I’ve been getting migraines for about 10 years. At first, I'd only get them a couple of times a year, but now they come a couple times a month, sometimes as often as once a week. If you’ve never had a migraine, then you can’t even begin to understand just how debilitating they can be. With a headache, even a bad one, you can function; with a migraine, even the smallest tasks become impossible. When one strikes, I have to take to my bed from anywhere from one to three days and just stay put in complete darkness and silence.
I've tried everything to limit how often I get migraines. I take Chinese herbs daily and get acupuncture treatments regularly. I like to think they’re helping, but I’m honestly not sure. When I feel one coming on, I immediately run for the codeine and rub peppermint oil on my temples, before crawling back into bed to wait it out, because that’s all you can do with a migraine: Wait. Well, that, and cry.
Still, some people who get headaches like to think they understand our struggle. Sorry, but a headache and a migraine are not even in the same league. Not sure if you’re experiencing a migraine or a headache? Here are the differences between the two. Because there are some struggles only we migraine sufferers can truly understand.
HEADACHE: RESPONDS TO OVER-THE-COUNTER PAINKILLERS LIKE ADVIL AND TYLENOL
MIGRAINE: LAUGHS in the face of YOUR OVER-THE-COUNTER PAINKILLERS
HEADACHE: YOU KNOW THERE’S AN END IN SIGHT
MIGRAINE: YOU SETTLE IN FOR THE LONG HAUL, BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT CAN TAKE DAYS TO GO AWAY
HEADACHE: YOU HAVE YOUR REGULAR APPETITE
MIGRAINE: THE NAUSEA IS SO INTENSE THAT YOU SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME IN THE BATHROOM THROWING UP
HEADACHE: LIGHT IS ANNOYING, BUT DOABLE
MIGRAINE: LIGHT IS YOUR WORST ENEMY AND ONLY DARKNESS WILL DO
HEADACHE: AS LONG AS SOMEONE ISN’T SCREAMING, SOUND ISN’T A BIG DEAL
MIGRAINE: even the sound of your own breathing is too loud
HEADACHE: SEX CAN ACTUALLY HELP WITH THE PAIN, THANKS TO ENDORPHINS
MIGRAINE: THE THOUGHT OF SOMEONE BEING EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE TO YOU IS THE WORST
And makes you want to throw up again.
HEADACHE: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CAN ACTUALLY HELP
MIGRAINE: ANY SORT OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY WILL RESULT IN wanting to throw up
HEADACHE: YOUR VISION IS A-OK
MIGRAINE: IT’S LIKE SOMEONE SMEARED MUCUS ALL OVER YOUR RETNA, or you're seeing spots
HEADACHE: YOUR SENSE OF SMELL REMAINS UNAFFECTED
MIGRAINE: YOU’RE PRETTY SURE YOU CAN SMELL WHAT THE PEOPLE DOWN THE BLOCK ARE COOKING
And it smells like a dead cat.
HEADACHE: they JUST, WELL, HAPPEN
MIGRAINE: you likely EXPERIENCE AN ‘AURA’ BEFOREHAND
And it basically feels like someone slipped you acid without telling you.
HEADACHE: unless YOU're COMPLAINING, NO WILL KNOW YOU’RE IN PAIN
MIGRAINE: YOU LOOK LIKE SOMEONE SUCKED THE LIFE OUT OF YOU, LEAVING YOU PALE AND ASHY
HEADACHE: YOU CAN DRIVE A CAR, DO YOUR WORK, AND PROBABLY EVEN STAND ON YOUR HEAD IF ASKED
MIGRAINE: YOU can only crouch in a fetal position
HEADACHE: THE PAIN STAYS IN YOUR HEAD, WHERE IT BELONGS
MIGRAINE: THE THROBBING ATTACHES ITSELF TO YOUR NECK, TOO
HEADACHE: might be the result of A HANGOVER
MIGRAINE: imagine THE WORST HANGOVER OF YOUR LIFE. now double it.
But you didn't even get to enjoy the fun of drinking the night before.
HEADACHE: YOU CAN STILL DEAL WITH PEOPLE
MIGRAINE: YOU HATE EVERYONE
Especially whomever in your family was evil enough to pass the migraine gene on to you. (I'm looking at you, Mom.)