What does migraine mean to me?

It’s migraine awareness week and The Migraine Trust have suggested that people share what migraine means to them, so here goes…

Migraine means regularly experiencing pain that made a broken foot seem so insignificant I didn’t even notice, but also discovering an inner strength beyond anything I ever thought possible

Migraine means losing the use of my left side on a regular basis and having to ask for help with simple things like taking off a jumper or cutting up a meal, but learning to see the funny side

Migraine means dropping things, bumping into things and randomly falling over, but still standing tall

Migraine means constantly seeing spots, tv-type static and flashes and squiggles of silver white light, but also seeing a far broader perspective on life than ever before

Migraine means being so sensitive to light that I live most of my life like a vampire, but also being far more sensitive to the people I meet and the things they’re going through

Migraine means losing the ability to speak or understand what people are saying, but also finding new and better ways to communicate

Migraine means losing control of every part of my life, even bodily functions like my bladder and my bowels, but also coming to a place where being out of control of my life is ok

Migraine means getting lost, even in my own home or street, but also finding parts of myself I never even knew existed

Migraine means watching my life fall apart, but also realising just how precious the life I have left really is

Migraine means feeling like Alice in Wonderland – sometimes it’s me shrinking or growing like a giant, sometimes it’s the things around me that appear to be changing – but also learning to understand and even embrace change in life instead of fearing it

Migraine means losing out on social events and missing people terribly, but also valuing my friends and family more highly than ever before

Migraine means working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life just to accomplish the simplest of tasks (completing a doctorate, working in Ugandan refugee camps and supporting some of the most difficult and damaged children in our society doesn’t even come close to the effort and energy it now takes to shower, cook a meal or have a conversation) but also knowing that the things I choose to ‘spend my spoons‘ on are really worthwhile

Migraine means not being able to remember things, process information or make decisions, but still deciding to look at each day with gratitude and to see every experience as an opportunity for growth

Migraine means not being able to work out money in shops any more, but also realising the things that really count have very little to do with money in the first place

Migraine means losing my driver’s license and feeling embarrassed using a disabled person’s bus pass, but also feeling grateful that I’m now able to get out of the house at all and glad I discovered the joy of triking

Migraine means losing my identity because I can’t do any of the things I used to, but also finding out that I’m valued just for being me and that the person I become is more important than the things I do

Migraine means getting frustrated at losing my freedom and independence, but also feeling more connected to those whose freedom is restricted in different ways

Migraine means feeling so dizzy and ill with vertigo that I don’t even know which way is up any more, but also finding out that people have stuck around even when life has been turned inside out and upside down

Migraine means having something else dictate what I can and can’t do and feeling like choice has been taken away, but also discovering that I always have a choice in how I respond to things

Migraine means fighting a daily battle, and smiling through it

Migraine means wanting to give up some days, but deciding to carry on

Migraine means walking through hell, and still holding on to hope


My motor weakness test – ‘close your eyes, lift both arms to what feels like the same height, then open your eyes’. Some days they’re almost the same, on a really bad day the left barely leaves my side

PS Several people have asked recently – “Is it ok to ‘like’ your blog posts on facebook?!”

The answer is yes! I know by liking it you’re not saying you like the situation, I take a ‘like’ to mean a sign of support and encouragement.

Someone joked that facebook needs a ‘the situation sucks but we think you’re awesome’ button or something similar and I’ve often wanted one of these for other people’s posts, but until then the ‘like’ button will have to do!


About migrainefreeme

I'm a practitioner psychologist. I'm on a journey of faith and grace. I have complex, severe and continuous migraine. I blog about holding on to hope through life's ups and downs.
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