As soon as I went into first grade, I started complaining a lot about headaches. We had to get a doctor’s note to bring my own special bottle of Advil to keep in the nurse’s office. It wasn’t until years later that I was officially diagnosed with migraines. I remember my doctor apologizing that we didn’t “catch it” earlier, but it wasn’t as common back then. Now, we hear about migraines all the time.
I don’t usually talk about my experiences with migraines very often. I try to deal with it quietly; I don’t want people to think I am complaining or asking for pity. However, it is a huge part of who I am. It is why I left teaching and began pursuing The Love Nerds. Putting my health first was and is a really hard decision, and my husband encouraged me to make an effort to come to terms with it. To accept it. I am a highly driven person in a career focused world, so making this leap into small business doesn’t make sense to everyone in my life. It doesn’t always make sense to me either. Here is what I do know: I love not having migraines as often, I love having more energy and staying up later so I can hang out with my husband, I love The Love Nerds, and I love all of you. So, I thought I would share some information about the “other” Maggie, Migraine Maggie, so you can get to know me a little better. (Plus, you get a little preview of our anniversary shoot with the fabulous photographer Robyn Aaron!)
…has a hard time speaking. I cannot think of the right words or I start yoda speak, switching words around. I actually avoid conversations with most people when I am like this because I don’t want to be laughed at or feel stupid. It can be so incredibly frustrating to not be able to vocalize a simple word. This was one of the hardest aspects of trying to teach with migraines; my seniors used to help fill in the blank but my sophomores would just awkwardly stare at me. These brain skips just don’t happen when I am in pain either. Migraine suffers can exhibit this trait both before and after the worst of the migraine. Many times, it is how my husband realizes I am going to have a migraine.
…likes really greasy or spicy food. My sense of taste is dulled during a migraine episode so I like fried food, pepperoni pizza or hot buffalo wings because I can actually taste it.
…is overly sensitive and emotional. It becomes impossible for me to think or process anything; I am generally so overwhelmed with the noise in my head and pain that i just become overwhelmed. I don’t know if everyone is like this, but the pain makes everything feel heightened. The little insecurities of making my small business work or leaving teaching feel insurmountable. My mom always reminds me that getting upset makes my head worse, but sometimes my emotions are bigger than logic. So, when everything becomes impossible for me, I can become impossible for others.
…has vision problems. One of my biggest concerns when I was commuting to my school last year was not being able to drive home. A couple times I left early from work just in case; I was having other subtle symptoms and I didn’t want to start having tunnel vision or spots before I got home.
…hates having to miss out on events and hates not being “fun”. I try really hard to make everything and be everything to everyone when I have a migraine. It can be really hard. I do sometimes have to say no and put something to the side, but I also hate not being asked. I was having a really hard time last year. My migraines were being triggered by conditions at work, and I was experiencing almost daily pain. I would come home and spend the rest of the night on the couch or in bed. It was horrible, but it was worse when a very good friend told me they didn’t tell me she bought a house and moved because she didn’t want to bother me because of my migraines. I always make an effort to be there for the people that I love despite my medical issues and would have really loved some happy news. So my suggestion? Even if your friend has a chronic illness, keep them in the loop. Maybe a phone call would be hard, but I am sure they would love a text or email.
I hope that these things don’t make you disconnect me from your social media or blog readers and I hope that you keep coming back for my recipes and projects. I hope that maybe this will ring true for other people or those in your life and that you will want to know more about migraines. And I hope you check out the fabulous Robyn who took the pictures above. So yeah – I am done!
Do any of you have migraines or know anyone with migraines?