I want to share with you my first Migraine experience
I’m currently in the postdrome (the final stage of the migraine), and I am experiencing with it a kind of Euphoria, which I know to be a sign of this stage. and screens are still a little hard to look at, but what the heck… here goes.
If you’ve been reading this blog you probably know that I developed The Migraine & Headache Relief Method as a therapist, to help others. I was not a Migraineur myself, I simply received many patients with headaches and migraines and found that I could help them with the techniques I learned, and developed new ones where there were none. If you want to read about how I developed the method you can read in this blog post.
And I had always based my knowledge of the condition on what my patients were describing to me. I actually never thought that I would experience it for myself. I was wrong.
My first migraine experience
About 44 hours ago I had my first migraine attack. I was sitting at a friends house, when all of the sudden I started to see a kind of Quarter circle / C shape of simmering colorful zigzag lines at the top left corner of my visual field. Being now in the business of helping migraine patients over come their condition for some time I immediately thought “f*&k me… is that an aura?”. It was Iconic, exactly how it is described in texts, images and videos (almost exactly…. point in a moment).
I was astounded… and weirdly enough excited at the same time. It was also weird…. If I was getting a migraine, why would it be happening? Is it some kind of weird “gift” life was giving me to better understand my clients? could I somehow somatically create this out of desire or will? as weird as it was, it was not a symptom one can simply recreate… it is visual, unmistaken and specific.
This unfolding of experience and my reaction to it reminded me of a great TED talk I watched where a neurologist was describing her experience of having a stroke. It’s a great talk and you can watch it here.
Now… I’m not a neurologist, and a migraine is not as dangerous, or exciting as a stroke, but I could relate with her sense of wonder when she was watching this phenomenon from the inside.
Observing it unfold
I was observing the C-Shape expand, slowly towards the edge of my field of vision, as well as down, turning larger and larger. Watching it was painful, or better said uncomfortable. yeah…. uncomfortable is a better term, it wasn’t physically painful, but it was also somehow irritating. two things surprised me at this stage:
The first was that the colorful zigzag lines were only on the top part of the visual field (I was closing one eye and then the other to see how it looks from each eye etc….) the bottom part of the C shape was just in black and white.
The second thing that surprised me was the area just next to the C shape. in most images it is depicted as being grey, it’s a blind spot. Maybe some people experience it as grey…. for me it was different, it’s like I could not see what was there… but it was still there. It’s like the brain could not make out what was being seen in that region. I knew there were colors and shapes there, but my mind couldn’t make sense of them, and so I can’t say what I saw there, only that there was something…. and it was very very irritating and unpleasant, like a kind of abrasive experience that cannot be run from.
The Aura continued expanding… I’m not sure how long. I was feeling very irritated and sensitive, and lights were really bothering. sound also. Then the Aura calmed down, and my head started to hurt on the right side. which was another interesting point…. the Left visual field is processed by the right side of the brain… but I Haven’t yet found research showing any correlation between the laterality of the aura, and an opposite laterality of pain.
Deciding not to treat it
The pain was quite sharp, but not very intense, maybe a 7. Almost instinctively I began performing technique #1 from the Migraine & Headache Relief method… you can find it here. I did it for maybe 1 minute, the pain was dropping, and a part of me went… “WAIT !!!! why don’t you experience this all the way through and see how it is like?!”. And that made sense. It would give me so much insight. So I stopped the technique and let the pain set back in.
The pain was not too bad actually, Migraines can vary in intensity of pain, and there are even Migraines with Aura with no headache. I found I was still very irritable, with a sensitivity to light and sound, and with some slight nausea, all this took place at night time, and so I decided to just let it be and go to sleep. the pain was not too bad and wasn’t keeping me from sleeping, and closing the eyes and going into a dark quite room was helpful.
Day 2 & another insight
I woke up very much the same. I was very irritable, with nausea, the pain was not bad, I had pain on the top of my head, and especially behind my eyes, it was on both sides now, not only on one side as the night before.
But there were other sensations which were almost unbearable, I had a heaviness on my head which did not feel painful, but it was uncomfortable, and that discomfort on some mental level was horrendous.
And then there was the brain fog…. I could not think. I was disoriented. Answering any text on the phone took ages and I couldn’t type without typos. and my eyes hurt, seeing the world hurt. I could not get anything done. And nothing could distract me from it. I spent most of the day just waiting for the day to end. I started to think about treating it. but I decided to still avoid applying my method…. ok… I did do one technique for the pain in the eyes (Technique #2) which alleviated some of the pain. but I knew it would not be enough and I would need a full session to treat myself, and I wanted to see this through… from start to finish.
So the day moved on… and honestly, now I can’t really remember what I did. It’s all lost in this fog…
But in the evening I needed to babysit for a friend. And I found that having kids running around was not fun at all (and I’m generally fond of the creatures on a regular day). Brain fogged, and Irritated I passed the evening with the kids and then went home and to sleep. It had been a little over 24 hours into the migraine…
Day 3 – my breaking point
Now… I’m ok with pain… I can handle it. But Nausea…. I’m not so good with that one. I woke up on the 3rd day, about 36 hours after the attack started with a deep nausea and wish to vomit, the pain was still the same. brain fog the same. and irritability the same. And a new symptom… my neck was painful on the right side, and I had pain between my shoulder blades.
After getting out of bed (barely) I decided that this would be a good moment to get a taste of my own medicine, and apply the technique on myself. The pain was fine… but the nausea got me… I’m just not good with that sensation.
Another interesting point I encountered which I know most of you have encountered as well was a drop in motivation. I couldn’t get myself to do anything, I didn’t want to do anything except crawl into bed and stay there… but the nausea was worse than my lack of motivation. I know it’s tough to start the process, but the first technique of the Migraine sequence is easy… so I thought I’d start with that and if I am motivated I will continue.
A taste of my own medicine
I started with Technique #22 – “The Pyloric Massage” that I used to treat others’ nausea, this is the first technique in the migraine sequence. My nausea was gone in 2 minutes. I kept at it to make sure, feeling my stomach gurgling and tensions lifting… I followed it by Technique #20 – “The Back roll”, and some technique #17 – “Neck Stretches”.
Now I know from my experience treating others that emotional releases tend to happen, I’m not saying that these emotions are the cause of the migraine, although it very well might be so, but I have noticed that when people release the pain of the Migraine sometimes it coincides with an emotional release.
Mine was of a great sorrow, I had been carrying a deep sadness in my chest for weeks, months. I knew it, I know what it’s about, and I haven’t been able to let it go. I still haven’t let it go, but I experienced it, I allowed myself to feel it, I felt this released something in myself, both in the pain and tension in the neck as well as a little in the head.
And so I continued my self treatment with Technique #4 – “The Suboccipital Massage” and Techniques #3, #2, & #1. And just a dash of #8 & #10.
It worked! My brain fog lifted, the pain behind my eyes was gone. I had clarity again. I had clarity again, this affected me the most. I still had… still have pain between the shoulder blades… It’s a tough one to get out, but the rest is all back to normal. And I am so thankful for that.
Postdrome & one final surprise
Euphoria…. It’s quite funny. The text books say this is one of the symptoms a person can experience in the postdrome… still as almost every other turn in my experience this one too was a surprise. I felt so happy, it almost overshadowed my deep sadness, and I felt super productive, I have space inside of me to help, to work to write this blog. It’s a funny rebound.
So now I’m about 45 hours past the time my Migraine had started, what a ride it’s been. As it was happening I was messaging one of my friends, who is also using the method, she has very intense migraines, and she is still figuring out how to use the method. Like a child I was sharing with her… “OMG now I feel this, and now I feel that”. It was exciting.
Now I’m wondering how this happened, and what it means. Am I going to have more Migraines (I hope not), What triggered this one (I don’t know), Did I somehow induce this myself (No clue)… But what I do know is that I gained a ton from this experience, and I am happy I decided to wait with treating myself to really experience it. It also makes me wonder how many people experience a single migraine in their life, and perhaps, not knowing what it is, never know that they had.
And while having one Migraine does not make me a Migraineur I feel I now have so much insight and ability to understand You.
I wish us both a pain free day, week, month, year, life.