Migraines can be aggravating, painful, and downright debilitating. Learn how these young women manage their migraines and stay healthy.
Mayra: It’s like the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, times 10.
Mayra: And it sucks. It sucks.
Liz: I was diagnosed probably two years into college, officially. Growing up, I just called them really bad headaches. My mom and my grandma and her brother also all had migraines, so it’s the hereditary factor.
Cara: I usually have a pounding sensation in the back of my head and I can predict like, if I don’t take medication within the next 20 minutes, it’s going to be really bad.
Jenny: My migraines always have a tendency to, like, flip. Like, they’ll start in one place and then move and then move back.
Liz: Yup. It’s usually almost always on the right side of my head and it’s the front part right here and it feels like somebody’s taken a nail gun and just maybe shot me like four or five times around that part of my brain. I can’t move. I can’t open my eyes. I just want to lay there.
Mayra: Mine have gotten so bad that even the medicine that I’m on doesn’t work anymore. Every day it’s like a learning process for me.
Jenny: I’ve had a few auras. They’re usually… like a spot in my field of vision will be out of focus, like kind of shimmering.
Mayra: My migraines can last anywhere from a couple hours to days. It’s never just one day. It’s two or three.
Cara: For me, the most it was about three days. But I couldn’t move. I literally had to lay, like, under my covers and be like, “Nobody, just don’t come near me.”
Liz: Yeah. It’s kind of like light-hearted when you say that, but when you’re in the moment, it’s so depressing because it’s like I want to live, you know. I want to go have fun, I want to go be outside.
Cara: I feel like people really don’t understand how bad it can get. I basically have to eat really well and I know like if I have anything with nitrates, it will trigger it off immediately.
Liz: I can’t drink alcohol. I can’t eat chocolate.
Jenny: I would die if I couldn’t eat chocolate. Like, literally, you’re very strong.
Liz: Thank you.
Jenny: So my triggers are stress and also sleep is such a big factor.
Liz: Another thing that triggers them for me are really strong smells. If somebody’s got really strong perfume or, like, you walk down the street and there’s really strong car exhaust fumes. I have like a little rollerball of perfume, I guess, but it’s essential oils and it’s peppermint. If I get that nausea that’s coming on with the onset of a migraine because of a really strong odor, I’ll try to smell that.
Jenny: I always have my pills and my injector pen.
Liz: I remember I took a diary. I had a headache diary when I was going through the initial stages and like trying to track, okay, this the day that it’s happening. This is what I ate that day.
Jenny: People just assume not being in pain is like, the default. We shouldn’t think of that as the default. I try to really appreciate any time that I am not in physical pain.
Cara: I feel like it’s so important to not take every day for granted, because you never know what tomorrow may bring.
Liz: Surround yourself with people who understand, and it’s hard because there is that stigma. Are we exaggerating how much pain we’re in? I would do anything to be “normal” and if you have to let a few people go that are too judgmental, let them go.
Mayra: It’s always okay to take a day off. We’re so used to working or so used to accommodating other people, we forget about us. Live your life as it is and try to work around it, and if you need a day off, take the day off.