how do migraines make you feel?

// my story how migraines have affected my life //

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Migraines affect about 37 million people; they are very intrusive in one’s daily life. Some people would say, migraines aren’t fatal, so it can’t be that bad. However, I’ll beg to differ. I’ve suffered from migraines since I was in the 6th grade. I would never wish migraines on anyone, because it’s pain like you can’t even imagine. I’d like to consider myself a hardworking person, but anytime I have a migraine, I have to stop whatever I’m doing. It’s the kind of pain that makes me cry, but I know that only makes my head feel worse and fighting against crying turns into this cycle that doesn’t stop. All I want to do is sleep when they come on, but my ears won’t stop ringing. I keep my eyes shut because the lights are too bright and piercing.

One of the hardest parts about migraines is that each person has a different experience. When I was reading different symptoms, one was food cravings, and I was so surprised. One of the main symptoms I get is nauseous to the extent of getting sick from them. If I even smell food, I will likely get sick. It was hard when I was living in a dorm my first two years of college, because when I would get sick from these migraines, I could feel that people probably just figured I had a hangover. There are so many factors that play into each of my migraines that I physically and mentally cannot function when I get them, and that stresses me out even more.

A few summers ago I woke up with a small headache, drove to work, and hoped that if I drank water fast enough, since I was probably dehydrated, hopefully it wouldn’t get worse. I sat at my desk, and less than 2o minutes later, I couldn’t even see. I was supposed to be coding this company’s website, and I could not focus my eyes enough to even look at the screen. I remember turning off the fluorescent lights above me hoping that would at least ease the pain, but my mind was so loud I knew it would be impossible to concentrate. I was in so much pain I had to go home. I crawled into my bed and made my room as dark as possible.

Over the years I’ve had multiple MRI’s for my migraines, because this pain just doesn’t make sense. The MRI’s have never specifically helped me figure out the cause, but when I first got an MRI in middle school it eased the pain a little bit. I was sure that something was wrong with my head for how much pain it caused me and I had to know for sure that I wasn’t “sick sick.” There obviously could be much worse illnesses to have, but the sad thing is that I think most people wouldn’t consider migraines an illness, but I do because I’ve had these since I was 11 years old and I likely will for the rest of my life, and so will many other people.

Say you haven’t suffered from migraines yourself, but the chances are high that someone in your life does suffer from them that you care about. I want people to understand better what migraines are and what they feel like. I want to help people know how to help their loved ones when they are suffering from migraines, because the most reassuring thing is to have support around you, and not questioning your pain, but just physically being there for the person suffering from them. I can’t begin to explain how comforting it is, coming home from campus upset that I’m having another migraine, and my roommates are there for me asking if I need water, or tea or an ice pack. Just those simple acts of kindness and being there changes my mood even if it can’t change my pain.

So again, why migraines? Because it’s something that has always been in my life, and in many others, as well, and I want to help people understand and be there for each other.

Thank you, Devan

"It’s the kind of pain that makes me cry, but I know that only makes my head feel worse and fighting against crying turns into this cycle that doesn’t stop."