Student shares experience with migraines

It starts with a throb, just above the right side of the temple, which grows across the forehead with a heat that drains your strength. Lights become dense and heavy — too painful to look at. Sound becomes unbearable, as the mind quickly begins to lose all sense of reason. The pain grows throughout my entire head, controlling me. Speaking is an almost impossible feat, as if I don’t remember how. I can barely stand, feeling like gravity is an enemy. Forget about focusing, because all I can focus on is how much pain I’m in. It’s a heavy burden to bear. It’s a migraine.


Migraines have similar symptoms to those of headaches. However, the pain between the two differs greatly. Whereas a headache might make me feel tired and weak, a migraine drains me completely while radiating pain throughout my entire body. Some lucky few have never had to encounter this foe, nor ever heard its name. But I’ve known this pain all too well — it has been my “best friend” since I was 5 years old.

Since my childhood, I’ve had about two every month, every year, for the past 13 years. Doing the math, I’ve had about 312 migraines so far in my life. This isn’t an exact number, and I can’t really chart it, but I am no stranger to this torment.


I’ve had headaches before, and they pale in comparison to a migraine. There are times when I’ve told my friends, “I have to go home, I have a migraine,” and they wholeheartedly say “Ouch, a headache? Hopefully it’s not too bad.”


I laugh at their remarks.


Just to put it into perspective, imagine walking through the halls and without any warning, you are hit in the head by a door swinging open. For a moment, you are taken aback and blinded by the pain. Then your entire head begins to feel as if it is compressing and expanding at the same time, beginning to throb. Likely, this even causes a headache. Well, imagine that multiplied by three.


That’s a migraine.


Unfortunately, migraines don’t just go away when I take some Advil and lie down. I have a prescribed medicine that I take as soon as a migraine begins and hope that it stops the pain before it builds. Most of the time, I am not so fortunate, and I miss the golden time to take the medicine. When that happens, as it usually does, the migraine grows and grows in strength and stays with me for the next eight hours. Like clockwork, my migraines do not go away until at least a full eight hours have passed. And I have only succeeded in subduing my suffering by taking nausea medicine and going to sleep — a dark room, with no noise, made to a shivering cold temperature.


Yet the torture doesn’t end there.


Depending on the severity on my migraine, the symptoms grow in number.

I value migraines on a scale of one to seven, one being that there is a small thumping and heaviness, and a seven has me crying from the agony. As such, I have reached a seven only about four or five times in my life.


For every time I have had a seven, the pain is so intense that the medicine doesn’t work. I cannot sleep from the migraine’s heavy burden, and I’m so severely nauseated that I am throwing up. At this point, I have to get a shot to my stomach to relieve the nausea and pain. About 30 minutes after that, I am finally able to relax and fall asleep.

Finally, to bring a close to the long eight hours through a migraine, when I wake up, there is the hangover. The migraine hangover.


For the rest of the day, I am completely drained and powerless, and I lack the motivation to do anything productive.


Migraines are anything but friendly. They come when I least expect and when they do, I’m stuck with them. I’ve come to follow a routine, and prevent any possible pain where I can. The essential part is to let myself relax when they happen. Migraines are unavoidable, so I have to do everything I can to help myself when I get them.