If you are a migraine sufferer, then you know — you know the secret world of silent suffering that is: chronic pain.
As senior columnist of the Huffington Post puts it, “It’s like you are trying to give birth through your forehead.” A comical spin on a very real splitting sensation.
Everyone’s expereince is different, but Mayo Clinic and Web MD both summarize the following common symptoms:
- Throbbing Pain
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Light/ Noise/ Smell Sensitivity
For me it can more descriptively be illustrated as, “Feeling like you’re on a tilt-a-whirl while someone holds you down and slams the left side of your head with a combination axe/sledge hammer.” This may sound dramatic, but … try to imagine studying, driving, teaching 3 year olds, and generally putting on a happy face for friends and loved ones when you feel this way.
How can I describe to you the unbearable challenge of trying to focus on a piece of writing or a fun outing with friends when it feels like a serrated knife is inching its way through your skull, through your brain, and then ever so subtly twisting.
If you’ve never experienced a migraine for yourself, then of course you have trouble appreciating just how debilitating of a condition this can be.
So here’s an attempt to explain:
When I say I’m having an ocular migraine it means some form of a visual disturbance before the migraine pain hits. Sometimes it occurs 15 or more hours ahead of time.. it’s hard to know the timing exactly. Sometimes it’s sensitivity to light, usually it’s decreased vision, and sometimes it’s twinkling lights. When this type of migraine begins it is on one side of my head– always the left for me– and it’s like a painful throbbing or pulsating. This pain will last anywhere from a few hours to 3 tortuous days.
Often times I experience transformed migraines to varying degrees. These migraines involve milder pain and are much more frequent. This migraine is accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and the throbbing pain– again usually my left side. Sometimes it feels a lot like a tension headache, amplified. Other times it feels like a tightness that just won’t let up.
My pain distorts my perception and often feels like an altered reality. No, it won’t kill me, but it severely affects the quality of my life. It’s not a simple headache! Those suck too, yes I get those regularly as well. But what I’m talking about is so much bigger. I know you don’t KNOW. But try to UNDERSTAND.
And most importantly, believe that I’m trying my best.