Saturday, June 29, 2013

Misfits: (Day 29)

   The prompt today is free form, with no guided suggestions except for one: that if I suffer from Chronic Migraine to make sure to incorporate it in my blog today. So I hereby incorporate Chronic Migraine in today's blog.
   However, I don't think that it's fair for me to just incorporate Chronic Migraine, as that's not the only kind of migraine that I deal with that makes me stand out from the crowd.

Chronic Migraine -I'm a Misfit

     A purple ribbon symbolizes migraine awareness. The red stripe symbolizes the chronic status. In order to be diagnosed with chronic migraine, a sufferer needs to suffer from migraine at least 15 days a month. So over half the month. This is to differentiate from episodic migraines, where a person will "only" have migraines either a few days a month or less often.
    But remember, I don't have regular chronic migraine, I have Status Migranous. This simply means that their migraine has lasted for more than 72 hours straight. So a person who has a migraine for three days and then has it break on Day Four, has suffered status migranous.
   I guess you could say that I'm an over achiever in the chronic migraine/status migranous spectrum. That whole - I haven't had a day without a migraine for over 11 years - bit, since early fall of '01 when I got an eight week debilitating migraine that just decided to stick around pretty put paid on me fitting in with most of the "Normal" migraine community. But that's ok, I was already a misfit.

Pediatric Migraine 
- The Beginning of Being a Misfit -

    The pink and blue stripes symbolize the boys and girls who suffer from chronic migraine or chronic daily headache. By age 15, one in ten children will have suffered a migraine. I find this a horrible statistic, as it goes unrecognized. And yes, sure, some could argue that it's only 10% of school aged children have or will suffer a migraine, but I think that it needs to be paid more attention to in general. 
    I know that I've had migraines (or at least headaches) for as long as I can remember. I remember hiding under the stairs in preschool, sobbing because my head hurt and I didn't want to have to go outside and play with my friends. I think I was maybe 3 or 4? I just grew up with the migraines. I didn't like them, they hurt, but, as a really little kid, I thought that it was just a part of who I was. And so it was. The migraines grew with me, getting more severe with age. 
    I started to really stick out from my peers in mid-school when my 2 week migraine runs turned into 4-6 week migraines, and then, finally, the infamous 8 week migraine happened and all bets were off.

Chronic Migraine & Depression
 - How I Stick Out Even More -

    The purple ribbon with the black half-stripe represents depression. Chronic migraine and depression are often found together as they're both have roots in chemical imbalances of various chemicals and signals in the brain. That's why antidepressants can effect migraines and migraine medications effect depression. 
    When I was forced out of school in the spring semester of my junior year because of my migraines, I went into to a depressive episode that lasted for close to two years and was so severe that I started to shut down my organ functions and was sleeping up to 20 hours out of 24. It was a terrible time, and during that time I just shoved everything in a "deal with it" pile, rolled over, and went back to sleep. Sleep was my only vaguely effective painkiller. But it was causing its own problems like the beginning hints of body shutdown. 
    Fortunately for my sake, I had a wonderful support system that eventually took a metaphorical cattle prod to me and made me wake up and get better. And by "get better", I obviously don't mean that I got cured of my status migranous. What it means is it made me wake up and face reality in a way that many don't ever have to.
    I've now been going to both a psychiatrist and the cattle prod holding body-centered psychotherapist for so long that I've basically lost track of the years; I think 6 years? And when I really decided to take advantage of the opportunity I was given, I learned to look at my migraines, and my life in general, in a way I guess most people never get. 
    I've been made aware of just how differently I view things like the pain of my chronic migraine through this month's prompts when I've been surprised or taken aback by what I perceive as negativity about the migraines. I've come to accept the pain as a part of Life. I don't have to like it, I just have to accept that it is there, only then can I move on to finding the positive. I'm almost afraid that people reading these entries will think that I've given into the pain, or else I'm faking how badly I hurt because I don't have it effect my life the way that it seems to most chronic migraine suffers. 

Chronic Migraine Trifecta
- The Last Way I am a Misfit-

    So I have now given three ways, Chronic, Pediatric, and Depression, in which I am a misfit from most of the migraine community, making me stick out like a sore thumb in most online communities. I'm learning how to blend the edges of what I think with what is appropriate for the situation. And yet again, I am a misfit. For while I may be a perhaps extreme case of each of the examples given, there is a badge for all three ribbons to be displayed at once already made up. So I am a misfit by not being the total misfit that I first appear.

Quantum in me fuit,


  1. Tips to deal with easy tips for choronc migranes
    Drink liquids frequently.
    Drink a cup of coffee a day (if you drink more reduce your intake to two a day)
    Sleep and relaxation, take a break every day.
    Relaxation for reduction of adrenalin in your body.
    See a doctor if your migraines are frequent and occur in a regular pattern. At the first signs of a migraine, take some medication – even analgesics or ibuprofen with lots of water and lie down.

  2. Gretchen,
    Just found your blog and can I just say, it is awesome! This post rings true for me as well, I fit into all three categories. Thank you for putting yourself out there and for using your gift of writing, I am a horrible writer, to further awareness for us all!

    Blessings from one Spoonie to another,


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