Silent Pain: How I Live With Chronic Migraines
We all have bad days. Days where we feel like not getting up in the morning. Sometimes life just feels like an intolerable grind of endless nine to five cycles. Wake up. Work. Sleep. Repeat. And while this is already pretty rough in itself, why not throw in headaches that reverberate through your skull? This is what a bad day feels like for me. A splitting headache on top of everything else that’s going on in the world, a world that won’t stop regardless of how I feel that day.
Start of My Migraines
I started having migraines during my second year of college. I’d been pulling all-nighters to have all my papers in for the following day. To do this I would have roughly around 3-4 cups of coffee per night. Then one day I woke up with a splitting headache that I felt at the back of my eyes and the base of my neck. I’ve been having them constantly since then, with varying degrees of severity. Later in life, I would find out that having that too much coffee daily could have started my migraines. I read this study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health that details how drinking three or more caffeinated drinks in a single day could trigger migraines.
I’ve since tried to reduce the amount of caffeine I consume, limiting it to two cups per day (I would quit caffeine but am also quite dependent on it at this point) but this has only seemed to lessen the occurrences to a semi-manageable level. However, some days are still quite unbearable with the pain sometimes being so crippling that I’m no longer able to function until the migraine ceases.
Aside from lessening my coffee intake, I’ve also tried a couple of home remedies. From my personal experience, staying hydrated helped lessen the occurrences and the severity of my migraines. While this wasn’t a permanent solution, it helped make them a little more manageable. However, things changed when I started working for a tech startup. The startup culture is fast-paced, meaning I was put into more high-stress situations causing more occasional and serious flare-ups.
This was the point where I finally gave in and decided to seek actual treatment for my migraines. You might be thinking “if your migraines were so serious, why only ask for help now?”
Well, to put it simply I just felt that hospitals had more important things to do than just manage my headaches. I did some digging and found that Maryville University estimates a shortage of primary care physicians by 2025, and even though we’re still five years off I can already observe its effects in our area. Hospitals are strapped of resources and manpower and I really didn’t want them to waste time and effort on my headaches.
However, I know now that what I’m feeling is valid and needs the appropriate medical attention. If you ever feel like you’re overreacting to your symptoms try to get past this and get help as soon as possible. Migraines are a serious matter. Developments in the study of migraines, as detailed by the Food and Drug Administration include using medicine that targets the root of the pain. This makes me hopeful that someday I may finally be free from this affliction. Until then, I’ll take it day by day knowing that I’m doing all I can to live despite all of the things that hold me back.
I decided to write about my experiences with migraines after reading Rita’s article on her experience. Give it a read if this helped you at all, as I found comfort in the fact that I was not alone.
By Hailey Williams
Author bio: Hailey Williams lives with her two dogs Ray and Billie. When she’s not working she enjoys being outside and going on hikes. Her other interests include Sudoku, sci-fi movies, and tabletop games.