would like to emphasize something that is very true for me (and I suspect it’s true for you as well): from one migraine episode to another, my migraine changes.  There’s the pinching, bubble-headed migraine that usually seems to be triggered by neck pain.  There’s the left-sided, airhead-y, vice-like head pain that is a hallmark of menstrual-related migraine.  There’s the ghost-like sense of a migraine, the strange not-quite-right feeling that dips and recedes, threatening to set in as a full-fledged attack.  Sometimes I am sick to my stomach within an hour of the head pain setting in; other times I can suffer from a week-long attack and never feel nauseated.  Sometimes one glass of wine will trigger a migraine the following morning; other (very rare) times I can have a couple of whisky drinks and wake up the next day feeling like a million bucks.”

And I wear my sunglasses at nightSo I can so I canKeep track of the visions in my eyes

Interesting topic.

My migraines have changed significantly over time. Due to the fact when I was quite young the symptoms were very specific and the aura was mild but when I was older the persistent migraine aura has gotten quite intense and the vertigo as well has changed. Each migraine as well can be quite different from another… one quite worse with nausea or IBS-D, or with an intense visual aura, with different visual auras, or  significant vertigo, or a different pain intensity, type, both sides of the head, more fatigue, a short duration vs a status migraine, weather trigger vs the dreaded hormonal trigger, slow onset vs very rapid onset.

Also important to remember my migraine experience is different from other’s migraine experience. I may have had a lot of years of experience and have experienced episodic migraines and chronic, silent and pain, migraine with aura (but not migraine without)… but there are plenty of migraine types I have no experience with like HM for example and some people have suffered for longer than I, have different triggers, different experiences, different patterns, different treatments, different solutions, different stories. Their migraines are not my migraines. And my solutions are not theirs.

And we cannot make judgments about each other’s solutions  Always a good reminder. Also can’t minimize each other’s pain. I get that chronic migraine is horrific and difficult to manage when they get to that point… I live that story. But before my migraines went chronic, they were borderline chronic for a very long time and ill-managed… fluctuating from 10 to 15 regularly depending on the duration of the hormonal migraines. I was not really put on any effective preventative. Every third day I guess or more. Side effects to the few medications that were attempted drastically affected my studies and no medications was obviously not good. Just a triptan which could not cover them all… violently ill during the hormonal migraines at the time. Without a preventative… these migraines were all acute. It was crippling and I ended up having to take a break after my Masters because I was not able to manage my academic career; I mean I was able to succeed  just through a haze of pain, with a great deal of effort, and it did affect the quality of my work and my intention had been to just take a year off to get treatment. That, by the way, did not work because working full time turned out to be just the trigger needed to put me way over into full-time chronic migraines… well over… way over… and never ever got lower than 15 after that.

Point being I was still episodic while suffering as bad as I was at that time with these acute attacks, violent nausea vomiting, regular status migraines every month, blinding auras… borderline but episodic. And I would not say that meant in any way that I was suffering less .. I would say that it was vital that I should have been effectively treated given the frequency of my migraines in order to prevent just what happened.

I can think of slices of time and where my migraines were at and sure all those slices ended up to now. I can relate to a lot of people because they remind me of where I was at one time and that means if they get migraines three times a month I think that is just as important .. if not managed I know exactly what can happen. Every migraine is important. If they are managed then very good. I remember a time when mine were well managed as well and that was awesome (aside from the hormonal ones but they are a special case). When I was younger they were infrequent (20-25) and I used to just sleep or use triptans.

But some experiences I can’t relate to because I have not experienced them. Or some medications I have not been on. Or side effects I have not had. Or emotions I have not had. But every experience is valid. It is good to know when we share something on a forum to try and figure out what is going on… usually, someone else, or several, have actually experienced the same thing… less isolating. But no judgment if you get one migraine a year or thirty a month…. the disease comes in all forms, frequencies, and intensities.


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