Miss Migraine: Mega migraine and its aftermath

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. This post first appeared on my blog of the same name on November 19, 2012.

I’ve decided to call the three weeks of constant, crippling pain that has left me in a state of frazzled bewilderment Mega Migraine. Thank the maker for my migraine specialist and the steroids she gave me—they finally kicked the thing out of my brain and returned my pain levels to “normal” (relatively speaking—at least I can function and string a coherent sentence together).

Often after one of these episodes, I have an existential crisis of one kind or another. They’re usually minor, not the What-Am-I-Doing-With-My-Life kind of things, but the What-Am-I-Doing-With-My-Life-At-This-Moment kind.

A visual represntation of migraine pain radiating outward

Photo of a Southeast Asian book cover by Flickr user quinn.anya. Used under a Creative Commons license.

All the makeup work that rushes over me after a Mega Migraine leaves me frustrated and exhausted. And more than that, I get scared. Scared that I can’t do everything I want to do: Writing as much as possible, running my publishing company, promoting the authors I represent, teaching writing at the Allegheny County Jail, submitting finished pieces to literary magazines, making Star Wars costumes for my large collection of stuffed seals…

Always, I have to face the possibility that maybe I won’t be able to hold down a full time job after I graduate (Note from 2019: I did hold down a full-time job for three years post-graduation, and sometimes it was fucking hard). Maybe I won’t be able to write as much as I want to. Maybe I won’t be able to do everything I want to do when I want to do it.

Nothing really helps with those feelings (except, perhaps, writing). I’m not interested in doing less than I know I’m capable of. And nothing scares me more than the possibility that I’m capable of less than I think I am, because of migraines. I don’t want to have to be a housewife. I don’t want to have to draw disability benefits. I want to work. I want to be me.


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