I’m like a superhero and I didn’t know it.

17 Apr

My mom always made fun of me saying I liked to suffer because I would wait for a headache to get stronger before taking any medication. She thought I should take something right away, but I always thought I should try other things first. What if it was because I was tired? Or hungry? Or because of my period? So I always waited until it was obvious I needed to do something. The reason for that was that our bodies get used to medication, and soon you need a stronger dose to have the same effect. I didn’t like that.

But one day, at work, my headache was getting too strong, so I took the medicine I had in my purse. I didn’t work. A colleague gave me something else, some other headache medicine. It also didn’t work. After trying quite a few different ones, with all having no result, I finally decided to walk to a pharmacy a couple blocks away to buy something stronger. One of my colleagues offered to walk me there and I’m glad I didn’t refuse her help, because I didn’t get even half-way there and had to sit on the sidewalk, unable to keep going. I didn’t know, but I was having a migraine.

Migraines. Because the world is so much brighter when you're in pain. Literally.

The doctor said I should be glad, because my migraine usually only lasts twenty-five years. Usually. What a wonderful word; usually. As in not always, or in it could last longer. Yay, me, right? That means I only have another fifteen years to go and then I’ll be migraine free. Probably. Since I’m not usually a lucky gal, I’m not going to bet on that.

Anyway, having a migraine can differ from person to person, so here’s how mine usually go: First my senses get sharper. I hear better (even sounds others can’t) and then I feel like someone’s sticking a knife behind one of my eyeballs, trying to get my eye out of its socket. But they seem pretty inefficient, since they just keep poking and poking and my eye never falls out. Sometimes I debate whether or not I should use my fingernails to help them get the job done, but I usually end up deciding not to.

The lights bother a little. They feel like little – and when I say little I mean very sharp – daggers being shot straight into my eyes. Oh, fun. I remember having to park my car in the middle of nowhere one night just to close my eyes and wait for the medicine to work, because there was no way I could keep driving with the headlights from the other cars shooting daggers at me. And you have no idea how good you feel, sitting in a car in the middle of nowhere, crying your eyes out, hoping nothing worse happens. Fun times.

There’s usually also this pressure on the side of my head that feels like a metal compressor is trying to make my head a bit more compact. Touching my temples hurt. Not touching my temples hurt. Crying hurt. Holding the tears back hurt. Closing my eyes hurt. Keeping them open hurt. If I do nothing, my mind can’t stop thinking about the migraine, and that doesn’t help much. Trying to read is painful, plus I can’t really concentrate. Forget singing, even if it’s in your head and not out loud. Well, since your head is the center of your pain, pretty much anything involving using your head hurts. I can’t sleep, because it hurts, but being awake hurts. As you see, it’s a win-win situation. Win-win as in, no matter what I do, the migraine will always win.

One thing that helps is pressing my temples against something cold. It reduces the pain until the medicine kicks in. At least it keeps me from going insane and banging my head against the wall until I break it. Break the wall, of course, because at this point I’m pretty sure my skull is unbreakable, or it would have been already reduced to dust.

But hey, for as long as my migraine lasts, and even a little before it starts, my auditory senses are really sharp. It’s like I’m a superhero or something, since I can hear noises others can’t. The first few times people thought I was going crazy. I understand them. It’s hard to keep a straight face when the girl pressing the side of her head tells you to stop the buzzing sound and you can’t hear a thing. Now I’m used to the new sounds I hear. I just stopped telling people about them, because it certainly freaks them out. Too bad it ends with the postdrome, which is the phase after a migraine. Oh, yeah, because the migraine don’t just leave you away after it’s over, it just turns into this hangover that lasts a few days. Fun, right?

So when I feel a migraine coming, I take my pills. And the only medicine that works, at least for me, is Excedrin Migraine. Oh, and did you hear the big news? There was a recall. Excedrin Migraine is no longer being sold in the US. Well, at least for the time being. Can you guess how much I’m looking forward to my next migraine? Oh, it will be so much fun.

P.S.: I could really use that sarcasm font just about now.


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19 responses to “I’m like a superhero and I didn’t know it.

  1. mouse555

    April 17, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Let me tell you about my migraines.
    When they first hit, my vision fogs slightly, and I start to feel really drowsy. The light doesn’t affect me so much, but every little noise is magnified and sounds as if it’s being played through sub woofers that are taped either side of my head.
    I also get the pressure of my head being squeezed by a numatic vice which also makes my head feel about 15 kilos in weight. I pop a couple of pills, then pass out in a dark room. If I catch it early enough, it only lasts a few hours but if not, it’s there for days!
    As for leaning against something cold, I’ve been told that headaches are caused by something in your head overheating… sounds awesome doesn’t it? I have those cool patches that I sometimes use and can help relieve some of the pressure.
    I’ve never heard of migraine only lasting 25 years… mine started around 13 and 20 yrs later, are still going strong. let’s hope for mu sanity and the safety of my other half and children, the next five years begin the wind down…

    • RedheadCarol

      April 17, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Well, 25 years was what the doctor told me ten years ago. He said it’s because of the type of headache. But he also told me I shouldn’t worry about things, and that it would help. I told him “Sure, you pay my bills, I won’t worry about a thing.”
      Nice to know about the cool patches. I’ll buy some. And yeah, overheating sounds about right.

      • mouse555

        April 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

        Yeah, they’re great also, if you can get a menthol stick that you rub on your forehead. They help if you can’t get to your meds straight away.

      • RedheadCarol

        April 17, 2012 at 11:42 am

        Ooh, I like that. I’ll do that. Thanks!

      • mouse555

        April 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        I used it when I was pregnant… amazing!

  2. 300poundsdown

    April 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I started suffering from migraines at 19 and they lasted through about age 25 and then changed. Now I get these visual migraines . There is a more appropriate word but that’s what I call them. They aren’t painful but they completely screw with my vision. The first time it happened I thought I was going blind. They last about 30 minutes to 2 hours and happen very rarely. I just got one last month for the first time. Luckily I knew what it was or I’d have been flipping out. I feel for you!!!

    • RedheadCarol

      April 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that. There are different types of migraines, but even within a certain type, you can get different responses in different people. I hope yours give you some kind of warning when they are coming, since they could be very dangerous if they happen all of a sudden and you’re driving or something. Take care. And thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  3. Lost on a Horse

    April 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Don’t worry…there are others out there who hear the buzzing and the high pitched, makes you want to kill yourself ringing sound and the humming that is all around us. Even though the non-migraneurs might think we’re crazy, we know it’s just our unfortunate superpower. Nice post 🙂

    • RedheadCarol

      April 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks. 🙂
      And always good to know I’m not the only one.

  4. riatarded

    April 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Oh I hate migraines! I get them awfully often and I am so ‘glad’ that others have that eye thing too cause frankly I was beginning to think that I am going nuts!

    UGH! but throwing up kind of feels good when I am having a migraine. Too much information? :/

    • RedheadCarol

      April 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      I know exactly what you mean. Knowing I’m not the only one makes it less awful, in a “at least I’m not going crazy” kind of way.

      • riatarded

        April 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

        spot on! hahah and what’s your twitter handle? I’ll go follow you like NOW!

        I had a bloody migraine attack last night. Ah Good times. :’)

      • RedheadCarol

        April 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm

        Sorry to hear about your last night migraine. 😦

      • riatarded

        April 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm

        ok done! followed! Sorry I am a little slow today, I just noticed that your twitter is in fact linked to your blog *sheepish smile* :p

        I lived to see another day so it’s all good 😀 haha xoxo

      • RedheadCarol

        April 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm


  5. Lost on a Horse

    April 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    It’s pretty safe to say that whatever it is you’re feeling regarding your migraines, there are many of us who feel the very same way all the time. And the beauty of this forum…the blogosphere, is that we can share experiences, build connections and end the feelings of isolation. Here’s to never having to “go it alone.”

    • RedheadCarol

      April 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      It is awesome to know I’m not crazy and to connect with so many others who go through this. 🙂


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