September 7, 2011

Dealing with Increasing Migraines

I don't know how many of you have migraines, but it's near impossible to write through one. Even the painless ones, and yes there is such a thing. 

They're almost like having a petit mal seizure but without the zoning out. Sometimes I'll see bright lights or shadows. Others I get vertigo so badly I have to lie down on the floor or crawl to keep from slamming into walls or falling over. The really scary ones completely mess up my ability to manipulate words. It's like how my dyslexia gets ten times worse when I'm sick or tired, only instead of making it just difficult to read or pronounce words, I loose the ability completely for several hours. I can't even bring the letters into focus or remember half my vocabulary.

They used to be rare occurrences. Then about two years ago, I started getting them something chronic. After several months on beta blockers to prevent and control them, I learned certain foods or additives can trigger migraines. It turns out the artificial sweetener I was using in my coffee didn't agree with my system, and switching to natural sugar had me virtually migraine free once again.

However, I've begun having them more frequently again. I kept track of them for several months and soon noticed a pattern. I was having auras and full blown migraines whenever CMEs or solar winds were hitting the earth's magnetosphere. The same is true for Mom and some other migraine sufferers in the family as well. (It's even a trend noticed and prepared for by hospitals, so I know I'm not alone even though it's not something that's been studied so far as I can tell.)

So what's a writer to do?

Other than keeping triggers to a minimum, there isn't much I can do unless I want to go back on a daily medication that causes lots of other issues I find just as troublesome. And I don't. I just now got my system back in order after last year's stint on them.

And on the plus side, slipping on a character and working through troublesome scenes makes for a good escape from the pain when they do come.


  1. It's impossible to do much of anything with a migraine, and you've provided tons of useful info to at least try and avoid triggers. Happy to meet you fellow Fantasy writer. I've just found you on the Campaign. I am followin you.

  2. Thank you. I was hoping it might prove useful and wouldn't just come off as me whinging.

  3. I'm familiar with the kind of headaches that make impossible anything requiring higher brain function than that of sleeping. I know everyone is different, but I've found my triggers to be stress and food related. The stress causes the big headaches, and food such as splenda, sulfites and tofu cause the low level headaches. Hope these migraines don't hit you too often!

  4. I used to have occasional migraines, and as strange as it sounds, doing hypnotherapy sessions with my brother pretty much stopped them. Part of that was just that it helped me tune into the sense that I was taking on too much stress or that a migraine was looming for other reasons, so I could rest, and that usually headed it off. Your mileage may vary.

    It's nice to meet you, I'm in your Fantasy campaigners group. See you soon down the campaign trail!

  5. I don't get migraines any more, but I get wicked tension headaches. I prefer blogs that post personal problems that prevent writing as well as the writing. I never thought to serialize one of my stoeies, hmm. So I'm giving you the Versatile Blogger Award, which should be posted on my blog by tonight at the latest. I had a serious setback thanks to Bill Gates and his infernal updates.

  6. Ms. Wiedbrauk, thank you. They hit me more often than they did a few years ago, but it's way better than it was before I realized the artificial sweetener trigger. Maybe one every month or two vs. one or two a year (puberty through college) or three to four days a week thanks to sweeteners.

    @ Kelworthfiles, it's much the same with me and the solar storms. Just a bit of a heads up to know I'll be more sensitive to light, smells, and sounds. Avoiding outside without my sunglasses and having ear plugs helps prevent them most of the time. Glad to year you found something that helps you!

    Wow, thank you Ms. Hart! I've never won a blogging award before. And I agree, switching up the topic now and again does make for a much more interesting blog.