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I was 12. Maybe I got them sooner, but I cannot say. Just recently, a colleague told me that experiencing car sickness as a child could also be a version of migraine. I can raise my hand and tell you that I suffered from motion sickness until at least the age of 15.
The worst migraine in my life occurred when I was 12. My sister and I were vacationing at my Uncle’s place. I felt a pull over my left eye. When I say a “pull”, it was as if someone had placed two very strong fingers in my left eye socket, and stood on my shoulders, hunched over my head, pulling with all of his might to cause a fissure in my skull. [Tweet this.] It was not simply just a pull, but my sense of balance escaped me, almost as if vertigo was also setting in. My appetite increased ten-fold but I did not have the strength to feed myself, as the energy from my body was sapped from just tolerating the eye pull. I went into my cousin’s room and just laid down, and there I stayed for the next 36 hours.
The pain was strong enough to disorient me and keep me off my feet, but also so strong that it prevented me from passing out. The pain seemed to ebb and flow like ocean waves, tolerable and then unmanageable, all the while I was unable to move, like a parapalegic. At the climax, everything hurt — blinking, breathing, the sound of my breath, the movement of my skin while inhaling or exhaling, the movement of my eyes even to the slightest degree. It was utter torture. It was slow and methodical. There was no time to fathom why, as in “Why is this happening to me?”
I think I only survived by voluntary hallucinations. Imagine if you can, lying on a carpeted floor, with the side of your head that has the pain on the floor. My eyes became all that I had. I entered the PAIN ZONE. I became fixated on counting air particles. I became so worried about the amount that were right in front of me. This worry added to my existing pain level.
I was not diagnosed until I was in my 20s, and even then I had no idea how to combat this sort of pestilence/infection/parasite. I can recall taking a belt and wrapping it around my head with the belt buckle over the left eyelid trying to squeeze the pain out faster. [Tweet this.] I have also tried a variety of scarves.
I have never found a pattern to my migraines. Just a hint with sharp light or noise. The migraine symptoms evolved as I grew older, worsening with anything that I did in excess or not enough of, such as sleep. I most likely inherited this condition from my father, who would hibernate under a thick blanket in a pitch black room. My father would scream as if he was being chopped into pieces.
My life changed forever when I visited my Uncle in the hospital. My cousin mentioned the far-reaching hold that migraines had on our entire family. She shared with me the medication she used. It helped me too. I finally found a way to release myself from the pull.
I really felt the need to write my story in the hope that perhaps people would understand the effects of this mugger from within, this pain that comes in no shape and does not manifest itself on the outside. But no one knows where the pain comes from because they are looking for a wound or abrasion. I fear everyday that I have a tumor or an aneurysm, and that my head is going to pop like a champagne bottle at some point leaving a pool of my brain fluid on the floor. For anyone who is a citizen of the migraine nation, this is our burden to carry.
For those still suffering in silence, please do whatever you can to get help. Education will help others to be more patient, sympathetic, and understanding. [Tweet this.] If someone you know is suffering, please understand and help them. If you were the sufferer, wouldn’t you want someone to help you?