Handling Anger and Resentment: Migraine Awareness Month #27 (#MHAM)

Some days, I wake up with a migraine, live with it (irritably) all day, and go to bed with it. It escalates throughout the day, ramping up from a three or four on a ten-point severity scale to a seven or eight by nightfall. By the time I get my infant son to sleep and can finally crawl into bed myself, all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry.

On those days, it’s hard not to feel resentful and angry.

This isn’t what I expected from my life. I didn’t expect to be limited by a genetic disease that means I can’t enjoy the hot, sunny summers of my youth; work at a stressful but fulfilling, high-pressure job under fluorescent lights; or make concrete plans two weeks or two months into the future without worrying that I’ll have to cancel at the last moment.

I never imagined that I would miss feeding my son his first foods because I had to lie down in a dark room, or that I wouldn’t be able to supervise my daughter’s class field trips because I couldn’t promise I’d feel well enough to attend. I never thought I would elect not to go to medical school because I knew I’d never survive the 36-hour shifts in a brightly lit hospital that my internship would surely require.

I didn’t expect to feel so powerless so much of the time, but I do.

All these things  I never would have expected, all these scenarios I never could have imagined – they happened. And, they keep happening every day. This is my life. But, I continuously remind myself that this disease is only a part of my life.

Yes, I have migraines – an unpredictable, ever-changing, invisible illness that steals many, many precious moments of my life, moments I can never get back. But, I also have a wonderful family that challenges me and brings me more joy than I ever could have hoped for; a career I love; friends who support me; and a warm, comforting place to call home.

All in all, I’m very blessed – even with migraine disease. Keeping sight of that fact helps me stay positive and banish any anger or resentment I may occasionally feel.

What about you? What do you do to feel better and stay positive?

For more tips on how to handle the anger, resentment, grief, and loneliness of living with migraine, check out my new book: “Finding Happiness with Migraines:  A Do-It-Yourself Guide.”

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

Finding Happiness with Migraines

Living with migraine disease isn’t only about dealing with pain, nausea, fatigue, and other physical symptoms. It’s also about handling the accompanying emotional and mental challenges.

In my new e-book, Finding Happiness with Migraines: A Do-It-Yourself Guide, I offer tips on how to create a daily life filled with joy, appreciation, and confidence – even in the midst of a migraine. Readers will learn:

  • Which yoga poses can help with a migraine attack;
  • Why you should throw away your daily migraine journal;
  • How do-it-yourself therapy can create positive change;
  • Techniques to connect with your body and intuition; and
  • How to fight the fear, isolation, and anger that so often accompany the disease.

I’m excited to finally have the opportunity to share the wisdom and insights I’ve gleaned from six years of chronic, often “intractable” migraine. I hope you find it worthwhile! The book is available on both Kindle and Nook, or as a PDF. Find out more here: http://www.absolutelovepublishing.com/Happiness_with_Migraines.html.


Early Second Trimester Migraines

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about chronic migraines and pregnancy in which I expressed my hopes that my migraines would get better as I entered the second trimester. So far, those hopes have not been realized. In fact, my migraines have been worse in the past two weeks than over the past two months combined. And, it seems I’m not alone.

Many of the pregnant women on the Whattoexpect.com forums who are (like me) due in October report suffering from debilitating migraines. Often reported statistics indicate that 50 to 90% of women with migraines experience an improvement in their migraine frequency and pain levels during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Apparently, neither I nor the other women in my forum group are included in this majority.

I have not had the chance to ask the other women who are reporting problems if they suffer from migraine with or without aura. Evidence seems to suggest that women without aura tend to do better in pregnancy than women with aura. Based on this findings, I (a chronic migraineur with aura) had expected to see little to no improvement in my condition over the course of my pregnancy. But, of course, that didn’t keep me from hoping.

Now that I’m in the fourth month of pregnancy and the early part of my second trimester, that hope is starting to wane.

Known as the “planning trimester,” months four through six are supposed to be the best months of pregnancy. The months in which you have the most energy and can really prepare for the baby’s arrival. The months in which you finish up any outstanding projects (like the book I’m supposed to be writing and the thesis that’s due in just a few weeks). The second trimester is when you’re supposed to do all the prepping and planning that you were too sick to do in the first trimester and that you’ll be too tired and too big to do in the third.

While I have managed to put together our baby registry and figure out what baby proofing items we need to buy from my bed, I certainly don’t feel up to finishing my projects, renewing my exercise routine, or preparing a nursery. (Heck, I can’t even clean my bathroom, despite that fact that every venture beyond the bathroom door leaves me in a slight state of disgust.) In short, I’m so tired and suffering from so much pain that most days all I want to do is bang my head against the wall, sleep, and cry.

To the other women out there who are suffering from the same thing: my heart goes out to you. Hopefully, better weeks and months are yet to come. For now, I’ll be crossing my fingers and hoping that the energy boost I’ve been promised will come by month five at the latest.

Coping (or Not) without Medication

I’m about at the end of my rope.

For the past three weeks, I’ve had a migraine almost every single day. If it’s not there when I get up in the morning, it’s there by 3 p.m. By 6, I can barely eat dinner with my family. All I want to do is crawl in bed and sleep. But, I can’t.

Even if I’m able to make it to bed (instead of trying to power through one more project), the pain is too intense to sleep. So, I watch a dimly lit movie or TV show on my iPad (very quietly), until I get exhausted enough to fall asleep in spite of the pain.

I can’t read. I can’t spend time with my husband or my daughter. I can’t think. I can’t do anything, except survive the migraine and hope it’s gone by the time I wake up.

I’m trying to stay grateful. What I’m experiencing now isn’t as bad as what I went through in 2008. I don’t have one every day, and it’s not a constant level 7. But, I fear it’s getting there. The migraines are coming closer together, and I’m terrified that I’ll be locked in that old cycle once again.

Worse, because my husband and I are still trying to have a baby, there’s little the doctors will do to help. It’s been almost a year since I went off birth control and quit most of my migraine medications, and we’re not pregnant yet. If the doctors won’t help now, how will I possibly make it through the months of pregnancy and breastfeeding – whenever they finally arrive?

I feel like I’ve tried everything, but there must be some medications or treatments out there that have passed me by. Does anyone have any suggestions? I haven’t tried Midrin, though I’ve heard there’s a manufacturer down here in Texas who is making an equivalent now. Have any of you tried it? Did any of you take it while you were trying to conceive?