Nowadays I think differently about my migraines, and I also have a different way of coping with them. For example, I no longer make any plans when I feel a migraine attack coming on. I tell myself that I’m allowed to stay home and don’t put myself under so much pressure anymore.
I never really drank a lot of alcohol, but whenever I did, I got a migraine. That was a major trigger for my migraines. I now hardly drink any alcohol at all and feel a lot better! That was an important realization for me. I now have a little more control over my migraines.
Relaxation and meditation techniques also help me feel more in control. I try to keep reminding myself that I don’t have a tumor and that nothing will burst inside my head. It helps to know these things! At the clinic we also learned about the different stages of pain, and I go through them in my head when I’m in pain. Doing sports helps too, especially endurance sports. I go to the gym regularly. Getting fresh air does me some good, but doing sports helps me the most.
I’m very glad that I now get on fine without tablets. They always affect my circulation and it’s like I’m on drugs, which is scary. It gives me the feeling that I’m no longer in control of my body. And the tablets often make me feel sick. But I make sure that I don’t get too ambitious about avoiding medicine, and still take tablets if the pain gets too strong.
At home I always have a first aid kit with medicine at the ready. Peppermint oil helps me, so I make sure there’s always some of that in there. When I’m not feeling well, I know where to find things.
When I notice a migraine attack coming on I now think: “You don’t have to do anything, you can cancel everything, you don’t have to go anywhere. You have no obligations or duties.” That sounds so simple, but it actually isn’t that easy to say: “No, I can’t,” and actually follow through on it. It feels good whenever I manage to do that.
Back then I would really put myself under a lot of pressure. I always used to tell myself: “Take a deep breath and just get on with it!” I also still went to work even when I had a severe migraine. I often almost passed out, but I was always able to somehow grit my teeth, although I could hardly stay on my feet. I didn’t want people to notice how much pain I was in. And in the evenings I would fall into bed feeling exhausted. I was completely drained. But I’ve stopped doing that.
I now try to have more quiet time. Sometimes that works pretty well. But I feel especially distressed when I have migraines at weekends or on vacation. That sets off a spiral of thoughts in my mind: Why now? Why me? I keep having to remind myself to say “stop!” in time and then to accept that I can’t do anything about it. That involves a lot of effort, though.