It’s me, back with one of the most personal posts I have ever shared on the internet.
It’s no secret that I have been living with daily headaches and chronic migraines. I have often shared my struggles with balancing life and work with the constant pain. I still don’t have any answers and I may never receive them but I thought I’d share my story because I know that I am not the only one struggling.
I can remember having headaches as a pre-teen but they never lasted that long. My junior year in high school was when my headaches started to become a routine problem but I was able to take an ibprofen and be fine to go about my day.
My mom, sister, and I got into a car accident that same year. My head went through the passenger side window and I still can’t remember the accident. I have a brief memory of waking up in the ambulance but I mostly just remember waking up at the hospital.
After the car accident, I continued to have headaches but they started to get a little stronger. I also started to get migraines that made me sick to my stomach. Senior year was when they became an almost constant problem. My eyesight started getting blurry and it was painful to wake up in the morning. My brain felt like it was pressing up against my skull at all times.
College was when I started to see a neurologist. My headaches had become constant and I was getting migraines a couple of times per month. I was living in the noisy dorms and trying to balance 5 classes, a part-time job, and a minimal social life. It was not how I imagined college to be. For the first time, I was prescribed something for the pain. We discovered early on that I have a bad reaction to most of the commonly used medicines for headache pain. My stomach could not seem to handle it.
I went to London and hoped for the best. My headaches followed me and I spent more time then I want to admit in bed with the blankets covering my eyes. I had to say no to experiences with my friends and missed many of our lunch time adventures. I vowed to make a change when I got home. I didn’t want to keep missing out on things due to my headaches.
Not much changed when I got home and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment where my headaches started to rule over me. I needed to take ibprofen three times a day in order to function. My head hurt the worst in the morning when I first woke up and at night when I was trying to sleep. The pain would wake me up from a deep sleep. I started to become dependent on ibprofen because it was the only thing that made me feel normal, if only for a few hours.
Now I understand that my constant intake of ibprofen actually began to cause rebound headaches. My body became dependent on it and it made my headaches even worse. I actually felt like I couldn’t function without it. But what was I to do? I was a full time student and almost full time employee at a job where I couldn’t just call off work if I didn’t feel well. It was a never ending cycle.
I graduated in April 2016 and began looking for a full time job in my field. I spent a lot of time in bed in between working and applying for jobs. I was exhausted and didn’t take care of myself. I stopped taking the preventative medicine that my doctor had given to me because it wasn’t working and I felt hopeless.
Fast forward to me accepting my current position and being thrown into a field that I I knew very little about. I thought that college had prepared me for a corporate job but I was very wrong and very out of my element. I was depressed and sick. I started seeing my neurologist again and we discussed the lifestyle changes that I would need to make in order to start feeling better.
It’s been a year and a half and very little progress has been made. I have a headache every single day and am almost constantly nauseous. I struggled a lot in the beginning of my career because the pain made me feel really self conscious and I didn’t want my new co-workers to know my problems. But now they know and understand that sometimes I need to sit in my corner quietly and just work. I try to miss as few days as possible at work but my boss is very understanding if I need to take a break.
So, that’s where I am at. Many years and no answers. I should mention that my mom and grandma both have these headaches so the doctors know that it is genetic. I am also consulting a neurologist when taking medications. It is very important to speak to a medical professional when taking any sort of medication.
I am trying to stay hopeful that my neurologist will find something to help me. At my last visit we discussed trying physical and massage therapy. I start physical therapy this week and am super hopeful that it will help! And now you know that if I ever go a long time without blogging it is most likely due to having a bad headache week.
Let me know if you have any recommendations! I might write a post on all my tips and tricks for dealing with headaches or migraines.
Thanks so much for reading!
Image via Unsplash
18 thoughts on “My Migraine Story”
Gosh that sounds terrible! I’m so sorry!!! I wish I had tips to help you but fortunately I haven’t had migraines in a long time. Normally exercise is the one thing that will make me feel better whenever I’m I’ll or have a headache, but I don’t know if that will work for someone like you with a genetic illness. I do hope you find something!
Thank you! I am praying that physical therapy will help and I will be able to start feeling a bit better. It’s such a frustrating feeling to not be able to figure out how to make myself feel better. Exercise helps me too! It usually relieves some of the pain 🙂
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Thank you for sharing your story. I have dealt with migraines throughout my life and not many in my life understand what it is like to live with them.
My story is different, but having suffered through my fair share of migraines, I can honestly say that I am sorry that you deal with this pain daily and I hope that you find some kind of treatment to be able to live a happy, healthy, normal life.
I started getting migraines when I was in the first grade. I would turn ghostly pale, experience blurry vision, and have a pounding that would rock my entire skull. Eventually I would fall asleep, wake up to the need to throw up, and then feel better. I never experienced them for longer than a day. I would get one every few months until high school when I was going to school from 7:30 till 3 on top of working a job, doing homework, having a social life, and extracurriculars. The lack of sleep, classroom lights & sunlight, and stress all contributed to getting migraines once a month or so. Since all of my migraines seemed to me isolated incidents, I had discovered a system that worked pretty well for me. When the blurry vision started I would take ibuprofen or excedrin (I find excedrin works wayyy better than ibuprofen), find the darkest, coldest, and quietest place, place ice packs or frozen bags of veggies around my head to numb it, and then do my damndest to fall asleep. I can usually sleep them off if I am able to get the medicine in my system and get to a dark place right after the blurry vision starts. When I started college, I started getting them more frequently and talked to a doctor about medication. I don’t remember what she gave me, but I too didn’t react well to it. I avoided pulling all-nighters, tried to get 8 hours of sleep, not procrastinate (ha!)… basically just do whatever I could to get sleep and limit stress. It didn’t really work. I told most of my good friends, coworkers, and roommates just so they would be aware if I needed help or to be alone or whatever. My senior of college was the worst. I have only gotten consecutive migraines once and it was Hell, so I can honestly say that you are an inspiration to me that you live with this condition. So all of that to say (and not rub in, I swear!) that I have not had a migraine since graduating college. A year of no migraines. Really crazy, but amazing. I’m thinking my migraines were genuinely stress induced, so eliminating school and just focusing on my work and marriage has helped tremendously.
This sounds kind of stupid, but you have a friend in me. If you ever need to vent or complain or cry about your migraines, I will listen. You are so strong to still be out there living. I would have given up if I was where you are!
Thanks so much for the amazing comment! It’s a terrible thing to go through but it is nice to know that someone can relate. I’m so sorry that you have felt this pain too! Thank you for sharing your story with me. It really means a lot to me!
I can agree with you that sleep and lots of ice can work wonders! I’m so glad you were able to find a system that works for you and that you figured out your triggers! That’s a HUGE accomplishment and one that I know I really struggle with. You give me hope that things will get better! 🙂
I really enjoyed reading your blog this afternoon. It looks like we have a lot in common! Thanks so much for reaching out! I hope that we can be friends too! 🙂
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Yes! Talking with someone who understands what you’ve gone through is so helpful. And thank you so much that is so kind. Of course we can be friends, I practically feel like we already are! 🙂
Hey Hayley! I had severe headaches when I was going through Anxiety and to be honest, medications did not seem to do anything at all. What fixed my headaches was acupuncture! I know putting needles in your head sounds scary but it doesn’t hurt at all. I would recommend talking to an acupuncturist and working out a treatment plan. You don’t have to stop taking medications but just try it along with your regular treatment. It really helped me. I took 8 treatments in total, once every week. I hope it works for you too.
That’s awesome! I definitely have acupuncture on my list of treatments to try. I started physical therapy yesterday and they showed me how to do some stretches and exercises to not only help my headaches but also help increase my range of motion in my neck. I think that these new techniques will help me create some lifestyle changes. I think acupuncture will be next on my list! I’ve also been researching chiropractic and massage therapy techniques. I’m pretty much willing to try anything at this point! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with acupuncture! 🙂
No problem. I hope it helps. Try it along with your physical therapy. I feel like all treatments together have much more affect than each one alone.
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Yes! I am excited to try! 🙂 I
Hi Hayley! I’m so sorry to hear about the car accident you got into- I’m so glad you’re okay ❤ This post hit close to home for me because I've also suffered from migraines and terrible headaches for as long as I can remember. I try my best to stay away from painkillers but the pain is sometimes so bad that I just NEED to. The worst part about my migraines is the fact that I can't focus, it's especially hard when you're a student because you have to study all the time! My doctor suggested Excedrin Migraine and it has helped me a lot! It works much faster than any painkiller I've taken in the past. Hope this helps 🙂
Thanks so much! I’m sorry to hear that you also suffer from this terrible pain 😦 It’s no fun at all. Excedrin is a great suggestion! I always keep a bottle in my purse. The thing I like about Excedrin is that there’s caffeine in it. When I get a really bad headache or migraine I first try to drink some caffeine and electrolyte water. Caffeine usually helps me. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment ❤