I can tell I’m getting a migraine because my automatic brain function isn’t syncing up with my vision. Or, you know when you move your hands to, say, adjust your glasses or scratch your nose? Your brain seamlessly syncs up the command to move your hand and the information that your eyes receive as that hand moves. Not with a migraine. I can always tell its coming because those two functions have fragmented, and there’s a lag time between me moving my hand and my conscious (rather than unconscious) brain processing what’s going on. It’s dizzying as fuck.
Then comes the aura. The aura in itself, which are basically static-y squiggly lines in the vision, are fine – it’s the accompanying symptoms that freak me out. First of all, I can’t read very well when I have aura. It’s less of an automatic brain function and more of a conscious cobbling together of memory in order to read things. I also can’t do things like drive because, oh boy, I cannot tell where the road is when I’m driving with aura. My reaction times slow down to a crawl. Sometimes I’ll just straight up hallucinate. Definitely can’t write things very intelligibly, and my ability to speak loses all of its eloquence, which for an eloquent person like me is very frustrating. Sometimes it gets so bad that I can’t even string together sentences. I basically start slurring my words despite being completely sober, and it’s pretty terrifying. Then there’s the numbness, which doesn’t always happen, but my fingers and hands and face will go completely numb sometimes. Of course my neck always hurts, and my sinuses, and then there’s also my stomach. From my stomach all the way down through the entire digestive system: total chaos. The reaction in my digestive system is never consistent, but it always hurts. I’ll spare you the graphic details of how bad it gets down there, but it gets bad. But what always gets me is my mood before it strikes. Yesterday, I was zipping through my options trading course, writing down complex mathematical equations and totally nailing it, right before it hit. I’ve been on super productive writing sprees right before the migraine hits. It’s almost euphoric – I’ll be partying it up, drinking nonstop, eating rich, fatty foods with nary a hangover in sight. Other times, I’m in the worst mood in my life. In a slow, creeping pain, fighting everyone and everything, ready to blow up my life because I feel like such absolute dog shit.
There’s a panoply of symptoms that plague me in a wild a variety of combinations that is always unpleasant. I can only deal with it by sleeping 14 hours a day until it gets better, and I can’t work, I can’t be around people, I can’t be in bright rooms. Sometimes this lasts up to seven days. Seven days! What a waste of time! And there’s no white knuckling my way through it. It’s like a Chinese finger trap – the harder I try to push my way through the pain, the more painful it becomes. All I can do is lie down until it passes, and then sometimes it just subsides and isn’t really gone. In the past, I used to let the migraines come and go, but now that the pandemic and working at home has given me the space to really sit with myself and my body – fuck that. This happens damn near every month, and it is disruptive as fuck. You know how much more I could do with my time and how much better my life would be without migraines? This isn’t just a monthly cyclical problem that I have learned to tolerate over time – although the masochistic side of me thought I just had to live like this. I don’t have to just live like this! So I’m not going to! We’ll see what happens if I can kick this shit.