Miss Migraine: A list of things that happen to me when I don’t sleep

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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 August 13, 2012, on my blog of the same name.

My body is not adjusting well to venlafaxine (brand name Effexor), an anti-depressant also prescribed for migraine patients. I just. Can’t. Sleep. I started taking melatonin every night to help me sleep, and it does, but only enough so that I don’t go crazy.

A List of Things That Happen To Me When I Don’t Sleep:

  • Coffee. Normally, I only drink tea, and only in the morning. Coffee inevitably makes me feel icky and more headachey, but at least it wakes me up a little.
  • Drifting. Somehow I get from one place to another, but I never remember how I did it. Sometimes I think I turn into a ghost or momentarily disappear, or possibly become Shadow Cat from X-Men and start phasing through solid objects. That, or my sleep-deprived self has the ability to manipulate the time-space continuum.
  • Fangs. My filter disappears and everything gets on my nerves. I feel like I’m jumping out of my skin, like I’m the chalkboard and the world around me is made of nails. I snap at everyone and lose patience at everything.
  • Migraines. Ironic that the medication that’s supposed to be decreasing the frequency and severity of my headaches is currently increasing them because it’s preventing me from sleeping.
  • Dark circles. These happen to everyone, so at least I can feel normal about one thing.
  • Rambling when I don’t sleep I sometimes forget to use punctuation or that sentences and paragraphs exist and my brain moves slowly and I’m afraid to stop it because I’m not sure I will be able to start it again…
  • Delusions. While I’m drinking the coffee, I feel like I can do EVERYTHING. And then I start. The coffee runs out, and I forget what I was doing, or get distracted, or just give up. Which is why I’m going to end this blog post here, before I run out of coffee and forget what I’m supposed to be doing.

(I’m no longer taking venlafaxine, but now I’m on a different drug that’s basically doing the same thing. But it at least helps with the migraines, so…??)


4 Responses

  1. emjay says:

    Coming from someone with a long-time, moderately severe insomnia problem: your sleepless self CAN, in fact, manipulate the time-space continuum. I sometimes skip sleep altogether just to observe this mechanic in action. /sarcasm

    Sorry the meds are treating you so badly. Hope you adjust soon, or get a different cocktail worked out. I’ve been enjoying the blog though!

    • Miss Migraine says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog! I’ve also had insomnia problems before, but I feel more helpless with this because it’s the chemicals in my brain and I can’t do anything about it… But if it doesn’t pass soon, I will be getting something else, because damn. Sleep is important!

      • teresa o'neill says:

        Hi there.
        I have been a migraine sufferer since I was 18. I am 51 now. At 36 years old I found a neurologist who has helped me a lot. I actually take the effexor (300 mg in the morning). I also take zonegran (anti-seizure medicine). I still get the migraines and when they come on I take a DHE injection and also Naproxen. Since the effexor kept me from sleeping I have been taking Unisom extra strength the entire time and it helps. More recently I hit menopause and the sleeplessness has increased. The neurologist prescribed ambien for me (10 mg)…When I started that, it brought on migraines. So I literally break it up into little pieces and take a little piece at night and that does the job. I am down to 1 migraine a week right now. Was at 4 a week for awhile.

        • Miss Migraine says:

          I’m glad you’ve been able to find some relieve and a solution for the Effexor-induced sleeplessness, Theresa!

          Thanks for reading and commenting!

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