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Inside a 24-Hour Migraine Attack

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Kat Harrison talks about what a day with a migraine feels like for her.


Inside a 24-Hour Migraine Attack

4:23 AM: I am woken up by what feels like an icepick behind my right eye. The pain travels down my neck and I swear I can feel it in my hips.

4:57 AM: I’ve been tossing and turning for a half-hour. Perhaps if I could just remove my entire right eye… this would go away?

5:01 AM: When I have a migraine, patience goes out the window, so I get out of bed and hobble to the fridge. The smell of food makes me want to run away – but I grab my secret weapon: and eye mask.

7:45 AM: I must have fallen asleep. The pain behind my right eye has multiplied to the left, and I’m having a tough time opening my mouth.

7:53 AM: My dog wakes up, so he’ll need to go outside soon. The thought of standing up makes me feel sick.

8:01 AM: We’re outside now and I feel like the sun might be trying to swallow me. When did it get so bright?

9:07 AM: It feels like hours have passed. But no. All I can do is close my eyes and think about dark places like caves and movie theaters and nighttime.

10:00 AM: I’ve cried about 4.7 times in the past hour.

10:42 AM: I force myself to turn on the shower. I usually don’t bother bathing during a migraine attack, and immediately realize this is a bad idea.

1:02 PM: By now, the pain has left my eyes and has moved to the back of my head. I start crying again.

1:56 PM: The crying has stopped, mostly because it makes the pain worse. My stomach has settled, and I think about drinking water.

3:15 PM: By now, I feel like I have officially lost it. I’ve made a mental grocery list, tried some self-guided meditation, curled into the fetal position, and slipped in and out of the covers with various body parts exposed. I wrote an acrostic poem about pizza, too.

7:52 PM: I must have maanged to sleep. As my reward, I force myself to sip some water. It stays down. I am invincible.

If you’ve never experienced a day like this, I hope you never have to.

Migraines are all-consuming, debilitating and emotionally taxing.

But if you’ve ever had a migraine attack like this one, I wanted you to know that i’m with you.

I hear you. I understand.

But you are more than your pain. You are strong and you’re an incredible pillar of a person. You’ll get through this.

Originally published: August 17, 2018
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