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10 Reasons Migraineurs Are Awesome

Migraines are not in and of themselves awesome to experience. They are a neurological condition and pain can be invited to that party, but not necessarily. It is a mind-blowing experience and not a positive one. So why would migraines make migraineurs so awesome, you wonder? We experience a very difficult experience, sometimes very often. I think that makes us very strong people, and very supportive people as well. We develop strong communities and make great friends in those communities. Here are some other things:

1. A super sense of smell ‚ÄĒ¬†During a migraine attack, some of us have¬†osmophobia, known as a very strong¬†sensitivity to odors. We can smell your perfume a block away. We can¬†smell those stinky socks you took off in the other room. It is so¬†profound an ability, we might be able to smell what you had for dinner¬†two days ago. The only thing that messes with this trick is that some people¬†also get olfactory hallucinations; in¬†other words, they¬†can smell things that are not there. Like burning¬†toast and sewer. Or rancid goat breath. Sometimes it is really hard to¬†label phantom smells. And since we have a super smell machine, we might¬†look all over for phantom smells. Nevertheless, superhuman smelling¬†makes migraineurs awesome. Misplace your sandwich? We are on it! Think¬†the milk is a little off? We will know it.

2. Superhuman pain tolerance ‚ÄĒ I’m not one to brag or anything but I¬†can stand, communicate and even move while my head is imploding. This is¬†a skill mastered with chronic migraines, which are classified as more¬†than 15 migraines per month. Once you reach migraine warrior class, I¬†mean chronic, you have to function in some capacity with them, in order¬†to have a life. So we develop an astonishing pain tolerance. We are talking functioning on a¬†seven or eight on the pain scale. Not so¬†much when we hit 9, but I doubt many people¬†can master that class of¬†functionality. Not saying this skill is awesome in itself, but we need¬†it‚Ķ we really need it.

3. We can sense weather changes ‚ÄĒ¬†Some of us may have a sense of an impending storm and other barometric¬†shifts. It really rather smacks us right in the brain noodle. I sense‚Ķ¬†oh my god, that hurts like hell‚Ķ yeah, a storm is coming. It’s useful if I’m there when you are having an outside gathering. I am your weather¬†alert.

4. Some of us hallucinate without drugs ‚ÄĒ Yes, many of us get the ‚Äúperks‚ÄĚ of hallucinations¬†without having to take drugs. We might¬†have migraine auras and see¬†flashing lights, translucent raindrops falling from the sky, cascading¬†multi-colored sparks of color falling over our vision. We might¬†see¬†warping motion of objects that are not moving. We might¬†have¬†hallucinations involved with Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS) that cause our¬†body to morph larger or smaller to our perception or the world to get¬†bigger or smaller. I have persistent migraine auras, so I have auras¬†with or without the actual migraine. Most people find auras very¬†unpleasant and disruptive; however, since I get them so often I tend to¬†just enjoy the varied light show. They can be very visually disruptive¬†given we generally need to see and AIWS in particular can be very¬†severe. It is just an experience that we may¬†not share with others. It is¬†unique. It is indescribable. Sometimes entrancing and sometimes¬†extremely disruptive. Sometimes visual and sometimes tactile.

5. We rock the sunglasses and hats ‚ÄĒ¬†For those of us with an¬†excessive loathing for¬†light due to¬†photophobia, we do not leave the house without sunglasses¬†and/or a hat. And we rock it. Some of us¬†actually wear FL-41 specially tinted¬†glasses for inside that specifically help with photophobia indoors, and can be used outdoors in sunglass form. People¬†often give us a double-take. Wearing sunglasses inside, are we just that cool? No, but coolness is a side effect I’m¬†good with.

6. We live in moderation ‚ÄĒ You won’t find us getting carried away, because we have to watch our migraine triggers. Too much sleep. Not¬†enough sleep. We likely will¬†not, for example, go to a loud bar and get very¬†intoxicated because a) a loud bar could be a trigger by itself and b)¬†alcohol can be a horrible trigger. I personally learned this lesson in my¬†early 20s when I was first diagnosed. And a migraine when you are¬†intoxicated? Not recommended. So we learn moderation. Keep it mellow. At¬†times that means work-wise as well.

7. We are always prepared ‚ÄĒ Yes, we are always prepared for impending¬†doom. Since we must live our lives, when we do anything we are prepared¬†for an attack anywhere we go. Migraine balms, medications, heavy-duty sunglasses, hat and maybe some icy¬†cold patches. For example, we may want to get our rock on at a concert,¬†but the loud noises are a massive factor, so we prepare and bring our¬†migraine emergency kit and earplugs. Hope for the best, prepare for the¬†worst.

8. We are spontaneous ‚ÄĒ Because a migraine may hit¬†at any time, we do not do plans very well. We often cancel plans and¬†feel exceptionally guilty about this. But, my friends, we do spontaneous¬†very well. Because those low pain days or migraine-free days? We want¬†to take advantage of them. We live for them. We want to experience our¬†lives during them. Like now. Like, let’s get out there right now and¬†do something ‚ÄĒ in moderation, that won’t trigger a migraine, of course.

9. We are great at diets and supplements ‚ÄĒ Many of us¬†have tried so many¬†restrictive diets to help with our migraines, and we are great with them. We¬†know paleo, high protein, Mediterranean diet, anti-inflammatory diet and¬†the ketogenic diet. We likely can recommend recipes. Have¬†helpful recommendations. Tell you if we happened to lose weight, and¬†let’s just say if¬†we¬†gain weight on every preventative med we are put¬†on, we will probably consider that to be a plus. Since many of us¬†have tried and are on¬†numerous vitamins and supplements, we are a fountain of knowledge on¬†them. We know what they are for, what they help with and even what the¬†potential side effects are. We know all the good migraine ones.

10. We are empathetic ‚ÄĒ We understand pain. We understand pain that¬†knocks you out all day. Or even for days. We understand pain that sends¬†you to the ER. We understand pain that people don’t quite understand or¬†can’t quite relate to. We understand it when pain becomes chronic, people¬†understand it even less. So we empathize with suffering. We know how¬†difficult it is to manage and cope with invisible disabilities and¬†chronic pain of any sort.

10 Reasons Why Migraineurs Are Awesome