The Headache: Coping with Migraines
When I was 16, I experienced hell – pure, unadulterated hell. What I thought was just another headache was so much more. The light was killing me, and the drop of a pin sounded like a drum beat.
I covered my eyes and begged for release, but it was to no avail. With each passing minute, my headache grew worse until I thought I would explode with the acute pain.
But even then it endured. I alternately cried and vomited, teetering between fever and chills for the next 14 hours. Exhausted and drained, I fell into a deep sleep, eternally grateful for that bit of peace at last. When I awoke, the migraine was gone, but there was no shining sun in view.
My headache persisted as a shadow of its former self, granting me only a veiled peace; a dull, constant pain casting a gray cloud over everything.
My migraines continue and are now a fact of my life. They made my junior year of high school, that oh-so-important year, even harder, which severely affected my performance. Every corner I turned was a dead end: Failure it said, Disappointment it said.
The negativity penetrated every aspect of my life. For a girl who always had everything in order with a clear path laid out, this lack of power, this "failure," was my worst nightmare come true.
I started feeling depressed and started sinking into my misery. It was my first major setback, and I struggled to learn how to cope with this first boulder in my path. However, it wasn't in my nature to be cowardly.
With the help of a good friend, I slowly, painfully, confronted my fears head on, and over time I eventually regained my equilibrium and control. After giving myself a good shake, I took a metaphorical look in the mirror and gained a new outlook, and a new inspiration.
First was my health. Being an athlete, I had always taken my health for granted. With the mental and physical setbacks that accompanied my migraines, however, I realized the necessity of cherishing my health so that I could enjoy life.
Every day that I awake healthy I count as a blessing, and I try to take advantage of every moment. Working through my pain, I have learned to focus my energies and take things task by task, instead of letting myself be stressed out and overwhelmed.
Experienced in coping with difficulty, I know now how far I am capable of working and which battles to fight. While I still deal with my migraines, I don't allow them to dictate my life anymore. In hindsight, I can view them as a benediction; not only did my situation force me to re-evaluate my life, but it freed me from a "doing school" attitude.
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Written By: Sarah Adams, age 20
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: October 2013