Since I can remember, I have suffered migraines. There are different types of migraines and the effects on people vary but if you have suffered one or a thousand, you will not forget the pain. Today, I have a migraine. I tried to think of something else to blog about but all I can think of is the pain. Please bear with me while I sort through my thoughts.
Sometimes I can feel a migraine coming but other times it hits me like a ton of bricks. I actually visualize a cartoon in which a piano is dropped from a multi-level building onto some poor schmuck’s head. Of course, I am the poor schmuck. Without fail, at least twice a month, sometimes as many as ten, I am knocked flat.
Functioning with a migraine has been a chore. Especially when the children were younger. How can you tell a two year old to please be quiet because each time they open their mouth it feels like a million jackhammers are having a party in your skull? You can’t and it is not the child’s fault. They have done nothing wrong.
There are many symptoms to migraines but not everyone has them all. For some reason, I have had all of them at least a few times in my life.
1. Aura – a sensation, as of lights or a current of warm or cold air, preceding an attack of migraine or epilepsy. This can also happen during a migraine.
2. Pain – the pain from a migraine is described usually by pain focused in one section of the head. Often this is misdiagnosed as a sinus headache or a tension headache. It is also possible to suffer a migraine simultaneously with one of those listed prior. I like to call that the double-whammy.
3. Nausea – Nausea and vomiting can be a sign that a migraine is nearly over or just beginning. It can also happen many times in between but that is just my experience.
4. Low tolerance – some suffers report a low tolerance to light, smell and sound.
5. Circulatory problems – Doctors say a migraine is related to changes in circulation. This can cause side effect such as blotchy skin, change of heart rate, feeling feverish even though you do not have a fever, watery eyes and runny nose. The last two are attributed to activation of a nerve cluster in your sinuses.
6. Gastrointestinal – migraines can cause diarrhea, constipation, or cramps. Your stomach may even become paralyzed (gastroparesis), making oral painkillers ineffective.
7. Behavioral – Because of the pain, you may feel irritable. There is also a chance you lose the ability to function properly, confusion, and passiveness. On the flip-side, you may also experience a burst of energy, creativity or euphoria.
I recall being no more than four years old, laying on the floor of the bathroom, waiting for the nausea to pass. I wanted to cry but as any migraine sufferer knows, crying only makes it worse. I try to not take anything because the side effects to the medicine are sometimes worse. I limit myself to Excedrin and only when I can bear no more pain.
But, as I listed above, there is a flip-side to it. As the pain begins to ebb and the nausea rolls away, my mind goes crazy. Some of my very best writing comes after a migraine. There is a history of a link between migraine suffers and creativity. Does that mean you must suffer migraines to be creative? No but I do believe it has given me something I might not have had otherwise.
Plus, I am still during and after a migraine which is something very hard for me to be otherwise. In that stillness, I can hear God.
Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth.
I love this passage. Most people think to be still means to not move. That may be so but the true meaning in this passage is to cause yourself to let go or to cause yourself to become weak. In effect, you allow yourself to be at the mercy of God.
Guess what? My head feels better. Thanks for listening to me talk my way through it today.
Peace, love and God’s will.