For many years, the phrase, “I have a headache” was just a comical excuse to get out of sex with your significant other.  It was most often used by women, so I don’t think most men truly comprehend the impact that headaches can have on your quality of life.  In my experience, many women can’t grasp the concept either, because they are fortunate enough to not ever have had to deal with a true migraine headache, and the aftermath. 


Mine started when I was about 12.  I had a math teacher who would let me go sit in a dark room adjacent to his classroom if it got really bad.  His wife had them too, so he understood.  Coincidentally, I also had just recently gotten braces, so I always wondered if there was a correlation.


My teens were not excruciating as far as migraines went, but once I hit my 20’s, they doubled in length, intensity, and frequency. By the time I turned 28, and I was about to get married, I was getting probably 5-10 a month.  It seemed like each year they got worse in one way or another. 
We moved in 2002, and after that I would get these marathon migraines that would last for 4-5 days, and I always ended up in the ER. 


I had been complaining about these issues since I was 12, but no doctor was ever able to offer the correct advice.  I’ve been on many medications, stopped taking aspirin, only to have the headaches quadruple, and been to the ER so many times I can’t even count anymore. Not to mention, tried several different types of eyeglasses.  For a while there, I was taking a medication that worked about 85% of the time, which was a wonderful thing for me.  Eventually, it started producing crippling side effects that I just couldn’t deal with anymore, so here I am, back at square one. 


The last time I was placed in the psychiatric “hospital” I spoke with a nurse practitioner there that had spent a great deal of time working with a neurologist.  I looked at her and I told her that no one could figure out why this kept happening.  She looked at me as serious as anyone ever has and said, “Honey, there is no reason for you to keep getting these migraines.  You have MIGRAINE BRAIN.  You were born with it, and it’s never going to go away”. 


I guess in the back of my mind, I always knew that was the case.  I mean when you’re in the ER on Morphine and your head still hurts, you’re probably up the proverbial creek without a paddle.  So, this is why I get aggravated when people give me all of their wonderful herbal remedies, or the number of the best doctor ever, or suggest some new medication.  It’s a give and take, I guess.  As sick as they are of hearing about my headaches, is probably pretty close to how sick I am of hearing about their miracle cures. 


This is just something I am going to have to manage, just like my depression.  It’s going to mess things up, cause me a lot of pain, and probably piss a lot of people off, but I don’t have time to worry about that anymore.  I have to worry about having some type of life despite all of the obstacles placed in front of me. 


So, there you have it.  When I say I have a headache, I’m not screwing around trying to be funny.  I am probably in horrible, excruciating, blinding pain with no end in sight.  It’s OK for you to say, I hope you feel better.  Just please don’t tell me what your best friend’s cousin twice removed that is related to a doctor told her to do and it worked this one time.  I don’t care.  Not to be an ass, but it’s the truth.  I just don’t.  What I care about is working through it, like I always do, and coming out on the other end pain free.  Yes, at this point I am at about 10-12 headaches per month, but guess what?  That’s down from 15, so I guess I’ll take that as a sign of good things to come. 


It’s like I’ve said before, you can’t possibly walk a mile in my shoes, or anyone else’s.  They don’t fit, and you would be bitching to get them off in about a minute and a half, so don’t even try.  Just be there to understand, and maybe once in a while check in and see how that person is doing.  None of us is asking you to FIX it.  We just want to be understood.  


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