What is migraine?

A migraine is NOT just a headache!


How many times have you experienced a headache? Throbbing pain in the back of the head or a stinging prickle in the temple? It’s not a very nice feeling, yet headaches are pretty standard. Naturally, we then take painkillers or measure our blood pressure to check if it isn’t too low or too high. There are many causes of headaches, and there are also several ways to deal with them. However, it is entirely different when we suffer from a migraine, which is often incorrectly referred to as a headache.

Headache is the most known symptom of migraine, but it’s not limited to that. Vomiting, blurred vision, photophobia, sensitivity to smells and sounds, and even fainting are the most common symptoms of migraine.

According to the National Institute For Health And Clinical Excellence, this condition makes the lives harder for 6 million people in the UK alone, with around 160,000 migraine attacks every day. That means that over 20% of people daily struggle to live their lives.

Most of us are unable to leave our beds. There is no way we can go to work, independently of the place of work. Working in customer service will be problematic because we cannot talk to people, listen to them, or even stand still. People, who have stomach issues because of it, can’t work with food for the next 48 hours. Office job? Not going to happen; any light and screen on your laptop or phone will make it even worse.
The worst part of it is that it’s not actually known where it comes from. Research in this direction is still ongoing. Is it genetic? Maybe. How does the affliction choose its victims? How to get away from it? So many of these questions remain unanswered.

However, probably each of us will know what to avoid for attacks not happen too often. For example, for me, it’s the smell of fried meat, paint, nail polish remover, smoke, and strong perfumes. Hormonal changes and stress also play a role here. In my case, the migraine attacks have slightly decreased since I started treating my depression. Changes in the weather or eating habits also very often affect it. However, as you can see, not all of these causes can be influenced. And sometimes, it just catches us in the middle of the night.

I’ve been dealing with migraines for years, probably since I was around 14 or 15. That would be ten years and many to come. It ruined many of my days. Sometimes it lasts one day, sometimes even three.
To be honest, the worst thing about all of it is that people don’t understand. I wouldn’t blame my boss for being mad at me, for calling in sick again because of the migraine. But this is why I always make sure to inform them about it in my interview. If it’s just a headache, I don’t mind coming. I happened to hear: ‘it’s just a headache, just take a paracetamol, and you’ll be fine.’ Yeah, genius, if paracetamol helped me, trust me, I wouldn’t just lie in suffering now. But thank you for your advice.

I’ve also lost friends who don’t understand. I mean, okay, I know why they get mad after telling them I’m not able to see them even though we had scheduled a meeting for weeks. Although, I do expect my friends to be a little bit more understanding. How am I supposed to leave my bed when I can’t open my eyes, and I throw up every half an hour? I’m sorry, but I can’t. And my friends know of it because it’s a massive part of my life. But, unfortunately, there will still be people who will block me and be mad at me because of that.

Honestly, I wish I could deal with it. I’ve been to several doctors, I’ve had lots of tests, scans, and other stuff done to me. I’ve tried hundreds of medicine, but unfortunately, nothing works. So the only thing I can do is hope that this won’t happen tomorrow and, if it will, that it won’t last for the next three days.

So if you suffer from migraines, trust me, you’re not alone. Be honest. Talk to people about it.
And if you know someone who struggles with it, be understanding. They’re not standing you up. They’re physically unable to leave their bed or house.

And no, paracetamol will not help, but adding extra stress to us won’t either.

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