How frightening are migraines to you?

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How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by pīwakawaka on Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:35 pm

The reason I ask is that I read both here and elsewhere how frightening migraines can be. This seems to be particularly evident when cognitive skills are affected. This fascinates me as in almost 50 years of having migraine attacks, I've never been frightened by them.

Sure, over the last 10 - 20 years there's been a number of attacks I don't remember, and I "go walkabout" (fugue state) several times a year, but that's simply the nature of the illness. So ignoring the ones I don't remember and looking at the most severe one I do, I can't ever remember feeling frightened or anxious about my condition. On the other hand I do have vague recollections of being aware that those around me were concerned or frightened about my condition.

I do remember occasions where I couldn't remember my name or address when asked but I don't recall being concerned about it. there's also been times I have realised I'm somewhere that's not familiar and I have no idea where, or why I'm there, yet I'm not worried by it.

When I think about it rationally (like now) I can make good sense of why I perhaps should be frightened if I don't know where or who I am. But the fact is that at the I don't have any more emotional connection to my condition than if it was happening to someone in a TV show that was playing in the background.

So am I unique in having such a disconnect with my condition? I'm guessing that I don't feel any emotion at the time due to the "brain fog". I've been told that I occasionally use "he" instead if "I" when asked to describe how I feel, so there must be quite a bit of disconnect (depersonalisation?) going on. But why doesn't it concern me so much between migraines? I'm more fascinated and curious by my condition than anything else.

I'd be interested in any feedback.

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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by Loki on Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:19 pm

I used to be like that a lot, any time a migraine hit my first thought was usually "Again? Really?". I remember my first heamplegic migraine where I just dropped at work, was half paralysed, couldn't talk and hid in a dark room until paramedics came. They thought I was having a stroke but more than anything I was irritated with the fact that they were faffing around when all I wanted to do was get out of the bloody office!

The short ones I get though, which seem to come in waves of intense pain, the horrid pain, then more intense pain scared the living daylights of out me. Especially that last to nights when the intense pain part has been stretched out for nearly as long as an hour, what little sleep I got woke me up...driving me around the bend and now it's back to plain old horrible I'm waiting for the next intense bit to hit me Sad

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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by Nekoha on Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:20 pm

I have never been afraid DURING a migraine (well, except the time recently when I fell down the stairs!) but I am often afraid when I am not having a migraine. I just never know when one is going to hit and that is terrifying for me. Also, my migraines are getting worse and worse, so that is scary, too. I am no longer able to hold a job and my social life has been cut down a lot, so that is also scary for me. I think I am not afraid of the migraine itself, but of the repercussions of the migraines.

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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by Laura on Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:39 am

I've never been frightened - just incredibly frustrated. I have been scared because I make stupid mistakes when I have a migraine: like driving and nearly missing having an accident, or falling down the stairs because because the pain or weakness is so distracting.
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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by Tee on Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:35 am

That's a very good question........ as I am often asked this and like you I have never been frightened and people just do not get that....... I was a little thrown off balance when I had my first one and my eye sight went to a patch work - but I was more curious than scared (I was only 13)........... but I have never been frightened of or during a mig - I wonder if its just not a feeling we have while it is happening? On that thought do you feel anything else emotion wise - I am trying to think and I am not sure I do..... I can of go numb emotion wise and just feel the different auras - I am never cross, angry, or even upset while one is happening.......

I have been asked this question from journalists a few times and they just do not get it that you can have these and be frantic !!! But saying that even at my worse (when I was on my way to heaven) I still was not scared......... I knew something was going on and could see the hoards of doctors and nurses running round helping me - but I felt warm and relaxed.......... maybe we are wired a different way??

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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by pīwakawaka on Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:07 pm

Whenever I have an opportunity to describe my symptoms, I always get a response along the lines of " How can you cope? If it was me, I would have topped myself by now". But as Tee also describes, there's almost a disconnect between the self and what is happening to you.

I don't know why. Perhaps it is because we are wired differently. I've always thought that it was either a direct result of what is happening in our brain during a migraine (physical), or it's a coping mechanism we use between episodes to make our lives more tolerable (psychological). Perhaps it's a bit of both.

I reached that conclusion as several of the neurologists I have seen have suggested some of my symptoms might be psychological, whereas the psychologists and psychiatrists have said they believe the same symptoms are neurological....

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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by sisterphonetica on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:11 pm

Well, this is interesting.

Until I knew that my migraines were migraines they terrified me. And the one that landed me in hospital last year scared me witless, but that was more because I'd been vomiting for 48 hours and had been through a CTA (I work in a hospital so I knew what they were looking for). The vomiting scares me much more than the headache as it's not typical for me. but when a neurologist thought I had cluster headaches (he was wrong!) that scared me. Knowing that another one was coming scares me. Having no control over my life scares me, and the prospect of losing my livelihood scares me. The loss of my social life has scarred me rather than scared me. Medication side effects scare me.

So all in all, the headaches themselves are not the scariest bit, by far.
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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by Tee on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:24 pm

That's nicely put sister x........ I just spoke to hubby and he says I get short and a bit grumpy in the first stage of a mig and then kind of block everyone - in no reaction to anything - I just want to be left alone and since I now retreat to my bedroom it a given....

I have come to accept my migraines now and and working on fine tuning my prevention and abortive plans - and have given this some thought and I think knowing you have migraine (and the type) is a relief....... as you then know what your dealing with,,,,,,,, then I think there is a period of time when we go through a kind of 'mourning' period - ie the same symptoms....

Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
Depression stage: Final realisation.
Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.



This might sound drastic to some, but there is a massive difference to having a migraine once a month for 24hrs and having chronic migraine (15+ days per month)... this is life changing.......


Last edited by Tee on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by Tee on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:27 pm

SISTER - You are only a short way in on your journey and all those things that scare you - will one day pass - its a rough road to travel and if I am honest its taken me 6 years.......... and I wish I had all the answers for you - but I say that when all else has gone HOPE remains xxxx

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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by sisterphonetica on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:33 pm

I've been fighting these headaches for 30 years. But it's only in the last year, since the humdinger that put me in hospital, that I'm beginning to understand them. It's a long road and been a long time already, but yes, I'm only a little way down the road. I'm realistic, and hopeful that in ten years, like my mum, they go away when I hit the change of life!
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Re: How frightening are migraines to you?

Post by anon21 on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:52 pm

I don't feel frightened during a migraine just really angry or sad especially if it comes at a inconvenient time. I sometime feel frightened about getting a migraine in a situation where I cannot just go and lie down or if there is a big event coming up and you do not want to let people down but I do not get frightened by the actual attack just frustrated. I find it interesting that some people can distance themselves emotionally but I cannot say that I have been able to do that.
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