Monday, October 13, 2014


I had the idea for this post last night while I was reading (and couldn't sleep because I had a headache). In the book 11/22/63, the main character is struck with a crippling migraine, but still has to go and complete a really important task. One of the things he wonders is how people can live with getting headaches like that regularly. It's kind of the opposite of a thought I have had: how can there be people who don't know what migraines are like? It's amazing to me that there are people in the world, a lot of people, who haven't lost days of their life to blinding pain.

So, I thought I would post a bit about how migraines make me personally feel. I am guessing they are different for everyone and honestly I know mine aren't that bad on the scale of things. I don't get auras, and I really have only been getting like, a maximum of one a month since I moved to Germany. But then again, it's still a lot worse than someone who doesn't get any.

So anyway. One way that I described it to Hunter was this: imagine that the normal state of your brain/skull/head is that it is filled with evenly distributed iron filings. You don't normally notice these, they are just in there, floating around and it's just the status quo. Then, someone holds a magnet to the side of your head. Thousands of tiny pieces of metal are pushing to get out.

But maybe that doesn't really evoke the necessary desperation. Because ok, that's just a little pressure, right? Not just a little. The pressure is such that it feels only cracking your head with a sledgehammer could possibly provide the necessary relief. I push at my temples with my fingers, trying to push this pain away. I notice how hard my pulse pounds and wonder if it always pounds that hard. I don't know, because who touches their head when it feels fine?

The nightlight, normally unworthy of its moniker becomes a searchlight, burning through my eyelids into my retinas and charging the power source that energizes the pain. When I was a kid, I thought of my forehead as my "solar panel," because I thought it was the light hitting my head that made it hurt so bad.

I try to sleep and a song comes into my head. Whether or not I know all the words, the same few words or phrase just repeat themselves in my brain. It conspires to keep me awake and feeling. And then, upon waking, the first few beautiful seconds where it's gone and then the sinking realization that it isn't. When I was in college, I often got phone calls while trying to sleep away these headaches and when they woke me up it was so disappointing because I'd have to start all over again.

So, anyway, these are just a few of the thoughts I have during my headaches, and I shared them because what else is a blog for?

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