I’ve been out of action for a little while now, suffering from yet another migraine – this has to be at least the fourth this year. It’s not quite gone yet but I’m so damn bored from taking it easy that I decided to put this together.
I work with computers so after getting home from work I’ve been staying away from backlit screens, good for the reading time but bad for blogging. The trouble with migraines is that you don’t know how long they’re going to last or how severe they’re going to get, I can’t afford to put my life on hold whenever one appears because I’ve known them to last weeks before. It’s all about controlling the symptoms for as long as possible to get your productive stuff done, then accepting that you’re not going to do everything you want until it’s over.
Migraines are fascinating things, they affect everyone differently but they kick all of our asses.I think I had my first ever when I was about 9 and they’ve stuck with me ever since, they’ve become a lot more frequent in the past few years and I haven’t found a way to avoid them yet but I have got a whole range of tactics for when one does crop up.
WHAT IT’S LIKE
- Irritation – I get soooo angry for no reason whatsoever, this one happens first so I know to grab the paracetamol, turn off the lights and sit my ass down until it’s over.
- Photosensitivity – sweet jeebus, the light hurts my eyes. When someone switches on the light when I’m in hiding, I can actually feel a sledgehammer being thrown around inside my head.
- Nausea – great fun this one. It’s like being travel sick, but the journey never ends.
- Clumsiness a.k.a. ‘The Dropsies’ – my hands go a little bit numb and I start dropping things or knocking things over.
- Aphasia a.k.a. ‘I can’t word, I gots the dumb’ – I lose words, forget what I’m saying and keep coming out with really funny spoonerisms when my words get squished together (my favourite recently was ‘spamci’ instead of ‘scampi’). It’s scary as shit when this happens but the key is to stay calm: it. will. pass.
- ‘The Vague’ – I struggle to keep track of conversations and everything else in general.
- Smells are too ‘loud’, sounds are too ‘bright’ and lights are ‘nauseating’ – this one’s all kinds of messed up.
- The headache to end all headaches. Only recently have I heard of someone going to hospital with a migraine and suddenly I feel like a complete ass for never having considered this – can they actually treat it effectively?!
WHAT I DO ABOUT IT
- Hit the lights – just turn them off. All of them. Screens. Lamps. EVERYTHING.
- No running – sounds stupidly obvious, but I have tried exercise at the beginning of a migraine to see if the endorphins would help. Nuh uh. It doesn’t, it makes it so much worse.
- Solpadeine – my headache drug of choice, I start taking it as soon as I feel it coming on to keep the pain away. It also helps with the other symptoms, though the trade-off is that the codeine makes ‘the vague’ worse. Totally worth it, in my opinion!
- Don’t panic – most of these symptoms are terrifying and make you think you’re having a stroke or something even worse. Freaking out doesn’t help, it makes the aphasia and the pain worse, so just chill out and put your feet up.
- Eat well – there’s a load of theories about foods that help or exacerbate migraines, most of the theories are contradictory anyway. I avoid extra caffeine, grab some chocolate (the myth that chocolate triggers migraines has been disproved, so breathe easy), drink loads and make sure I eat plenty of healthy food.
- https://justgetflux.com/ – this is the best thing ever. It’s an app which changes the blue light on your computer screen according to the time of day, or in my case – removes the blue light from my screen 24/7. It’s the best thing ever!
Of course, I would say ‘sleep’ too but if you can sleep when you have a migraine…. I’m jealous! I tend to stick an audiobook on low and just ride it out.
If you’re a migraine sufferer, I’d be really interested to know how it affects you and how you cope- we all need to stick together and share any strategies that work! I’m currently trying green tea as a homeopathic remedy, it tastes of wet sprouts and doesn’t seem to be doing anything for me but it’s worth a go!