The ‘morning’ migraine
This migraine starts before I’ve even woken up. I think I’m asleep but I can feel my head throbbing and pounding. It’s intense. The pressure of my skull on the pillow is overwhelming. It feels like my head is in a vice, being squashed by the soft, comfortable pillow I sleep on every night. The pain is deep and violent. The pillow is engulfing my head and I can no longer lie down.
It’s 5am and I’m sitting up in bed, in darkness, in agony. I can’t lean against the wall. I can’t let my head touch anything. I can barely hold up my head because it feels so heavy. The weight of it on my neck, on my shoulders, is too much to handle. It’s like a bowling ball has been transplanted to where my head used to be. My head didn’t feel this heavy when I went to sleep.
I sip the water I keep on my bedside table and hope I’m dreaming, that this isn’t really happening and I’ll soon wake up without a severe migraine attack. I sit for what feels like hours feeling the pulsation in my skull. I’m hot, I feel like my body is on fire. It feels like I have a high temperature and the heat isn’t helping my head, it’s aggravating it. After a while I wake up my boyfriend to help me to the bathroom. I’m unsteady on my feet during normal circumstances but I’m even worse when I’m flaring.
All I want to do is splash my face with cold water and put a cold flannel on my forehead. I can’t though, because even the slightest pressure is too much. I can’t even touch my hair and move it out of my face. Each strand feels like a sharp needle piercing my brain; thousands of needles weighing down my head and poking me.
I convince my boyfriend to go back to sleep. There’s no point to both of us being awake when there’s nothing either of us can do. I sit upright in bed in the darkness. I wish the darkness would take away the agony I’m feeling, stop the pounding, end the constant torture. I watch as the sun comes up. I’m exhausted. How can people sleep sitting up? Is it something I could learn to do? I probably wouldn’t be able to do it with this pain anyway. It’s not possible.
I feel sick. My boyfriend gets a bucket and puts it at the side of the bed. I hate being sick, it makes my head worse. Can a head explode from the pressure? I’m so tired and in so much pain that I don’t even make sense anymore. I throw up. Tears run down my face as my head hangs into the bucket. My boyfriend rubs my back.
The cycle continues for the rest of the day, sometimes into the next day. The morning migraine happens every month a few days before my period. It’s venomous and often appears during and after my period, too. Sometimes it doesn’t bother leaving at all. Migraine is cruel. It invades my head and takes over my life.
Coming out of the dark
Even though both types of migraines are a part of my life they aren’t always there. The day after the migraine has gone, after the fuzz has cleared and I can see without having to hide in darkness I feel motivated. I feel ready to tackle the day and make the most of it, because I never know when the next migraine will strike.
I make sure I don’t overdo it, but I get some work done and I enjoy the moments of clarity. I just love the days after an attack. When I am overcome with a migraine, I always try to remember these days and remind myself that I will get through it to a day where it won’t be there. And I savour that.
NPS-IE-NP-00240 April 2021