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How Migraines Affect My Mental Health

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Migraines are, luckily, not something I get on a constant basis, but I have one at least every month. I tend to get a lot of eye migraines. Usually, one of my eyes starts pulsing and it feels like my head is splitting open. I also get incredibly nauseous. It hurts to have any sort of light near me and all I want is complete darkness. A lot of my migraines tend to be from stress or anxiety, although my seasonal allergies do contribute. When I get migraines, it tends to set off a chain of events that not only derail my daily life, but also hurt my mental health, which is precarious on its best days.

Migraines most impact my mental health by taking away my coping mechanisms. I constantly have to distract myself from my brain. I always have music, an audiobook, or a podcast playing, or I am reading. The moment I have nothing to concentrate on is the moment everything goes wrong. My brain releases a tirade of insults, traumatic memories, and suicidal thoughts. When I have a migraine, I have to sit in absolute silence, in the dark. It is the perfect feeding ground for all of my mental health issues and I have absolutely no defense. I just have to ride it out. Crying is also another coping mechanism I use on a daily basis. It helps me release both positive and negative emotions in a healthy way. When I have a migraine, crying will just intensify it, so I have to make sure I hold back my tears. I have to mask, which is very draining for an autistic.

The physical pain of the migraines is also very hard for me to handle. Because of my autism, I have a difficult time processing pain. It can get very intense and overwhelming for me. I don’t even have a way to lessen the sensations of the migraines. Unfortunately, I have only found one medication that stops my migraines and I can’t take it for other health reasons. I just have to fight through the agonizing pain.

Having my migraines connect to my mental health status can lead to a vicious circle of getting migraines from poor mental health days and those migraines creating more poor mental health days. Migraines also make me feel trapped in my vessel, both emotionally and physically, which can trigger PTSD reactions from past trauma, which in turn leads to more migraines. There really is no way for me to win or even get a break.

Getty image by Nadezhda Deineka.

Originally published: August 26, 2021
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