I’m sorry I wrote a lot. Just felt like I could try and describe it, but probably not necessary. But hey, you asked.
As a kid, I would get migranes, and I’ve had the fun of also experiencing cluster headaches. Only a few times have I gotten a stress headache.
Migraines for me I’ve had since I was about 7 years old. I can usually tell when they’re coming because I kinda feel “weird”- not really descriptive I know, but it’s just this sense of “huh… that’s weird”, and also I’ve had a headache of some random sorts usually during the day leading up to this. If I’m doing something or trying to concentrate I can miss that feeling. Then the pain starts. It’ll start up by my left side of my head, by the left temple, and I get this slow crawling feeling down towards my eye. It’s a slow feeling, not quite a throbbing or such, just… it’s coming. When it reaches my eye, by that point, I know what’s coming and it’s not so fun. That’s when this crawling feeling sharpens up and basically becomes like… well a dissecting needle. Basically instead of feeling it going down and across my face, from temple to eye, it feels like a straight line- from the point of my temple to the back of my eye. Just this INTESE FOCUSED Ice Pick of pain.
My vision will get squinty, and sometimes blurry, tears can come out of that eye- and it’s all totally localized, if my right side feels anything it might be a mild headache at best. But the left side is SUCH intense focused pain in a straight line just stabbing into my eye from outside the skull. I’ll also get kinda queasy, now that weird feeling is gone, and now I just feel pale, floppy, and sick. I don’t want to be wherever I am, and I just want to go away. And I know what’s coming.
It sucks, I become really bummed out, light is TERRIBLE. I shun the light, I want to crawl into a dark cold room, curl up into the fetal position and just cry. Even now in my 20s a real tough migraine will still cause me to do that. The pain sorta overrides my logical centers- I don’t care about what I’m doing, I don’t’ care who is talking to me, if I’m in class or whatever I’m doing. I just want three things: Darkness, being alone, and STOPPING THAT PAIN.
Anything else is not important to me at that point in time. I just isolate myself usually in the coldest part of the room, house, whatever and just try to wait it out. I’ve had to wait hours, and it just feels like hours and hours and hours. I try to want to sleep, push against the ground, the walls, anything to stop it, and that doesn’t help the pain. When I was a little kid, they would send me to the nurses office and my mom would have to come and take me home, and the entire time was just crying pain. As I got older, I knew what’s coming, but I still can’t help but tear up at the pain.
I’m a person who is terribly afraid of death. I don’t want to die, and I have no desire for any activities that would bring me closer to dying. If I was to become on life support and a vegetable, I wouldn’t want someone to pull the plug on me. That’s how terrified of meeting Death is for me. It’s one of my greatest fears. However, and i’ve noticed this repeatedly as I got older- while I’m waiting out the migraines- this is the only time where I would actively contemplate the idea of suicide. Death would at least be no more pain in that case- it’s the one time where I would fully understand wanting to die- and when I was a teenager, I kinda hoped if I ever had to choose to die, then i’d want myself to be in THAT much pain, because that would be the only time where I’d feel that dying would be a sweeter alternative. But in the end, I know this is temporary. And so we wait it out.
With medications, i’ve had two kinds growing up, both of them similar mechanisms- basically when I have that aura feeling, that something weird’s going down, OR if I get that creepy crawling painful feeling, I’m supposed to take the medications. The first ones I had as a kid, I can’t recall what they were, I only took them maybe 3 times or less all around 2nd and 3rd grade. All i know is they were pink/purple on one side, and Purple on the other- and looked like the size of tums. I got to take one of those in the nurses office when my mom came and got me to take me home. And by the time we walked out of the office to the car- I think I was feeling pure euphoria. Life was wonderful beautify, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy and silly as I did then. My eye still I recall tingling and feeling odd- but there was NO PAIN. It was pure pure happy bliss. I think I was completely stoned out of my mind or something. I never really got that medicine afterward (but my parents said I did try to fake having migraines in an attempt once or twice to get that, but they could tell I was easily faking it).
Now, I’ve been on on several drugs, and they’re not as awesome, but get the job done. Basically- I get the headaches, that weird feeling, I pop the pill, and I still feel shitty, I want to be alone, I’m depressed, queasy- but I get sleepier and sleepier, more and more sleepy…
And then I pretty much go into a deep sleep for like 4-8 hours, and wake up with hopefully the migraine passed. And that’s about it. I basically sleep through the worst of it, and I’m up and exhausted, but I don’t usually have any more of a headache. Just… groggy and kinda tired, basically the feeling of oversleeping.
Those though are just my worst migraines. They’ve really dropped off in severity since high school (where in high school and earlier I’d get like 2-3 of those a month on average but that’s not really true, they tended to come in groups, so if I got a migraine, the odds of me getting another one in the next week went up. I tended to get them seasonally with basically like 5-10 migraines in 2-3 months and then nothing for a while, and then back again. Usually more in the spring/early summer time, with also some in the fall/winter transition as well.
I still get smaller migraines, and those I try to catch early- Excedrin extra strength early on like in that aura phase, de-stressing ALOT more my life, and basically trying to keep it calm and under control, and I can avoid most of the curling up and dying sorta feelings. If anything I’ll just have that needle point to the back of my eye, I can point you to it basically, and I’ll still have 0 attention span for the time period, but I’m functional. But basically I’m just holding on and just trying to focus on getting through everything- every task becomes super arduous and annoying from gripping the pencil to writing my name to trying to focus on the question while the pain tries to distract me…
It’s not fun.
I’ll make another Post about my experiences with Cluster Headaches, and i’ll be shorter.