A misunderstanding

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. A version of this post appeared first on July 26, 2012, on my blog of the same name.

I began experiencing constant, crippling migraines in 2008. But it wasn’t until four years later that I realized the extent of my problem.

I was reading stories online about other people’s pain, thankful I rarely have to deal with the nausea that affects so many. It struck me that nausea wasn’t the only other commonly-reported migraine symptom aside from head pain, aura, and sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. Well, it at least felt like it struck me, because my head was throbbing a little.

Sometimes my world looks like this. Photo by Kelly Lynn Thomas (Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA, January 2006)

I thought my neck pain might be caused by sleeping on my stomach, though I’ve slept that way all my life. Nope. Neck pain is a symptom of migraine.

I thought my constant fatigue might be caused by stress, or possibly sleeping too much, or possibly just pain. Nope. Fatigue is a symptom of migraine.

I thought my eyesight might be deteriorating from too much reading in too little light, like my mother always said. Nope. Blurry vision is a symptom of migraine (and okay, yes, I also found out a few years later I have mild astigmatism—thanks, Dad!).

I thought I might be bipolar. Nope. Mood swings are a symptom of migraine.

I thought I was messed up for sleeping too much. Nope. Not sleeping well is a symptom of migraine.

I thought I must be dehydrated, despite all the water I drink. Nope. Light headedness is a symptom of migraine.

I thought my problems concentrating, my foggy head, might be from the fatigue. Nope, just another symptom.

On one hand, I felt like an idiot for not putting the pieces together sooner. On the other hand, not thinking clearly is yet another symptom of migraine.

Maybe I should cut myself a break.