Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Living With Migraines


Migraines are the bane of my life. They have affected both my everyday life and also my academic life. I wanted to share a blog post today of my experience with them and how I cope when I get them. I think it is important to be aware of migraine attacks and understanding of people who get them. An estimated 1 in 4 women will have at least one migraine in their lives, migraines being the 6th most disabling illness in the world. Migraines are an invisible illness and can have a huge impact on quality of life.

I'll start with my experience. I never suffered with migraines as a child, I used to get bad headaches but nothing that stopped me from carrying out my usual daily life. Fast forward to when I was 17, I started getting migraines. In the earlier days of my migraines I had "mild symptoms" meaning I had the pain in my eyes and I would see an aurora but after a few hours of laying down and taking extra strong paracetamol I could usually recover. Don't get me wrong they were still very painful but I could usually sleep them off and be fine. Over the next year they gradually became worse. I remember my first extreme migraine very vividly. I had come back from the Reading festival and I had a college induction day. I went in even though I could feel a slight pain in my right eye which I shouldn't have ignored. I sat through the next few hours with the pain slowly spreading and becoming more intense. As soon as I got home that night I was badly sick and couldn't even walk. I was struggling to see and I can honestly say it was at that point the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life. After this I decided to go to the doctors where they prescribed me some extra strong painkillers that I later discovered when having my next migraine done nothing for me. I kept going back to the doctors and eventually was prescribed some pills that would work but only if I took them as soon as I felt slight pain in my head.

I think the scariest thing about migraines is that the cause and reasoning for them is still unknown, it makes sense for scientists to not have found an actual cure for them as my doctor explained. So I started university and before this point I was perhaps experiencing migraines once every two months. They were unbearably painful but I was thankful they were not so frequent. Of course they had to get worse though. I started getting them monthly and then started getting them every two weeks. It was at this point it really started affecting me academically and impacting my daily life. It was my first year at uni and settling in was hard enough let alone having this illness. It got so bad that I had to have a meeting with tutors about my poor attendance, it was at this point I discovered migraines are classified as a disability and the university could offer me support with them. I ended up missing my end of year exam because of a 3 day long migraine and had to retake it a few weeks later (I passed and achieved my target grade yay!). I'm now also given extra time in exams and for assignments if I need it. 

It's now second year and yes I still get them. From September this year to mid November I was getting them twice a week (I really don't know why, I'm just thankful I haven't had one in a few weeks). The pain is unbearable and the symptoms that come with it are awful but I am learning to deal with them. I think it is important to understand migraines and accept that they are an invisible illness. So many have said "oh you get migraines, so like a bad headache?". To break it down, have you ever had a "bad headache" that has caused you to violently throw up, impair your vision, pass out from the pain, prevent you from walking and hindering you from thinking straight for the next few days? In my opinion more research needs to go into migraines and I think more awareness is needed to get over this notion that migraines are just "bad headaches".

Tips:

I've had them for a few years and because of this I have a come up with a few little tips to help migraine sufferers. There is no cure but these will help with the symptoms. 

This might be an obvious tip but really helps. As soon as I feel the pain coming on and I don't have my medication with me Anadin extra works wonders. If I have already got a full blown migraine it has little effect but if I take it as soon as I feel slight pain it can usually prevent it. I carry it everywhere!

When getting a migraine the obvious thing to do is lay down and sleep it off. For me I find sleeping on my side where the pain is eases it dramatically. For instance I usually feel the migraine on the right side of my face so laying to my right puts a little pressure on it and eases it a little.

Another tip that really helps is staying away from phones, laptops, TV's ect after you have had a migraine. I find screens can sometimes trigger my migraine again due to straining my eyes so after having one relax and stay away from screens! 

Don't force yourself to go to work, school ect if you feel yourself getting one. I have done this so many times and I really wished I had not. The majority of the time I would have to leave and end up making my self feel worse. Employers and schools recognise migraines as a disability and understand that you can't function properly when experiencing one. 

I know this isn't my usual fashion post but I really hope this gave insight to what it is like living with migraines and the tips help any suffers! If you have any extra tips let me know in the comments!

Shannon x

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31 comments:

  1. As I've gotten older, headaches for me have got a lot worse, especially at that time of the month. I think some could be described as a migraine, in that they've been really intense, and nothing seems to touch them, other than going to lie down. You've shared some good tips for migraine sufferers here. For bad headaches, I often use those cooling gel strips you can buy, they really help, and can be better than the pills for me x

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    1. Ohh I'll try the gel strips next time I get one! Thank you! X

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  2. I have suffered from migraines from about the age of 12, I was put on such high/strong doses of medication but nothing has worked. The longest I had a migraine was for over 14days - in bed, laying so still cos I felt so sick. It's to the point now, I don't need to see Doctors for medication to be prescribed but nothing works but I might next time I have one try laying on the side of the pain. It's such a pain but I never knew it was the 6th most disabling illness in the world, that's so high x

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    1. Ahh I am sorry to hear you get them too! Can't even begin to imagine what a 14 day one is like :( x

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  3. I've only ever had migraines when pregnant so can't imagine how awful they are to have them at any other point. My dad gets them really bad. I'm hoping mine don't become more frequent

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  4. My husband started to suffer with very bad migraines a few years ago. It is really scary how quickly the migraine takes over and he is ill for days! I will show this post, definitely some good tips, thank you for sharing , will definitely get him some anadin just in case!

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  5. It's good you have found a few tips that can help you a bit if you catch a migraine right as it is starting, they can be so terribly debilitating. Good on you for wanting to help raise the awareness about how difficult it truly is for people who suffer from migraines, that they do not simply have "bad headaches".

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  6. I get migraines too. I can tell when one is coming too. I start yawning a lot, feel cold and crave chocolate. I don't mean just wanting chocolate, I will actually go and eat 4 bars in one go. When i get one the only thing that works is to lie in a dark room with a kool n soothe strip

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  7. Hate migraines - I get headaches often but don't feel as bad as most. Just get a bit of nausea. Helpful to others though! x

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  8. I get really bad headaches but not enough to stop daily function. I know a young lady at church who gets them and she descried them the same way as you.

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  9. I only get them a few times a year if that but as you say, if you do feel one coming the worst thing you can do is force yourself to work, school etc x

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  10. I get daily migraines and they range in severity. Sometimes they are so bad that they make me physically sick. Sorry to hear that you get them too, so glad you are getting support from uni now, my friend got the same x

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  11. Migraines can be very debilitating. My aunt suffers from them and they really have affected her over the years and the doctors haven't been of much help.

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    1. The doctors can't do much since they don't even know the cause as I have discovered! :( x

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  12. I can't even begin to imagine how much pain and discomfort this must cause, I hope you find a cause or at least something to ease the pain x

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  13. I suffered with terrible migraines during pregnancy, they knocked me for six. Luckily they went when I had my baby but I agree that they need to be looked into further and not thought of as just a 'bad headache' x

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  14. I can't imagine what it's like living with migraines. I've had some awful headaches before, but I bet they don't even come close.

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  15. may sister suffers with migraines and they can be so disabling. I often get cluster headaches too

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  16. I occasionally get migraines so thanks for sharing your tips x

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  17. I have only had one migrane in my life and it was horrible! I hope to never have another one but if I do then your tips will come in handy so thanks for sharing! xx

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  18. I have never had a migraine, just bad headaches. But, my brother gets them and they are debilitating. I feel so sorry for anyone that suffers from them.

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  19. Feel your pain Hun, my mummy used to suffer with them when she was a child and they used to make her vomit. She found out that cheese triggered them, so now cuts it out. I hope they ease soon x

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  20. My friend used to really suffer with migraines. Although I get a lot of headaches I think I have only ever had one migraine. It was awful! Sorry you suffer with them!

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  21. This is such a helpful post if you suffer from migraines, I can't imagine how horrible it must be! Thankfully, I've really had one just a lot of headaches! xo

    http://rachelnicole.co.uk/

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  22. I get migraines quite regularly now. So uncomfortable.

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  23. As someone who suffers from chronic illnesses, you have my complete understanding and sypmathy. So many people never truly understand the pain with actual migraines, and often don't realise they are SO totally different to a bad headache. With it being invisible, I imagine some don't get how debilitating it is or even question if it's real. As a fellow spoonie I am sending lots of love. I am glad to hear you've had support with your studies.

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    1. Thank you so much! I do think there needs to be more awareness about chronic illnesses! X

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  24. I used to suffer horrifically from migraines, and realised it was during the week I was off my contraceptive pill. apparently my migraines were withdrawal symptoms from the hormones. I wouldn't wish migraines on anyone- they truly are horrible. x

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  25. Oh I can't imagine how awful that must be - I am so lucky to not suffer migraines!

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  26. I am a severe migraine sufferer, I can't even stop the pain at first sight of them. I get prescribed topirimate and sumatriptan for my migraines, still they don't work as well as they should although they do reduce the pain about 30%. I used to have 10 day plus migraines from as young as 7, I then started suffering from ones that lasted over a month meaning I couldn't do anything and then it dulled to a continuous pain all the time and a massive migraine attack every week. It really affected my life in such a bad way. Now I have to have 36 botox every three months in my head to try and battle the pain. It's been working for the first 6 weeks and then the next 6 weeks are back to normal, although to have them 6 weeks migraine free is absolutely amazing. I really hope your migraines settle soon xx

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