Living With Chronic Migraines

Living With Chronic Migraines

Please stop telling me that you "get headaches, too."

When I was five years old I developed abdominal migraines. Yes, you read that correctly, abdominal. An abdominal migraine is a variant of a migraine but it occurs (you guessed it) in the abdominal area. For years, I suffered from inexplicable stomach pains that would keep me up at night for hours on end vomiting and crying, clueless as to what was wrong with me. Only two percent of children will experience abdominal migraines and unfortunately enough, I landed in that two percent. I had no diagnosis until my migraines came back in a different form almost five years later in the form of chronic migraines.

For those of you who don't know much about migraines or what makes mine chronic, I want to explain the severity and reality of them to you (without boring you with the science).

A migraine is not just a headache. A migraine is a persistent, throbbing pain that is accompanied by nausea, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and sensitivity to smell. It is a neurological condition. Yet again, I got the lucky trait and I fall into the smaller percent of migraine sufferers who have been diagnosed with chronic migraines.

Chronic means we suffer from migraines more than 15 days out of the month and each one lasts at least four hours (or 72 hours straight, if we're lucky). Each of the symptoms that accompany our migraines are heightened as well. Chronic migraines have changed my life.

I miss class. I cancel plans with friends, family, and loved ones. I sleep in late and stay up all night in pain. Some days I struggle to even get out of bed because the pain seems unbearable. Because of this, those of us who suffer from chronic migraines constantly feel like we are letting people down. It is very easy to feel like a disappointment because you can't follow through with your commitments as your migraines are so debilitating. Those of us who suffer from chronic migraines are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, chronic pain, asthma, chronic fatigue, hypertension, fibromyalgia, and a number of other conditions.

So please, stop trying to comfort us by saying "Oh, that's the worst. I get headaches, too." Stop advising us to stay away from certain foods/sounds/sunlight (we already know all of the things we should avoid) and please, for the love of God, stop telling us to go out and seize the day because "laying in bed won't help." We struggle enough as it is to stay sane while our migraines spike, and the last thing we need is a constant reminder that nothing makes us feel better. All we want is for you to understand.

It is not just a headache. We do not choose to be sick. We feel awful that sometimes we cannot perform in society the way the average person can. For those of you who suffer from migraines (chronic or not), you are not alone. Do not hide your pain. Spread awareness. And for those of you who want to know more, please stay informed.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Take A Break, Trust Me, You Need It

It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.


I recently went on a little mini vacation. Where'd I go, you ask? Nowhere.

That's the best part.

Thankfully, I have a full-time job with great benefits. One of them being paid time off. I recently used all of my PTO, plus the two days I get off a week, which turned into a long and well-needed mini staycation. I stayed at home, slept, caught up on my programs, did some homework, and decluttered.

And you know what? It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

I wasn't sick. I was mainly just stressed out and overwhelmed. It was like getting the rest I didn't know I was lacking. It was like having all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No due dates, no deadlines. No time crunches, no schedules to follow (except my school one).

I'm not telling you to take a week off work and school. But, if you have that opportunity—PTO, spring break—then take advantage of it.

You don't have to go on some extravagant vacation either. Doing something as simple as staying in bed all day, watching Netflix, and spending time with your loved ones is just as relaxing.

It also taught me the importance of self-love and taking care of yourselves. I was stressed, and I feel like I'll never be fully "de-stressed," but for a while, I was able to sit back and smell the roses. I was able to recollect myself, spend some time on me.

Sometimes, you just need a day. Whenever I feel like I need a day off, whether it be with work or school, I usually feel bad about it. I feel awful missing class, or having to call out sick to work. I eventually get over it, though, because at the end of the day, I'm taking care of myself.

Missing one day won't kill you. Take care of your mental health.

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