What I feel like people with migraines wish others understood about the experience:
1) it isn’t just a really bad headache. I promise we aren’t exaggerating the pain. And usually we are severely downplaying the pain so we can keep functioning (if you can call it that).
2) migraine sufferers don’t refuse medicine because we’re not in pain. We refuse medicine because once it’s a migraine, medicine will only upset the stomach more and won’t do anything for the head.
3) migraines are whole body experiences, even though it’s just considered neurological. At their worst I can spend an hour or hours with my head in a trash can or over a toilet throwing up because any little sensation is excruciating. I know some people have it even worse. I know some people have migraines that can last days or even weeks.
4) to go along with 3…migraines make sound and light positively traumatic. It’s like someone is beating the inside of your head with the nail removal end of a hammer. And they get angrier and angrier when subjected to light and noise and thus hit harder and harder.
5) I assume most migraine sufferers wish more than anything to be a normal person who doesn’t randomly get migraines and who can enjoy normal activities with friends, without having to be the party pooper. I know I have a high pain tolerance and I try to push through, but sometimes the only thing that will work is a handful of sleeping pills, a deep sleep, and the hope that I haven’t overdosed myself that day and I’ll wake up the next.
6) we hope our loved ones can be gentle and understanding when we get a migraine (I think I have been pretty fortunate on this front). Chances are we already feel bad enough for ruining whatever plans our migraines have ruined, even if the plans were only potential plans. And when we do push through in order to try and salvage some of the plan…please don’t take that lightly. It took the migraine sufferer a lot and it comes from a place of selflessness and love.