Migraines, I believe originate from the very pit of hell. For the folks reading this that have already drawn the conclusion that I am exaggerating and so are the many people who suffer from migraines, I will give a scientific explanation first. Then I will free flow and give my description, something a little more relatable, to paint a clearer picture of a migraine for you.
Migraine headaches are mainly classified in two ways, chronic or episodic. Chronic migraines occur approximately 15 times or more a month, whereas episodic migraines occur four to 14 days a month. Migraine is a headache that may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and possible sensitivity to noise and smell. This type of headache and symptoms can last anywhere from four to 72 hours with additional symptoms long after the headache has stopped.
Ok, now that I have gotten the scientific knowledge out there, let me give you a personal description of what a migraine feels like and what it does to me. However, let me say this, everyone that suffers from migraines may not suffer the way I suffer. Migraines are specific to the individual and each persons triggers, symptoms, and tolerance are their own.
I experienced my first migraine in the seventh grade. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in Biology class preparing to dissect my frog, which I was very much looking forward too. I remember my vision becoming dark. Almost like someone turned the dimmer switch down on the lights. Then I began to experience tunnel vision. I could visibly see multiple rings in my line of vision, my peripheral vision was completely gone, and then complete blindness. I began to feel nauseous and began to vomit.
The pain was on one side of my head and it was awful! The pain felt like someone was attempting to split my skull open with a pickaxe. Let’s not forget to mention vomiting with such a force that it reminds me of The Exorcist. Then there are other little things like extreme sensitivity to smell, light, and noise. The only thing that gives me any relief, is being left completely alone, in the dark, quiet, and cold.
I remember one migraine, I had to drive to pick up a family member from the train station. The pain was so intense I had to lay down on the kitchen floor which was ceramic tile and very cool to the touch. After resting on the floor for a few minutes I grabbed about two, one gallon zip-lock bags. I remember filling up those bags with vomit on the way home and was told I tried to jump out of the car while it was moving. I guess that was because of delirium. Thank goodness someone else was driving the car at that moment…
My migraines sometimes try to be sneaky and present themselves as various other types of headaches such as a tension or sinus headache. The truth is the majority of my headaches end up being migraines. My migraines last anywhere from a few hours to two or three days and often end with a trip to the emergency room for injections. The latter days of my migraine cycle act as a migraine hangover or the remnants of the migraine.
No matter how many or how few migraines a person experiences, one thing is for sure… everyone’s experience is their own. Everyones pain is their own. It’s up to the individual to be mindful of their triggers and avoid them at all cost. Migraine sufferer’s are survivors.