Opinion: It’s more than just a headache

The truth about migraines

Imagine a pressure so painful that it feels like your skull is being pierced by a metal rod. The slightest bit of light that shines across your eyes feels blinding and an echo in your head makes it feel like it’s spiraling out of control. Then picture someone telling you that you’re overreacting and to get over it. The assumption that migraines are bad headaches needs to stop and people need to be more aware of the true severity of migraines.

Many confuse the two. Migraines are far more painful than headaches, as they are more debilitating. According to MayoClinic, there are four stages to a migraine:

  • Prodrome: Warning for the upcoming migraine.
  • Aura: Visual disturbances that may occur.
  • Attack: The pain begins.
  • Postdrome: Pain ends, and you may feel tired.

Once the migraine settles in, you begin to feel irritable. The pain becomes progressively severe, sometimes lasting for hours. At times, many may feel so nauseated to the point of vomiting. Although vomiting may help for a brief moment, the pain still lingers and may even feel worse. Sensitivity to light increases, causing your eyes to sore as if there are millions of needles poking at it. Then, your vision starts to blur.

Migraines may even occur at random times. You can be out enjoying your daily activities and then suddenly, your day gets ruined by a migraine. Then of course, it puts you in a bad mood. At times, it can affect the people that you live with or surround you. Some may tell you to lighten up and that you’re over exaggerating but they don’t understand how you actually feel. It is bothersome to be told that “It’s not a big deal” or to “Calm down and relax.” Some people should just keep their thoughts to themselves because they will never truly know what it feels like until they actually experience a migraine attack. It can cause people to feel like a burden.

My own migraine attacks occur at least four times a month and last for hours. It’s been this way for three years now and it’s the worst during the menstrual cycle. Everyone tells me to take over the counter medicine like Advil or Tylenol, but it never works for me. It’s just not strong enough to ease the symptoms. So, I went to the doctor and received a prescription for Sumatriptan which helps prevent an attack. In order for the medicine to work, it must be taken as soon as you feel the early symptoms of a migraine. It will make you feel a bit fatigued, but for me, it’s better than experiencing a migraine.

I have come to terms with the fact that I might be living with these painful migraines for the rest of my life, but I am learning ways to deal with the situation. However, that does not include accepting people’s hurtful comments. It’s important that people are educated about migraines and that people who experience them feel validated in what they are going through rather than dismissed by the people in their lives.

For more information about migraines and what they feel like, Excedrin has a video on the migraine experience.