Sometimes it really doesn't surprise me when I get a migraine. Lately I've had so many different lists going on in my head in any one day, and so I know my body sometimes throws me the migraine curveball to FORCE me to slow the heck down!
I have suffered with migraines since I was just 9 years old.
I remember my first one so clearly.
We were visiting friends in Sydney and were sitting on the beach at Avalon (which, is actually the beach where Home & Away is filmed) and I told my parents that I all of a sudden couldn't see and felt kind of funny.
Photo from here I can still recall the disappointment in their voices when it dawned on them that their migraines hadn't managed to skip me either (my brother got his first one at 12 and both our parents had them when they were young too).
But, unlike the rest of my family, I never grew out of mine. It has actually been quite the opposite, as mine have gotten worse over time.
Other than the usual food triggers (chocolate, cheese, wine, citrus, yoghurt), my migraines seem to be hormonally & environmentally linked, which doesn't bode well for pregnancy/breast-feeding and all the other joys of being a woman.
Healthline have released a list of 14 common migraine triggers, which is definitely worth a read.
There is the usual chocolate, cheese, red wine yada yada, but also some unusual ones that a lot of people don't consider. I get ones with humidity, when I'm hungry (hence stopping the Fast Diet), stressed, and get the heightened sensitivity to smells and noises when I have one. I need to research and test out the prescence of aspartame and MSG in my diet and whether this may be a trigger for me too, as it seems lots of people have reported a link. Head over to Healthline to have a read of this article.
Stages of migraines
I get the classic type of migraine, and no, it is NOT a headache. It is the kind of trauma that only other migraineurs understand, and a pain I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
Mine start out with what they call the "aura" in which I start having skewed vision. This develops into flickering, in which a whole section of my vision is distorted and sometimes my vision is completed blocked in one part of my eye. There is a horrible youtube clip here that shows perfectly what happens to my vision, but warning, if you are a migraineur, don't watch!).
The next stage is then the numbness and tingling. This one is horrible. One side of my body goes through what the doctors can only describe to me as being a minor stroke. I lose strength and feeling down one side of upper body (down to one eye, half my lips and half my nose) and it can take an hour to return to normal.
I don't get much nausea thankfully, and so then I am just left with the most intense headache imaginable. It feels like there's a brick resting precariously on a marble in my head that needs to be kept level. As soon as I slightly move my head, the brick shifts and causes the most insane pouding.
The headache last two days and each and every time I feel like my body has gone through such a traumatic experience and is a brand new pain each time.
The only big thing that helps druing these times is a quiet and dark space. And a WONDERFUL neighbour. I turned up on Jasmina's door last week, Maddie crying, me crying, and she just took Madeleine into her arms and let me go and rest. I went straight to bed, still crying, but this time because I was just so greatful to have such a kind and compassionate friend living in my building.
But the other thing that makes me feel a tiny bit better is resting with my special eye pillow that is filled with peppermint and lavender. Peppermint is known to help with migraine prevention and treatment and lavender is just so calming in those horrible times.
Gosh, I didn't mean for this to be a "poor me" kind of post, but I just wanted to explain a little more about what happens when I'm out of action for a few days and feeling sore and sorry for myself and hopefully learn some new coping techniques.
I would love to hear from any other migraineurs what works for you or what you do to endure these times? Do you have any unusual triggers that other migraine sufferers should look out for??