A few days ago, I experienced the worst migraine in the history of mankind… ok, maybe not mankind, but definitely within my lifetime. For a great illustrated guide to what the life of a migraine, check out this infographic.
I’m that person who used to brush off those who suffered from migraines, (Sorry! I was stubborn, and now I know better!) thinking they were just bad headaches. I now understand the horrific pain that is a migraine.
I’ve experienced a couple before, but this one, this came with:
• flashes of light
• stiff as a board neck
• pain so bad I couldn’t sleep, or move
• extreme light sensitivity
• body aches
In my desperation, I was grasping for anything that eased the pain.
Here are 5 things that helped me:
- Complete darkness… or as close to it as possible. I’m serious. Draw the curtains, close the blinds, get your vampire on. The less light, the better. For me, light triggers my eyes to strain, which causes flashes of light, and more pain.
- Sunglasses… if complete darkness isn’t enough (it wasn’t for me!) I threw some sunglasses on to block out an extra radiant light. I had aviators lying around, but I would’ve gone for those old school wrap around style. The less light, the less strain.
- Cool wash cloth… migraines typically feel like inflammation of the brain, caused by environmental triggers, putting pressure on the skull, muscles, and nerves surrounding. Coolness helps ease the feeling of swelling and takes the focus off the pain. I held mine right over my eyeballs, which helped reduce the light as well. I also placed it on my neck to relax some of the tension.
- Close those laptops and shut those smartphones off… those screens are deadly to migraine sufferers. I looked at my phone for a couple seconds, WITH my sunglasses on, and had to shut it off. Your Twitter account can wait. Just say no.
- Peppermint and coconut oil… a gorgeous mixture of holistic healing for my migraine. Always dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil. Coconut oil wasn’t greasy and didn’t have any added scents, which can be another trigger for recurring migraines. I applied the mixture directly to my temples, gently, and put a little under my nose.
I truly appreciate the pain migraine sufferers go through. It is completely incapacitating and absolutely miserable. I hope in sharing my quick fixes, they are of some use to you. The other fix… is time. Don’t plan on doing anything while fighting a migraine, I was planted on the couch for a day and a half. Let yourself rest. Rest cures so much.
What are your quick fixes?
*Thoughts are my own. I am definitely not a medical professional, just someone sharing what worked for me. 🙂
Throughout my journey with depression and bipolar, I’ve realized 2 very important things. The extremes of life are where they (depression and bipolar) want me to be, but the gray is where I strive to be. I desire to exist in the gray, because that is the balance between the high of my mania, and the low of my depression. It’s a little like doing standing ‘flys’ on a weight machine, except you never let the weight go.
So, if you’re like me, and think the gray is a good thing, here are five ways you may be in the gray:
- You are content in the moment. My mania wants me to plan every aspect of the future, and my depression tells me to remember all the things I’ve messed up in the past. The sweet spot is right in the middle of that. That’s where I’m humble and grateful for each and every thing in my life. (God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now. -Elisabeth Elliot)
- You can have fluent conversations. When I’m surviving in my mania, I literally forget words and how to put them together to form a sentence. I think it’s because I’m thinking about the future, what the other person is thinking about me, if I’m making sense, and forming words all at the same time. In the gray, it’s like the puzzle pieces fall together. (Introverts: we dislike small talk, but we are fluent in the language of ideas and dreams.)
- You love beyond yourself. In the gray, I am as balanced as possible which means I have room to care and love others, rather than worrying about where I am. I believe my purpose in life is to spread and share joy with others, to make them smile, and laugh – to think about the good things, and let go of the not-so-good things. When I’m in the gray, I can help others find their gray. To me, that’s the ultimate form of serving. (Proverbs 11:27 Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one who finds the gold.)
- You are able to listen actively. In the gray, I am able to slow down and filter one thought at a time. Instead of wanting to speak and vomit all things in my mind out, I’m balanced, and available to listen, really listen, to people in my life. (God gave us mouths that close, and ears that don’t. That must tell us something. -anonymous)
- Your anxiety is low. I like to relate the idea of black and white to the amount of oxygen I’m receiving. Black, the low, is when you’re so out of air, you begin drowning – causing anxiety. White, the high, is when I’m hooked up to extra oxygen, and get anxious with all the extra energy I have. The gray is where I can stand, and just be. (1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.)
Whether the gray is a positive or negative in your mind, it’s always good to continue to ask questions and check in with yourself. I do this, constantly, every day. Eventually, even if it’s just for a moment, the fragrance of gray finds me.
Find your balance, whether it’s black, white, or gray.