Posts Tagged ‘stress migraine’

Twelve Hour Headache

March 14, 2017


Go away.

I’m on my second dose of 600 milligrams of ibuprofen.

I’m not a happy lady.

I’m also not horrified, it’s not a migraine.

It’s annoying, it hurts, but it’s not a migraine.

And for that I am hella grateful.

It’s been a few years since I have had a migraine and I certainly don’t need to start now.

I used to get them as a kid, but didn’t know that’s what was happening.

I just thought I had really bad head aches.

I was finally diagnosed with them in my early to mid-twenties.

“I don’t think you have migraines,” the doctor told me looking over some paperwork as I sat on the table in the examining room at the clinic.

“I do think that you have some issues that need to be addressed, however,” he said, looking up from the clip board.

Then he told me a story about people who smoke.


At that time I was definitely smoking.

Not my all time high, that would have been in Iowa when I was living in Newton and bartending at Boots and Spurs, Iowa’s Largest Country Western nightclub (I shit you not, they even had a mechanical bull), I could smoke behind the bar and would find myself going through a pack and a half to two packs a day.

Of course I left many a cigarette smoldering in an ashtray as I was slinging drinks, oh so many margaritas and pitchers of Bud Lite, but still, I was smoking a lot.

At the time I was seeing this doctor I must have been slightly younger than I was first thinking, as I was still with the boyfriend of five years and I was working at the Essen Haus as their General Manager.

I couldn’t have been more than 23 years old, 24 years old, tops.

I don’t recall a lot of the conversation, but I remember how he told me a story, the doctor did, about himself and when he had been a cigarette smoker and how he smoked to cope with emotional issues.

I think he was hinting at I needed psychological help rather than medical help.

And he was right.


I still wanted him to go through with the exam.

I still had headaches, which I was pretty sure might be migraines, despite the doctor telling me that the pain I was experiencing did not corroborate a migraine diagnosis.

We did talk for a while and he got a lot of my family history and then he said, “well, you’re here, we might as well do a quick exam and check you out.”

He listened to my heart.

Checked my throat.

Shined a light into my eyes.

“Well, look at that,” he whistled softly, “you do get migraines.”

It turns out that there were broken blood vessels on the backs of my eyes that indicated migraines.

“You have stress migraines,” was the doctor’s diagnosis.

I was given a prescription.

I don’t recall what it was for.


I do know that I filled it and I followed the directions and it worked.

I had to take it at the first sign of a migraine for it to be effective and I wasn’t able to figure out what my body was telling me the first couple of times after I had the medication to dose myself in time.

I had what I learned to call “pre-migraine” symptoms, but I didn’t recognize them right away.


One day I did.

And it was a revelation.

I was able to take the medication before the migraine landed.

It was miraculous.

I had migraines on and off over the years, but they eventually tapered off.

I stopped taking medication for them over 12 years ago.

My stress levels have decidedly changed over the years, and I have learned how to manage it better, so I know this is not a stress migraine, but it is a bad headache.

What I am hoping is that it is just that, not whatever cold was going around at school.

One of my professors showed up sick the first two days of class and got progressively worse over the weekend and had to call in by Sunday.

I am, however, not feeling anything but pain in my right temple.

I think I just have a nasty headache and hopefully, my dinner will kick in, the ibuprofen will kick in and some nice hot tea will help.

Plus a full night’s sleep.

These things will turn the trick I am certain.

I hope so anyway.

I meet with my internship supervisor tomorrow to fill out paper work after I get done with work and I am also going to be interviewing him for a class project I am doing for Community Mental Health.

I would like to be on point.


With that.

I am going to wrap this up.

Do some self-care.

Get some rest.

Night y’all.

Sweetest dreams.


Monster Migraine

January 22, 2013

I fell out yesterday.

I have not had a migraine like that in quite some time.

It was one of the scariest experiences I have had in a while.

If I had been paying attention, I might have realized what was happening, but as the case was and is, so often with me, I was not paying attention to my body, I was paying attention to the fear generating machine in my mind.

Get out the door!

Get to the Metro!

Find the new address for the babysitting gig!

While you’re at it, make sure you take some photographs so people don’t think you’re not doing anything here in Paris.

God, fucking, forbid, it look like I’m not doing something worthwhile and worthy of notice and support.

Who are these people anyhow?

I don’t know, but they were all up in the committee banging pots and pans and rattle trapping along to beat the band.


First clue that I was not all mentally there, I had a difficult time getting my bag of stuff together.  I forgot my map book, I put my phone in the wrong pocket, I almost forgot my camera.

Next clue, I could not take off my shoes properly when I got to the babysitting gig.  It felt like slogging through soft, thick, knee-high clay.  The walls were closing in on me and I did not even notice.  I was trying too hard to untie my shoe laces, which seemed to be five miles away from my hand.

I should have known by the time I got to the bathroom.

It smelled like bacon.


No bathroom anywhere smells like bacon.

I get auditory and sensory hallucinations with my migraines.  Sometimes I hear birds, which in hindsight, I did now just realize, I heard robins tweeting when I lay down to take a nap.

That is one of the best perks of being a baby sitter of a certain age of children–they nap.

I usually find something to do during nap time, read, write, work on something.

Yesterday, however, all I wanted to do was lay down.

I lay down after putting the girls to bed, such pumpkins, I do hope I actually get the chance to meet up with them again when I am in full faculties, I could barely read to them yesterday.  My French, fyi, I was told by the three and a half-year old, was not as good as hers.


She is right, in case you were wondering.

Really smart little girl.

She taught me the word for peanuts though, we used it as our secret password for the day.

Cacouettes (I think that’s how it’s spelled).

I lay down, the snow was falling.

I listened to it, the crisp crackle and hiss of it, underlying the sound of the neighbors coming and going, the occasional wail of an ambulance, the wash of birds singing.

That should have been the tip-off.

I heard birds.

Birds are not apt to be out signing in the snowfall, Martines.

My head definitely hurt and I was beginning to feel nasueous, but I put that off to the heat in the apartment being really high.  I was also wearing more layers than normal.  I had on an additional pair of tights under my blue jeans and a pair of knee-high socks–striped the three and a half-year old like to point out all the colors.

By the time the dad had called to let me know he was running late and the girls were up for their naps, I knew there was something horribly wrong.

I barely eked my way through the next hour and fifteen.

Thank God the girls were clever and knew how to entertain themselves quite well.

By the time the dad got there I was as close to throwing up as I have ever been with a migraine.

I managed to get my coat on and my scarves, but I was so overheated I could barely lace my shoes together.  I sat outside their door, having left my shoes outside, and nearly cried with the effort of putting on my Converse.

I made it to the Metro.

The most horrifying part of my day.

I leaned up against the cold back side of the train, my back pressed to the door, my bag clasped in my hands, my eyes closed.

Every time I opened my eyes I was washed over with the desire to throw up.

I cannot imagine the results would have been that awful–all I ate yesterday was oatmeal and banana for breakfast and two apples with almond butter and a small baby bell cheese for lunch–yet, vomit, during rush hour on the Metro?

No, please God, thank you.

I managed to get off the right transfer and onto the next train.

I just kept envisioning the code to the building and getting inside 36 Rue Bellefond.

I did not stop at the grocery store and there was nothing I was going to eat anyhow, the thought of crossing the street to the Carrefour was almost more overwhelming than the entire journey from the 16th to the 9th.

I got inside.

I pulled off my clothes, put on my pajamas and fell into bed.

I closed my eyes and slept.

I woke up twice.

Once to pee.

Once to take a vitamin C tab with aspirin fizzy tablet that my room-mate had a stash of in the bathroom.

The migraine broke sometime this morning.

I woke up at ten a.m.

I made my bed, I prayed, yeah, I did.

I pulled on some socks and put on my shoes and I went to the Carrefour in my pajamas.  I bought bananas and sparkling water and pink grapefruit juice.  I came home, made oatmeal, a cup of coffee, and wrote.

I am going to leave the revelations of the writing for tonight’s blog as I really should have posted to my blog last night.  This post will suffice for that and I will write another tonight.

I had some revelations.

The monster came out of the closet and we made friends.

I have a new appreciation for being here in Paris.

Funny, that, pain, really is the arbiter of spiritual progress.

I made some progress, yes, yes I did.


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