I created this post as part of a campaign by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I received an American Express gift card for participating.
I’ve mentioned my migraines in the past, but I’ve never really talked about my life with migraines. Why? Probably because I don’t like to dwell on them. Migraines take enough of my time offline, I haven’t really wanted them to take my online time as well. However, I have decided to share some of my life with migraines to hopefully help others understand what can be involved so that you may empathize with any migraine sufferers in your life.
Migraine: More than just a headache
If you aren’t one of the 36 million Americans suffering from migraines, you may not understand how it feels. You might even think that it is “just a headache.” While migraines do cause pain in your head, they are far from being “just a headache.” How so? A migraine can have numerous symptoms and these symptoms can vary from one migraine sufferer to the next. Strange, huh?
Common symptoms are pain on one or both sides of your head, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound or smells. Personally, I usually get pain on one side of my head and sensitivity to light and smells.
What causes my migraines?
My migraines can be caused by
- changes in the weather (bonus: I can sometimes predict when it will rain or snow)
- hormonal changes (the week of my period is filled with migraines)
- certain smells (pumping gas can bring one on, and perfume is out of the question)
- not eating on schedule (and you thought “hangry” was bad)
- drinking alcohol (wine and beer seem to be the worst culprits so I usually stick to hard liquor)
What does my migraine life look like?
I have what are known as chronic migraines. I used to get 3-4 migraines per week (yep, that was per WEEK). More recently, I have been able to get them down to 1-2 migraines per week and I occasionally even have a week with no migraines.
If I don’t take something to abort a migraine, it usually will last about 4-24 hours (some people can have them up to 72 hours). During this time, I lay in bed with a mask over my eyes to block out the light, and I am really not fun to be around.
Since I work on a computer, I can’t work when I have a migraine. This has caused me issues with holding down a steady job. It is difficult to work around a migraine and I’ve often had to take way too many days off of work when dealing with migraines. Unfortunately, migraines are not yet considered a disability, so this is not an option for me.
In addition to my inability to work with a migraine, I miss out on a lot of life. I’ve missed birthday parties, holiday celebrations, and nights out with my husband.
Fortunately, I have a husband and family that understand my migraines and what my migraine life is like. Not everyone is so understanding, and not all migraine sufferers are as lucky as I am to have people who understand. If you know someone who suffers from migraines, or you think you may have them, find out more information and see how migraines are more than just a headache.