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Chronic Migraines and Mental Health

If you have endured the struggle of chronic migraines and headaches, you know firsthand how awful the experience is. There is a lot to unpack when it comes migraines. For example, simply the anxiety of not knowing when the next attack is going to happen can be paralyzing for some. Or, the impact that chronic migraines can have on relationships. For others, it may be the frustration of people not being able to see their suffering on the outside, so they doubt you, or the severity of this experience.

What people don't often know if they don't suffer from migraines is that the experience of a migraine is an entire event. It's far more than just a headache for most. Many people struggle with auras (seeing visual flashes or patterns during an attack, being sensitive to light and sound, et al). Some will become confused and unable to speak or think clearly, a sort-of temporary aphasia. Vestibular migraines can cause issues with balance, walking, talking, or vertigo, and more. Each person's experience of migraine varies from one to the next (and triggers also vary), which is part of the reason that medical professionals have found it hard to treat and cure migraines. There are more options available nowadays. But, for many, it's still not enough.

Chronic Migraines and Chronic Pain: More than a medical issue

In my practice, I've worked with many people who struggle with chronic migraines and headaches. While people often tend to believe that migraines and headaches are purely a medical issue, chronic pain has a long history of being linked with mental health, as well. The two -- medical and mental health -- are often intertwined when it comes to the experience of chronic pain. Sure, sometimes migraines and headaches can have more of a medical origin. Such as the result of a traumatic brain injury, or hormonal shifts, et al. However, it's also become known that people can be born with a predisposition to migraines or headaches (genetics), and then events in life can trigger it.

For many, these pain triggers can be heavily tied together with mental health.

Chronic pain goes beyond just headaches and migraines. It can be back pain, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), digestive issues, and more. Stress, for one example, can cause unpleasant shifts to happen in the body even for people who aren't predisposed to an issue. Think of the times you've been stressed or anxious and experienced the tension in your body, or mouth drying up, body temperature increasing, stomach churning, head start to hurt, your upper back and neck starting to tighten, chest tightening, higher and more rapid breathing, etc. Not only stress and anxiety, but anger, depression, or various types of trauma (not only large traumas, but a series of relational traumas, such as bullying) can have an impact. The body not only responds to present stimuli and triggers, but the body has a way of storing old experiences when they are not emotionally processed. This storage of old emotional experiences can often trigger chronic pain into effect when the emotions either build up enough in the body, or when they call back to a parallel experience (and/or can exacerbate what's already possibly present medically into greater severity or frequency of attack).

Therapy as a treatment for Migraine Headaches

The interconnection between medical and mental health is actually positive for many. This means that people who struggle with chronic migraines and headaches have more options available to them than only medical. I have seen people reduce their frequency and severity of chronic migraines and headaches through therapy. As people, we store so much of our emotional experiences and carry them often without even knowing it. Eventually, we can't overlook them anymore when we start to feel these stored experiences. You may find yourself suddenly experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, or constant body stress, or physical and mental overwhelm that never used to be so present. The same goes with chronic pain.

For the sake of clarity, I'm not suggesting that everyone's chronic migraines are mental health related, however I've seen that it's also commonly the case that medical and mental health works together for chronic issues that don't have an otherwise clear medical explanation. Similarly to how depression can often be helped most by a combination of medication and therapy, I've seen with chronic migraines and headaches that a combination of neurological treatment and deeper psychotherapy can be more helpful than many might realize.

Unfortunately, one of the most difficult stigmas I have seen is the fear that acknowledging mental health triggers for migraines will somehow indicate that the migraines are "all in their head". Something many migraine sufferers have been told throughout their lives, which has been traumatic and dismissive of incredibly painful and lonely experiences of suffering. However, the struggles, the pain, the torture, the accompanying emotional and life impact is all very real. The underlying causes for these struggles, however they are triggered and reinforced over time, is what needs the attention and can ultimately lead to relief.

#Migraine #ChronicMigraines #Headache #MentalHealth #ChronicPain

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I’m new here!

Hi, my name is Deannabobanna. I'm here because I’m struggling with moving forward and dealing with physical and mental trauma.

#MightyTogether #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #ADHD #Lupus #Aphasia #complexpost-traumaticStressDisorder

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How do you feel when a celebrity speaks publicly about their health?

There are pros and cons for when someone famous comes out about a diagnosis they’re facing — no matter what it is.

On one hand, it’s encouraging for awareness efforts — a lot more people are likely to know about a condition (for instance, when Bruce Willis disclosed his aphasia dx). But on the other, it can sometimes bring about a false sense of understanding as celebrities have access to top doctors, procedures, and medications that a lot of us non-famous people don’t have.

Here’s a new story we published about Selena Gomez’s new documentary that details her experience with bipolar: Selena Gomez Tackles Mental Illness in 'My Mind and Me' Documentary

Thoughts?

#MightyMinute #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #RareDisease #Disability #EhlersDanlosSyndrome #BipolarDisorder #MentalHealth #MultipleSclerosis

Selena Gomez Tackles Mental Illness in 'My Mind and Me' Documentary

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Focus on aura-dominated migraines

Does anyone else suffer from aura-dominated migraines? I mean where the aura is the bigger issue than the pain. I mostly get strange, disoriented vision but sometimes see zigzag lines and blind spots. The visual auras last around 20-30 mins. If I get a headache at all, it’s a mild-moderate pain in the brow bone. When the auras a bad, I sometimes get a stage of aphasia afterwards-where I can’t call words to mind or finish my sentences. That also lasts about 30 mins. Frequency is once a month at the mo but I can get 3 migraines a week and last year I had a wonderful migraine-free 5-months but, frustratingly, I can find what made the difference.
GP has prescribed Zolmatriptan orodispersible, which does seem to help (even tho triptans are not supposed to help auras). I’ve also found Magnesium helps lessen the frequency and Co-Q10 has helped me get fewer zigzag line auras. Taking Riboflavin didn’t seem to make any difference in my case.
#Migraine

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Stay Positive And Laugh (Third & Final Part)

TYPE 'O' (A.k.a. - "Wait... - what?")

Don't believe anything you think you see. Just don't. You can't see-for-looking what's there, and you keep seeing what ain't.

Double-takes and 'corner of the eye-itis' become your way of life on days like this. You experience exaggerated startle responses to your own shadow. The carpet, tile, and linoleum designs swirl and twist under your feet. Walls have a pulse. You can't judge distance, so you often miss the middle of the furniture and end up sitting on the arm of the chair or the carpet in front of the sofa. The tv screen needs constant adjustment because not one of your half-dozen pairs of prescription glasses solves the problem. Reading is out of the question for the same reason, compounded with the fact that your dyslexia runs rampant and the words keep sliding off the page. The word of the day is, 'vection' (The illusion of movement based only on visual input).

Your cup endeth up on the floor because your hand-eye co-ordination is for shite.

TYPE 'P' (A.k.a. - "The Lizard Brain")

This is a very black & white sort of day - yes, the brain is working, but only on a very minimal level. Creativity, imagination, and even higher-function decision-making have all gone *Pouf* and you are left with the absolute basic, bottom-line functions. Hungry/thirsty. Sleep/wake. Hot/cold. Yes/no. Friend/fuckya. Other life-forms exist, but not as thinking, feeling entities, only as blurry shapes moving through your space and time. It is the purest and most absolute definition of "going through the motions".

Your cup is just a small cylinder with no purpose.

TYPE 'Q' (A.k.a. - "Sez which?")

Aphasia reigns supreme. The overall ability to understand what is being said to you, and the ability to retrieve words from your own internal lexicon have disappeared completely. You know that people are speaking English only because it doesn't sound as harsh as German, as capricious as Japanese, as musical as Spanish, as sybilant as Gaelic, as guttural as Russian, or as sleazy as French. And as far as trying to form sentences yourself, good luck. Basically, your two choices are:

1 - keep spouting the wrong words, making yourself sound insane, or

2 - shut the hell up.

On days like this, if you're very, very lucky, you will be able to describe the words you're trying to use, even as the words themselves completely elude you. Or, you may even be able to retrieve words that are vaguely similar to the words you're looking for. Either option just confuses and frightens people. Best to just pour yourself a lemonade and spend the day quietly with a jigsaw puzzle. Thine chalice bandeth upwards.

TYPE 'R' (A.k.a. - "Fly; be free")

Everything (and I do mean 'everything') that you try (and I do mean 'try') to pick up or hold on to, somehow develops and displays an ability of flight rivalling even the best Olympic high- and long-jumpers. With absolutely no visible means of locomotion, items leap out of your grasp and take to the air, flipping and spinning just for effect, and landing in the worst possible place with the most explosive possible results. Using both hands is a risky maneuver; it will either reduce the chances of losing control by half, or it will double the height and distance of the escaping item. Your cup, rather than running over, has crashed against the fridge on the other side of the kitchen.

Stuff Worth Mentioning (A.k.a. - "Assorted sudden, temporary everyday episodes")

Everything you set down topples or gets knocked over when you take your hand away.

Everything's funny, lamentable, or maddening, even if it isn't.

Some jackhole keeps turning the room upside-down.

You wake up feeling hungover, without having been drunk.

You keep tripping over the housepets. Even when they're up on chairs.

The universe tells you to lie down or it will put you down.

You don't dare attempt reading or writing. Or thinking.

Two words: Mystery Bruises.

You feel an almost physical sense of boredom, accompanied by a desperate need for input. Radio, stereo, t.v., computer. All at once.

Swellings, rashes, bruises, eczemas, eruptions (and other pointless symptoms) appear and disappear, apropos of nothing.

Temperature fluctuations (which put menopause to shame) hit you like volcanoes and icebergs. Also, droughts and floods occur.

Migraines. Oh, my god. You pray for your head to just explode already.

More additions to follow. Inevitably.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Fog

#BrainFog
When I read about aphasia, it sounded somewhat like my brain fog. I understand what people are saying but if I am tired I can’t come up with a response. It’s frustrating.

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#AcquiredEpileptiformAphasia Aphasia

My speech was very slow and at times slurred when I eventually began to speak... I just managed to utter one word it was always the same nonsensical word that was my response to everything I would substitute for everything “yes for no “for any response the right word would be waiting in my head and this silly word would exit my mouth it bore no resemblance to any word I had ever heard...so with unbelievable frustration ...so much had happened to me I couldn’t even omit a tear to at least to express how impotent I felt... and to top it all this silly word was the word was the accumulation of a lifetime of education was , *NARWAGI *but from the beginning I refused to wallow in self pity that would I knew would be self defeating. As I learned to ‘control ‘a few words I was mortified at the growling intonation in my voice this made me even more self-conscious it was misleading this was not my voice bore no resemblance . I remember taking ages to find the right word or words, and eventually a phrase disjointed and awkward something that had been so easy in the past was so now so difficult and always premeditated , then when would eventually emerge it would come out like I was in a slow motion movie ...somebody had adjusted my brain running now it was running at the wrong speed , when it did obey me it was laboured slurred or a werewolf on Valium . I felt the overwhelming urge (if only I Could) to tell people this wasn’t my ‘real voice ‘I wasn’t an alcoholic or a drug addict . Inside my head felt *hurt * Painful *Numb* all at the same time.
so many of my neural pathways had been damaged or destroyed in my brain due to a massive haemorrhagic stroke , so finding the right words takes a lot lot longer than it did It’s in there, if you have ever had a word on the tip of your tongue and you can’t recall,imagine that feeling multiply by fifty there you have it.
it is so much more tiring trying to find it ...Imagine the pathways are a giant conveyor belt the people are all moving fast and production is running liked a well oiled machine , so by working together they are able to complete the job effectively quickly . When you have someone has suffered Aphasia the production line is like an “I love Lucy episode “ when ‘Gladys and Lucy find themselves are under extreme pressure and quickly get out of control trying to cope by trying and keep the conveyor belt running fluidly as long as possible...So for Aphasia sufferers it’s going to take more time, time to heal ... time to relearn...time to become and a lot of patience believe me, learning to deal with condescending ignorant people probably is the most painful thing you have to deal with ..and most survivors are left suffering physical disabilities and fatigue ! But if you are determined eventually time and practice become your friend and building up stamina ....your newly tuned skill set will win the day. I can’t really explain Aphasia fully...only a piece in the huge puzzle 🧩

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