I was recently interviewed by an online magazine for Migraine Awareness Month, but alas, I was edited out of the article, so I decided to post what I wrote here since I put so much effort into my answers. It's so hard for me to write things with my migraines that I didn't want it to go to waste.
"My migraine pain is an intense pounding headache, and bright lights or loud noises seem to make it hurt more. I frequently have aura, where I see squiggle lines in my vision. Plus there are other things like blurred vision, stiff neck, loss of concentration, etc....My first migraine was terrifying because I had no idea how much my head could hurt. My migraines started when I began going through early perimenopause.
I've tried most of the medicines associated with migraines, but none of it has really helped. I've also tried acupuncture, massage, Botox, and herbal remedies. Recently, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and my doctors seem to think that is causing my migraines, so they are trying a cpap machine with mixed results. The silliest thing I've done is stand with my head in the freezer because cold seems to make my head feel better.
I think that I've learned to take better care of my overall health because of my migraines. Pain makes you more present in your life. Instead of being depressed about the things I can't do, I've learned to explore the things that I can do. Like I had to give up chocolate because it was a migraine trigger for me. I loved chocolate dearly, but then I have discovered so many other wonderful treats that I would have never tried, if I were still eating just chocolate.
Before my migraines, I used to write fiction, but the constant pain chased that type of expression out of my head with all the varied symptoms. I was still looking for a way to express myself creatively when I found collage which led to doodling which led to learning how to draw. For some reason, when I draw, the pain seems backs off. I think it accesses some other part of the brain. So without my migraines, I would have never learned this love of trying to make art.
Dealing with headaches and migraines in the workplace at any age can be challenging. My own tips include always keeping my medication close by, keeping a list of affirmations in my drawer, using breaks to listen to meditation or guided imagery on my IPod, and drinking chamomile tea to stay calm. I always tell myself that "I do what I can and no more than that, each and every day."