Chronic illnesses may often be invisible but they exist. Just because you can’t see that someone is in pain, doesn’t mean they are fine. Just because you can’t see someones’ tears, doesn’t mean they aren’t crying and just because someone may look ‘cured’, chances are they are putting on a brave face and making the most of a manageable few hours. All of these things hurt. Words hurt. Comments hurt. Migraines may technically be ‘in our heads’ but believe us when we say they are real, they are painful. Do you need to see something to believe that it is real?
My blog journey is about understanding. As a little community, gaining an understanding of the unknown and creating awareness for an often invisible illness that is out there a lot more often than you may realise. The symptoms may be silent but they are present.
One thing we aren’t looking for is sympathy, in fact we are looking for anything but. We aren’t after a quick fix either but at the same time, we want to be fixed quickly?
You may think you know a lot about migraines or you may know nothing at all but until you have experienced one first hand, I can promise you, you will never go through anything quite like it. Things you could once do that you thought would never change, suddenly become increasingly more difficult. Smells you once loved will make you nauseous and at times, as much as you appreciate your sense of hearing, all you will wish for is silence.
Although it can be difficult at times to distinguish the difference between a headache and a migraine, headaches and migraines are not the same thing.
I’ll be the first to admit, having never experienced a migraine before my first one struck, I did not realise how intense they were. When those who suffered had previously told me how sick they felt, how tired they were and how disabling they made them seem, I often thought ‘It can’t be that bad, nothing a little sleep and a few painkillers won’t get rid of’. How wrong was I? How guilty do I feel now? And how much do I hate the words ‘just take a few painkillers and sleep it off?’
Migraines usually begin in early adulthood and are especially common in women and are said to affect more than 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men. Having Chronic Migraine typically means you suffer from more than 15 migraine days per month. For me, my first migraine struck when I was around 16/17, studying for my A-levels and at a time when I really needed to focus on my education and finding my first part-time job – again, not ideal but something I will come back to another time.
A migraine is a lot more than ‘just a bad headache’. Although the main symptom is often head pain, the term migraine refers to a severe pain that is usually felt on one side of the head and tends to be a throbbing pain accompanied by sensitivity to light, sound, smells and often makes those who suffer nauseous and vomit. However this is not always the case and every individual migraine case is different and needs to be treated specifically aimed at the individual themselves.
Like many migraine sufferers, my migraines bring with them other symptoms which are not often highlighted when googling the term ‘migraine’. My body can go numb and I feel lethargic and restless from aching joints and muscles. I am often spaced out, dizzy and in a complete foggy state. When a migraine hits, my co-ordination will completely go. I feel like I am constantly hungover but I can assure you, the last thing I would want is alcohol. I may look with it but 9/10 I do not hear what you say. I could look the best I have looked in ages and look completely well but underneath that, I have a constant background headache that does not go away. Migraines are disabling.
So the next time someone says ‘I suffer from migraines’, It is not always what it seems. Please think twice before you respond and please be kind.
Love Vicky x