Healthy Living

What Makes A Migraine 1000x Worse Than A Headache

This is dedicated to anyone who has ever thought I was a baby because I can’t handle a headache and anyone who has said: take some Tylenol”. But it’s also a big thank you to those of you who have helped me feel better when I have a migraine, those who make sure I avoid my triggers, and those who have understood that I am really sick.

It starts as a small feeling but I know what’s coming. I try to calm myself down; I don’t want to give it the power to consume me.

But I slowly break and the pain comes on. I take the one pill that seems to work before I get too nauseous. Heat floods over me.

With an open mouth

So that the saliva I create won’t make me throw up.

It’s loud.

It’s the ticking of a bomb.

It has no rhythm but it’s so loud.

It is the sound of my impending explosion.

That’s the only thing to make it better;

The only way to feel better is to take out my brain.

All I want is a grapefruit spoon;

You know, the ones with the serrated edge,

I want that to carve through my skull.

I want that to spoon out my brain.

I sip water with my eyes shut.

It pours all over my pillow.

I cooled me down because I was sweating.

I throw up the water.

I am now freezing.

The lights on the digital clock are too bright.

It looks like the sun at high noon across a desert.

It’s my boss.

I say I can’t come in.

I explain perfectly what’s happening.

I open my eyes minutes later;

3 hours have passed but I still have 6 missed calls from work.

That conversation was a hallucination.

I tilt my head and for a moment it’s gone.

Then the pulsing begins.

In my legs.

I feel the blood beating throughout my body.

I feel my arms but cannot move them.

I open one eye hours later;

It has been 3 minutes.

I break a saltine into pieces with my thumb and forefinger.

It feels like I used a brick.

That’s how heavy my one hand is to move.

I can’t move my body enough to use more than one limb at a time.

I feel the weight of the world on top of me.


Not emotionally; not spiritually.

It literally feels like weights are laying across my body.

One corner of the broken cracker

It’s all I’ve had in 10 hours.

It will be 24 hours before I eat again.

And it will be plain, simple food.

It will be one helping, eaten slowly.

It will be 48 hours before I’m really me again.

During those hours in between eating solid food and feeling better, I am empty. It isn’t that I’m hungry or tired or upset. I am just a shell.

I get small pains in my head; I have trouble articulating. I feel out of place and unmotivated.

So please don’t tell me to power through it or that you’ve had a bad headache once. Don’t laugh when I say that it isn’t loud or bright or tell me I’m being dramatic. Because that ticking bomb I thought I heard was a video game controller. Everything was on mute and the door was shut but I still heard it.

Originally written by Gwendolyn Poppe on Unwritten.