Holly's story


My migraines started when I was 17 years old, nearly 20 years ago, although they were few and far between then. As the years have gone by they have been steadily getting worse and more frequent.

To my delight during both my pregnancies I was migraine free, but once I had the babies it was as if my body had to punish me with bad migraines, and after my second child the migraines became unbearable. They were chronic, I had a migraine more often than not and I felt dizzy and lightheaded all of the time. At their worst I was unable to look after my children or work. My body would shut down and the only thing I could do was sleep. Many a time I have slept in my car all day at work, unable to sit up in the office but unable to drive myself home.

I became so petrified of my migraines that when I was invited to an event my first thought would be “what if I have a migraine that day?” and I would stress over this to the point that I probably caused the migraine with the worry. I would have the same worries for upcoming birthdays and Christmas, migraines had taken over my life.

You don’t get a lot of sympathy when you tell people you have a migraine because there are no obvious external signs. I think people think you are trying to exaggerate it by calling it a migraine. Even harder for people to understand though, is how you feel before a migraine starts or after an attack. I call the following few days after the pain has gone the “migraine hangover”. The dire pain may be gone but I feel absolutely washed out and exhausted, I cannot function or concentrate properly and I struggle at work. It is much the same before one starts so if you are suffering from chronic migraines, you never get out of this cycle where you can feel well and normal again.

In December 2014 I couldn’t take it anymore and I met with a migraine specialist who offered private surgery in Germany. I was promised this would “cure” the migraines. It was a drastic measure but I felt desperate. Apart from a couple of days, I was migraine free for a month and I was over the moon, then just as quickly as they had disappeared they came back again. I don’t know if the surgery did actually work during that month or whether it was a placebo.

I have gone back to preventive medications and after some trial and error I have found something for now which does ease the severity somewhat. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I will never be migraine free and that there is no miracle cure. I hope my story can provide some comfort to others so they know they are not alone.

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.