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When Migraines Feel Like a Black Hole

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It can be difficult to explain living with chronic migraines, as pain levels are ever-shifting and seem to be constantly transforming.

For each attack, I experience different symptoms and emotions. Some days the emotional toll is almost as taxing as the physical pain, and I feel completely devastated and swallowed up by feelings of hopelessness. Other times, I can handle migraine pain without overwhelming emotion. I more easily find acceptance and grace, and my coping skills allow me to patiently wait out the pain without dramatic emotional ups and downs.

One of the strangest migraine experiences for me is the type where time just disappears and my brain and body shut down for an entire morning, evening, or even day. There is a particular type of attack where I feel like the hours simply are swallowed up into a black hole, where rationally I know I went through a migraine, but feel completely disconnected from the experience. Most of the time during attacks, I listen to audiobooks, use ice packs, and diffuse essential oils to get through the most painful hours while I wait for the medication to kick in.

But then there are other times, where I use hardly any tools in my arsenal, taking meds and then drifting into a black hole where time just vanishes.
When this happens, I’m vaguely conscious as the world keeps moving. The muted light through my curtains turns to dark, my boyfriend walks in and out of the bedroom, and my dog jumps up on the bed.  I am completely detached from everything happening around me.

Though the pain is present, I am unable to deal with it beyond closing my eyes and floating in and out of awareness. I lie in bed and drift between sleep and consciousness for hours until finally descending into a deep and blank slumber. Just like a time lapse video of someone standing still in a crowd, life bustles by me while I lie frozen, curled up and waiting for my brain and body to recover.

When I wake up from one of these episodes and the pain has lifted, I’m filled with relief but also a little bit stunned and dazed. So much time is lost to a migraine, but it feels almost eerie when I am not even cognizant of the hours that slip past me. To know that I got through the attack, but to have little memory of the event leaves me feeling bizarre and slightly surreal.

Do you feel like some days you fall into a migraine black hole? Is this type of attack something you have experienced? Would love to hear your stories and if this resonates.

Sending lots of love and strength to all migraine warriors.

Getty image by Cappan 

This story originally appeared on Mindful Migraine. You can follow this author on Instagram at @mindfulmigraine.

Originally published: December 17, 2018
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