History

When I started this blog, I meant to write about my Constant Stabbing Headache on the “About My Life with a Headache” page, but somehow I never got around to it. In fact, I only got as far as the age of 7 in the supposed story of my life. Let’s see how far I can get today.

I suffered from migraines for most of my life without understanding that they were more than pain. I noticed a lot of strange symptoms, and I thought they were connected to the headache, but I misunderstood the relationship. Things would look weird. Noise bothered me. The light was in my eyes. Suddenly I was worrying obsessively over nothing, or horribly anxious for 15 minutes, or one side of my head was tingling, or one whole side of my body felt weak. My neck hurt and felt stiff. Then I would get a headache, which I believed was caused by the other symptoms, or my reaction to them. I thought I was probably mentally “weak” or crazy, and stressing out about what had just happened to me mentally or physically was giving me a headache. I really believed this! I thought I had a personality disorder and headaches, and if I could just control my weak-minded self, I wouldn’t get the headaches.

This is like the idea of a “migraine personality,” so I guess I didn’t think it up all by myself, but I definitely never discussed migraines with any doctor. Why admit I was crazy? My mom and my aunt both got migraines, so I knew what to do: lie down in the dark with a cold washrag on my face. Neither one of them ever spoke about any other symptoms. I was the only nutcase.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I got my first visual disturbance that seemed real and not just insane. For about half an hour there was a blank spot in the middle of my vision. I was at work and couldn’t see what I needed to see on my computer screen. I thought I was going blind. Since my employer required a written doctor’s excuse for being sick for even a minute, I didn’t mention to anyone that I was blind, but as soon as I could see a little bit I got up out of my chair, went to the phone, and called an optometrist (they’re eye doctors, right?) to make an appointment. Of course I got in trouble for this because you were not allowed to leave your chair or make phone calls. Then I got a horrific headache, which I assumed was from the stress of going blind, breaking rules, and getting in trouble.

It was the optometrist who explained to me that the visual disturbance was a symptom of migraine. It didn’t cause a migraine, it was a migraine. I think he must have been the one who told me about food triggers, because for a long time after that I wouldn’t eat swiss cheese, since that’s what I had had for lunch that day!

I can see why I never finished telling this story, it’s too long. Maybe I’ll write the rest later. It’s cold and gloomy here, but I think a nice dog-walk is in order. Bye bye.

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