Chris' story

When I awake the pain will be gone but I will feel 'wrecked'

Chris Ware

I experience migraine attacks approximately once every three to four months.

I experience signs that a migraine is coming, most notably an increase in frequency of urination and urine which is much darker than usual. Dehydration seems to be a constant element of my migraine attacks, although I don’t know if it’s a causal or resultant factor.

I have identified two possible triggers: eating dark chocolate will almost certainly trigger an attack. The second trigger is less easy to identify but appears to be related to the period of relief after a period of high stress.

Aura

Whilst most of my migraines are without aura, I have had a handful of ‘with aura’ experiences, largely where one side of my vision becomes jumbled and sparkly. In the first instance it feels as though I have just inadvertently stared at a very bright light which has left a visual impression.

As it doesn’t fade – rather it worsens – I then realise that I have some kind of aura event. When I have had aura, it hasn’t necessarily led to a headache afterwards.

Symptoms

The symptoms of most of my migraines are: severe pain throughout my brain; pain and tension in my neck muscles and tenderness at the back of my skull; profuse sweating; need to lie down in a cool, darkened room and nausea.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are ineffective, even if taken at the first signs of attack. In fact, they seem to increase the likelihood of subsequent vomiting. The headache phase usually lasts between 6 and 12 hours and culminates with me being sick.

Postdrome

After being sick the pain will start to subside and I will then go into a very deep sleep. When I awake the pain will be gone but I will feel ‘wrecked’.

During an attack I cannot function properly or work and my thinking is usually slightly slow and muddled. I cannot go into work if I have an attack. There have been occasions when an attack has come on during work and I have had to excuse myself.

On one occasion I was out on location and had to excuse myself, leaving my colleagues ‘in the lurch’. I then tried to drive home but had to stop in the first layby and couldn’t carry on until I had slept it off some hours later.

The views and opinions expressed in this ‘Migraine story’ are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Migraine Trust.