Its been going on for weeks now. Every day feels like an attack from one side or the other. Just when I think there will be one calm day with somewhat reasonable expectations of me, then I get hit again.
The tangled mass of vibrant colors shooting out of the head makes visual the struggle to explain the traumatized mind. Surviving each day is challenging enough, but then we face trying to describe the sensation to others.
Burning stress, piercing hurt, and crushing fear Pile on, forming a jagged mountain of pain. Then, a feather lands atop with a whisper of breath. Giant boulders crash down, roaring like a freight train. The taste of blood in my throat, a migraine of molten lava, And my heart, pounding out of my chest, beating in my ears. The breaking point smoulders from holding it in too long.
So many things are passed on to our children including some of our most significant struggles. What a joy it is to see the positive aspects of family traits reflected in our children and what a devastating reality it is to see them struggle with pain. My youngest daughter has migraines. She got them from me. My mom and my maternal grandmother both had migraines, and I suspect this genetic condition goes back many generations more than any of us know.
Today, after missing another school day, my sweet daughter is in bed with her head on an ice pack and her room as dark as can be in the middle of the day. I know exactly how she feels, yet I am powerless to end her pain. It was just after she was born that my migraines became chronic and, ultimately, intractable. She knows what her future could hold, and it both scares her and makes her sad.
Another journey is at hand because we must find a way to control/prevent my daughter’s migraine attacks before they take over her life. I’m so sorry little one. It is part of who we are, but I won’t let it overtake you.
This picture symbolizes how I feel today and all of last week with a non-stop migraine. I’ve been out of order but still trying to function. Every task requires so much more effort. I make so many mistakes that take even more time to go back and correct. The pain has subsided – for now, but I am thoroughly exhausted.
My body feels heavy and weak. My brain feels like it is swimming in soggy oatmeal, and my thoughts are slow and shallow. When I talk, many words are forgotten, slurred, or mispronounced. I make no sense, and I recognize the look on my children’s faces. They are worried, scared, and try to help me, all the while warning me not to do too much. “We don’t want your migraines to get any worse,” they say.
Chronic migraine hurts, and it scares my children. The latest migraine attack is the first time in many months a migraine has lasted more than a day or two. I’m desperate for the end of this episode.
I say these things too often. “My head hurts,” is the most common saying for me, followed closely by “Can you close the blinds.” Other well-used sayings are, “What’s that smell?” and “Can’t someone else drive you?”
A series of flashcards with these sayings would come in handy on the days it hurts to speak. I could plaster them to the bedroom door and stay hidden in my silent, dark, and smell-free migraine cocoon.
I know for a fact that if I had a traditional “physical disease,” with outwardly visible symptoms, people in my life would be more understanding. For some reason, crippling depression, complex PTSD, and chronic migraine that not only offers blinding pain but impaired cognitive function are “all in my head,” and I should be able to “get over it.”
My family would not be embarrassed or disappointed in me because of my illnesses. My boss and co-workers may not have accused me of “faking it to get out of work,” and maybe I’d still have my job. But I don’t have a traditional “visible disease,” so I must work harder to heal and overcome the stigma others, with no concept of my ailments, place upon me.