Headache Victory

The main difference for me between a migraine and a regular headache, aside from duration and funky drugged feeling, is that nothing except Excedrin Migraine will touch a migraine and I can’t drive after I’ve taken it until I’ve slept some, so, if I get a migraine at work, I just have to live with it. But a regular headache can be vanquished with regular old pain killers.

Mid-morning today I got a headache which was so terrible and painful that I was like “Another migraine?! What the fuck, week?” and I set my head in my hands to weep a little. At which point, I noticed that, if I pressed on my head, the pain stopped. Which meant this headache was not a migraine at all, but just a really bad regular headache, which could be vanquished by the shit in my purse.

And so it was!

I find migraines really fascinating, frankly, and would like to read some kind of popular science book on them. Because the one I had this week lasted for over three days. Only one of those days involved any pain, but I spent two and a half days being tired and yucky, while also feeling like everything just felt so awesome. The sun shining on me, it felt like I could literally feel every single ray, every particle, hitting my skin. When I washed my hands, the water rolling over them felt almost like the energy you get when you hold hands with someone you love. Everything seemed kind of pleasantly swaying and looked brighter.

Oh, and there are huge cognitive changes, too. I can read just fine, but I have no number recall. Like, if I’m either having a migraine or in that trippy weird time around it, I can’t count and I can’t remember numbers–like my zip code or my phone number. I think this is why I can’t count. It’s not that I don’t know what comes next. I think if I saw a 10, I’d know that 11 comes next. But it’s literally like I can’t access the last number to know where I am.

Which was fun on Monday because I had to go to the bank and drop books off, both of which required telling the people at the bank and at the bookstore the amount of things I was giving them. And I frankly had no idea if the amount I thought I was giving them corresponded to the actual amount. Thankfully, everyone was very cool about recounting for me.

The other thing I’ve noticed both as I get older and since I’ve gone on the pill is that the pain from my migraines is a lot less incapacitating–even though it lasts forever, which is annoying–but the trippy weird time grows. When I was younger, a migraine could just slam on–like one moment I’d be fine and the next moment I’d be in so much pain I had to throw up. It could often leave just as quickly. But now I spend a lot of time not having a headache but feeling kind of nauseous and pleasantly connected to the world.

I’d like to understand more about what’s going on there. It’s almost like, for me, a migraine is the volume on the world turned up so loud that it hurts, but the time I spend with the world being more intense than usual, before it gets too loud or as it goes back down from being too loud, is not without its interesting parts and that time seems to be growing.

It’s like being stoned, a little. Almost hallucinatory. And I wonder what’s happening there and why.

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One thought on “Headache Victory

  1. My migraines–two a month at least, since forever–are like yours only in that they are aren’t like anything else my brain has ever experienced. I get the aura about three hours beforehand. In my case the aura is not being able to see out of the eye on the affected side. And actually I can see; it’s not blackness. It’s just that i know my brain can’t make use of the information. It’s very strange. I KNOW that my eye is taking in signals. And since my other eye can see, I know what those signals are supposed to be. But I also know that I can’t make them out from that eye alone. If I were to cover the good eye, for instance, I would not be able to read words on a page. I could see that there were shapes, but I wouldn’t even know those shapes to be WORDS. It’s odd.

    Then comes the pain and the nausea. If I don’t get the Excedrin Migraine onboard in time, that is.

    Afterward is when I get that mildly stoned, euphoric feeling you talk about. In me it lasts about as long as the headache itself did. I almost wonder if it’s not the seratonin that had been blocked during the pain episode streaming out.

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