Migraine Journey Wednesday (Vol. 21 - Amanda)

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Hi everyone, I’m a 37 year old woman from Los Angles, California, USA. 

My Migraine History 

I may have had a few migraines when I was younger, but they really only started a few years ago. I was in graduate school at the time, sleep deprived and very stressed. I did not recognise the headaches as migraines at the time because the migraine sufferers I knew usually had to take days off work and couldn’t stop vomiting. 

When I had a terrible headache for five days, I knew something was going on. My migraines almost always occur in the summer and early fall, so my doctor thinks it may have something to do with my allergies. 

Sleep deprivation is always a trigger, and they also tend to happen around the time of ovulation or my menstrual period. I have found that certain fermented foods can cause migraines, particularly soft cheese like brie. The strangest trigger that I’ve identified is kimchi! 

Since being diagnosed with migraines, I realised that many of the strange visual disturbances I’ve had over the years have been associated with migraines. I consider myself lucky because my migraines have not been debilitating. The pain is rarely more than a 6 out of 10, and I get nauseas or dizzy but don’t throw up. Sometimes the worse episode I had involved extreme vertigo that left me unable to stand or move for half a day. No one in my family has issues with migraines to my knowledge. I started having them shortly after discontinuing valproic acid, which I was taking as a mood stabiliser for 10 years. 

The People Around Me 

It’s fascinating, but I think my cat particularly knows when I’m having a migraine, because he comes to sit on me when I’m in bed. 

The Effect of Migraines on My Life

I get frustrated that sometimes I may have to miss out on an activity, but a lot of the time I try to carry on as normal. I have been dealing with mental health issues since I was a child so I’m used to having a chronic condition. 

What I’ve Tried 

So far, Excedrin has gotten rid of my migraines or gotten them to a point where I am at least a little functional. Caffeine helps as well. I avoid trigger foods, try to get enough sleep, and keep my allergies under control in the fall. When I get light sensitive, I invert the colours on my work computer so the screen is black with white text. I also wear earplugs and sunglasses a lot to dull the noise and light when I am feeling extra sensitive. 

Days Things Get Unbearable 

I cope with days like these by staying home in my bedroom, drawing the curtains so it is as dark as possible, and just sit there with a cold towel on my face. 

Some Advice for my Fellow Migraineurs 

You are not alone, and you are very very brave. It’s not easy to live with a chronic condition. Don’t be afraid to let people know how you are feeling and ask for help when you need it.

Thank you, Amanda, for stepping forward to share your migraine journey with everyone. When you share your stories it not only helps others but you heal in the process too. 

If you would like to share your story and let your voice be heard like Amanda, you may do so here: bit.ly/2rJcpMR 

With love, the Migraine Buddy team 💜 

Healint Singapore