Morning Migraine

I woke up with the worst kind of migraine this morning. Although my research is purely anecdotal with an n of one, having suffered with anywhere from 4 to 23 migraine days a month since 1999, I feel I can say this with a fair degree of confidence. What makes it the worst kind of migraine? I’ll tell you.

1. Waking up with a migraine is definitely disagreeable. For me it usually means that very little will be accomplished that day. If possible, I will take migraine medications and head straight back to bed for an hour or two. If that isn’t possible, it means not taking the medication and still not getting much done, pushing through a fog of pain to do a lackluster job. It is depressing to wake up with my head aching – much worse than having a migraine come on in the late afternoon – at least I can see it coming! Also, because it is much more likely for me to have a migraine in the late afternoon, I have learned to do things in the morning to be certain they get done, for instance, running. A morning migraine negates this practice, obviously.

2. Knowing in some way, I helped it along. You might think it is worse to have a migraine come out of the blue, with no warning and no idea what caused it, but that isn’t the case for me. For me it is much worse knowing that I made some choice(s) that increased the chances of a migraine, like staying up way too late or going running when I already knew a migraine was simmering in the background. Or waiting too long to take the migraine medication so that by the time I take it, it’s too late, the migraine has gained too much ground for the medication to help.

3. Finally, a clear presence of valid stressors makes this morning’s migraine land firmly in worst place. Of course, everyone has stressors and many of us stress out about things that are beyond our control or that mostly exist in the “whatif” dimension.


But this week, many of my stressors are real and not imagined. Once I woke up with my head pounding, my first thought was, “Damn, I was supposed to go out today and hit the ATM to get the money for my rent.” Which led me to —> “I wonder if my paycheck cleared? Because if it didn’t then I will have to call my landlady and ask her to hold it – (a fate almost worse than death).” —->

—–> Oh, what about that automatic payment that is supposed to come out of my account on the first? Will there be enough money to cover that? Do I have to call them, too?

—–> Well, if I’m not going anywhere today, I better work on my dissertation. Wait, what? with this migraine? Who can even look at a screen?

—–> Hold on, where is that program that I am supposed to be using for my research analysis? 

—-> Whatif I left it in my old house? Is it still there? Will I have to call someone to go and get it? Then mail it to me?

—-> What kind of person leaves something that important in another state?

—-> Maybe it’s self sabotage. Maybe I’m afraid to graduate?!

—-> I’m so behind on my dissertation now, I may not make it in time to graduate.

—-> If I don’t graduate, I can’t do the postdoc!

—-> I need to get started on that right now!

—-> Except I still need the transcriptions done, and I was waiting for the student loan money to help offset that cost.

—-> Of course with my head throbbing like this, good luck getting any real work accomplished.

—-> I wish I had heard about that grant sooner – I really need some $$ help on the dissertation.

—-> I cannot believe it has taken so long to get this loan!

—-> What was I thinking I could do all the transcriptions myself?!

—-> Is there some way I can get people to donate money for the dissertation?

—-> Only a loser has to ask their mom to cosign a student loan at my age!

Ok, well, I did say that many of my stressors are real and not imagined. At any rate, obviously my financial concerns are real, as well as my dissertation timeline. This pushes the migraine into the worst category because again, it is something I did to myself.

Hmmm. Typing that last line I was reminded of something my therapist said. She posited that I have “a high tolerance for crazy.” I won’t go into the details of that theory, but part of what she was saying is that I find myself in these chaotic situations and at some level, I believe that I can – or should be able to – get myself out of them. While that is sometimes true, and on some levels that very quality has proven beneficial to me, some of the time, the situation really is kind of crazy and/or completely out of my control. My attempts to “manage” these crazy situations leave me feeling frustrated and often demoralized. Not to mention incompetent. I’ll have to let that percolate a while.

Either way, morning migraines suck.


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