Emily's story

"Migraines are invisible and that’s why no one understands"

Emily Pyer

Where do I begin? I had my first ever migraine when I was 9 after being on a ride at the fairground. A hour after coming off the ride I begun to have a blurry eye which was so scary as I had no idea what was going on, until my dad told me it was a migraine. I then had everything with it, sickness and dizziness.

I did not have any again until I was 14 and I knew what I was in for. After a month of having them I went to see my GP, who didn’t really acknowledge me and just gave me beta blockers.

After being on them for a month, nothing changed. By this point my migraines were severely interfering with my school life.

I went back again to the doctors and who gave me anti-depressant tablets. I didn’t take them as I thought a 14 year old should not be on these type of tablets.

A year down the line and a switch in GP surgeries, I was given more pills, topiramate also know as Topamax. These tablets did help and I nearly got to the top dosage of 200mg. However, after being on them for a year, I began to have really bad panic attacks. I researched the tablets and panic attacks was a side effect.

A break from medication

Therefore, I came off them slowly and decided to have a break from all medication.

A few months went by and nothing changed. I still had severe migraine and daily headaches. That’s when I diagnosed myself with chronic migraine and daily chronic headaches.

I went back to the doctor and they gave me beta blockers again but a much higher does, started on 80mg when the starting dose should be 20mg. Another month went by and they were not helping and I didn’t like the side effects.

I went to see a specialist and he gave me a list of pills to try. He said that there was no answer to what was causing my migraine. He did give me an official diagnosis of chronic migraines and chronic daily headaches.

I then started on a dose of 300mg which needed to be reviewed very month. I am currently on 1,800mg of Gabapentin. This medication is not working which I have told my GP but she insisted that I keep trying for a few more months.

No answers

I have taken so many pills and painkillers that nothing really helps me which is bad as I am only 19 years old.

I have suffered for 5 years with no real answers.

I have a supportive family and boyfriend but I still feel so alone. No one really understands migraine unless they have had them themselves.

The depression that migraine brings upon me is sad. They are ruining my life.

I try to stay positive as I know there are much more treatments out there but I feel like I am always running around in a circle with no way out.

I would love to try Botox or acupuncture but my GP said that I have to stick to my current medication for a while. I have done so much research into migraine that I now go to the GP and tell them what I need as I know my own body so well. They may have the knowledge but don’t know how I am feeling inside.

When people say it’s just a headache I want to scream at them. When they say ‘have you tried cutting down on caffeine or stopped eating chocolate?’, that really gets to me as they do not understand. I question why should I stop drinking caffeine and eating chocolate. I should not be like this. I wish doctors would just listen to us and not treat us like we’re people just trying to get medication and treat us like we do have a serious illness.

I know I am not alone and I will stay positive and hopefully one day there will be a cure for this horrendous illness.

Migraines are invisible and that’s why no one understands.

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.