The Mighty Logo

Confessions of Someone With Chronic Daily Headaches

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Heart-on-sleeve post here, guys. And I will warn you, I don’t normally wear my heart on my sleeve. But it’s been really hard lately, after I realized it’s been over a year now of trying everything we can and going to so many doctor but finding nothing, and it’s been five years of living like this – in constant chronic pain. (Not a fun realization.)


Here are a few of my own chronic pain confessions, after living with chronic daily headaches and chronic migraines for more than six years:

I can’t remember what it’s like to not have a headache. And that scares me.

I’m tired of hoping, because for the last year we’ve been finding one thing after another that just “fits” – things that would help, things that sounded just like me – and one after another, they failed. I’m tired of hoping; it hurts too much.

I just want to know what’s wrong with me. For the last half a year I’ve been praying God would just tell me – I honestly don’t care what it is anymore, I just want to know. If it’s something simple or something hard, all I know is it won’t be as hard just knowing for a fact what is causing this.

Speaking of which, doctor visits are incredibly frustrating. Blood test after blood test, diet after diet, the answer I get is “nothing seems to be wrong – you should be healthy.”

I am so worn out at the end of the day from the ceaseless pain that I sleep like I’m dead. As soon the book closes and the light’s turned off, I’m dead until my alarm turns on in the morning. This, at least, is a saving grace. I don’t know if I could cope if my headache woke me up at night.

And speaking of sleep, I love sleep. Sleep is my friend. When I sleep I’m not in pain. In fact, sleeping is the only time I’m not in pain.

I am sick and tired of crying. I hate crying, but there are days I can’t seem to do anything else. Anything can make me cry – these typically are after a hard week of bad headaches, or when I realize the newest diet or exercise or pill or blood test or what-have-you is doing nothing. Then I collapse, and there is nothing that makes me feel so weak.

I hate having to think about every little thing every day – will staying out late make my head hurt more tomorrow? Have I been drinking enough water, or is that why I have a headache? Can I work out today, or will it make me too dizzy? I just want to live a normal life, without having to wonder if I have a dietary problem or an underlying disease we don’t know about.

I’m ready to be done, but I’m afraid I may never be done. I just want this to be over, but will it ever be over? I don’t know whether to hope for the next treatment, or the one after that, or the one after that, or if I should just resign myself to the fact that I need to accept and learn to live with these headaches for… well, the foreseeable future.

woman standing on hill overlooking landscape with the text "I ask not for a lighter burden, but for bigger shoulders."

Sometimes I turn into this confused mess where I just want to cry and talk about it with someone, but I feel bad about making my burden theirs, so I just try to keep it to myself – and I’m tired of “faking it” – pretending to be OK and happy, when all I want to do is go to my room and cry.

I’m tired of feeling guilty. Because I cancel plans last minute, because I don’t help out enough, because I sleep instead of doing school, because I don’t get enough writing or cello or gardening or life or anything done, because I don’t have a normal life and because I don’t like that.

There’s a line in one of my favorite songs that says, “The time will come when we will leave this world, and then the injustice and the pain and the sin will fall away from us, and only the spark of the spirit will remain — returning to God, who created it. You must never lose faith, you must never lose heart, God will restore your trust. And I know you’re afraid, I’m as scared as you are, but willing to be brave… brave enough for love.” And those are my favorite verses.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Originally published: August 10, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home