Post-Migraine Depression

Disclaimer: Yesterday I suffered my first migraine in sixteen years or so.  I had just been telling a friend how long it had been since I’d had my last one and the best way to overcome them when suddenly, a few days later, when I was standing on a ladder putting away material in my studio, I grew dizzy and would have fallen off the ladder if I hadn’t had a chair back and file cabinet to steady myself on.  Soon after, the migraine descended, along with the nausea and this time with a shortness of breath that was probably psychosomatic but which made me feel as though I was going to suffocate.

What was worse is that there was no one around–no one in my neighborhood–no one I could think to call.  When I tried to think of someone to email or Skype, my mind fogged and I couldn’t figure out how to type the letters or who exactly to call–just to have a sense of presence.  I was too sick to talk and could barely even stand the distraction of calling on Skype.  Nor could I figure out how to actually make the call.  Luckily a friend who was about to leave on a trip to another town and who was already connected to me by Skype, contacted an old friend and she called me and talked me down a bit, poor thing, talking for ten minutes or so without relief.  All I needed was some soft distraction so I did not think about not being able to breathe.

Today just the slight edge of a headache is there. Enough so I dare not bend down or chance seeing a bright light or smelling the odor of Jacaranda, which I am afraid is what caused the problem this time, but I have started thinking about old age and being alone and vulnerable and all of those things I’ve never really thought of seriously before.  When I tried to write something else entirely, what got written was the rather self-indulgent piece below.  My impulse is to put it away and to write something else, but I also have a curiosity about whether others might have the same feelings sometimes so I just might have another look at it and print it with the understanding that when such things are written, they sometimes serve as their own antidote.

Or, perhaps the extreme of what I wrote is simply priming the pump–a surge to get me going.  Well, I’ll have another read and we shall see.  If I do print it, I’d appreciate comments–lots of them–no matter how negative.  My grandmother used to say a Dutch phrase when she was feeling sorry for herself, “Mama Miet mi Dote!” (Mama might be dead.) It became our family’s saying, only my mother (her daughter-in-law), who didn’t understand Dutch, said “Mama Milk My Goat.”  My dad thought this was funny so never told us differently until I went to college and tried to use it and got blank stares from all those who didn’t know the phrase I thought everyone used.  It was then my dad ‘fessed up.  So, “Mama Milk My Goat.” Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself in the ditty below, but it helps to rave sometimes and tomorrow is another day.  For now, I’m lying low for one more day.

Post-Migraine Depression

My life is growing narrower, the walls are closing in.
I don’t care where I’m going or care where I have been.
I never thought life would wear out or that I’d tire of it,
but suddenly the life around me does not seem to fit.
We’re schooled to be cheerful and to make the best of life–
to emphasize our happiness and overlook the strife,
but somehow everything has changed. Perhaps it is the weather,
for suddenly I feel my life is on too short a tether.

I think I’ve worn my old life out but cannot seek a new one.
I’ve simply not the energy to try again to do one.
So I shall lie abed today to contemplate my fate–
to have a look at what I do and what is on my plate.
I need to feed the dogs and then to feed my own self, too–
to dress myself and try to put each shoe in front of shoe.
My grandma was a martyr and perhaps I am the same,
but I don’t try to make this into any other’s blame.

I simply feel that I must stir the pot up once again–
take off on an adventure someplace I’ve never been.
Find a niche and fill it and live a simple life.
Try to find diversion without turmoil or strife.
To inspect the Caribbean or a tiny town in Spain.
Live alone in solitude with nothing to explain.
My family is scattered and has no need of me.
In terms of obligations, I am really fancy free.

So if you do not see me later on this blog,
just know that I have gone away and slipped my usual cog.
Perhaps I’ll be beach combing or traveling out to sea.
Perhaps I’ll be investigating what else I can be.
My life will soon be over and although I’ve had the best,
I feel that I need more of it before my final rest.
Or, I may not stir at all. I guess I must admit,
perhaps my need is satisfied by contemplating it.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/we-built-this-city/

31 thoughts on “Post-Migraine Depression

  1. Cee Neuner

    Awww I wish I had been there for you yesterday. I could have healed our migraine quickly. That is one thing I can heal (even remotely). I know how you felt, I get that way when I’m too tired and over worked. My body still shuts down at times. May peace be at your doorstep and surround you today.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Cee…In the past I would just relax and imagine the energy of my head pain going into my hands to warm them and I would eventually fall asleep, but this time the anxiety kept me from doing that. My friend helped, just by talking in a soothing voice and in the end with a guided meditation. I never have had them since there was a medication for them but perhaps now I should lay in a supply, just in case, for the next time. Thanks so much for your good thoughts.Today I am laying low. Just had a swim and need to go out for provisions, but other than that I’m not doing anything strenuous. ..Judy

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Mark. I’m avoiding the bright light today but feel 98% better. I’ve said before that it takes bouts of illness to make us ecstatic just for normalcy…but I keep having to be reminded. Martyr was not a positive term when it came to my Grandmother, so I do not seek out the title, so thanks for reassuring me in this respect. I know that you deal with some health problems yourself and probably are much more stoic about them than I am. Thanks so much for the words of encouragement and thanks for informing us so much with your well-written and multi-faceted blog. Judy

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  2. Anton Wills-Eve

    Firstly, Judy, let me say how much I hope you’re recoveing from your really painful and frightening experience. Brief though the gap was you were greatly missed by many. One of the big plusses of blogging in the way we do is making digital friends who we know we shall probably never meet but who still forge a bond of happy friendship which so often cheers us up when we need it most. I am certainly in your debt for this. So keep on making so many of us grateful for just having you there.Take care, cheer up and stop reminding me I am a lot older than you! 🙂 God bless. Anton.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Ha! Thanks, Anton, for reminding me I’m not necessarily the oldest blogger out there. As I’ve said to others, today is so much better. I won’t repeat what I’ve said above as you can see, hopefully, what I’ve written. I will say that I do feel the community between bloggers–which was a surprise as I had heard so much about negative comments on blogs, but since I’ve never experienced one, I am grateful for this one, in particular, that offers such support. Thanks for your kind thoughts and generous words of appreciation. I’m glad we’ve both found this world and the people in it. Judy

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  3. Relax

    Exactly how I’ve been feeling (except for the migraine part). Are you perhaps also by any chance dehydrated? The aging body really hates that sort of thing — it put me down twice last summer, and I finally connected the dots. As for the ennui or “been there, done that, don’t want to do that anymore/again/anew” — let us know how you’ll have conquered it. 🙂

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Relax. Today most of the headache was gone but lest it come back, I cancelled all plans, had a swim and a hot shower and answered a call from someone really in duress–and all four things helped to put things back into perspective. I know that probably there are issues that still need to be dealt with and these niggling feelings of unease mount to eventually bring about a change, but I don’t know what it is right now. I do know that comments from generous readers like yourself do make a big difference and I thank you for taking the time to do so. As for the dehydration, I keep forgetting that and I know it is huge. Thanks for the reminder…Judy

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  4. Maggie Wilson

    I have migraines less frequently not since my hysterectomy. They were/are related to hormone levels for me. I have never experienced the symptoms you’ve described – dizziness or shortness of breath. You know you the best, and the pattern of your migraine symptoms, so please forgive this next question that sounds doubting: are you certain it was “only” a migraine and not a stroke?

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I know that is what I thought, also, Maggie, but it followed the pattern of severe headache and nausea and today it seems to be lifted and i notice no remaining symptoms. I’m due for a checkup so will certsinly have them check that. Thanks for mentioning it. I’ve had the dizziness off and on for some time, especially when I look up, so that might have been incidental…also the shortness of breath. I think the migraine just brought on anxiety which caused the fear that led to the shortness of breath. I sound like a hypochondriac!!! I’ve really had a great year without much illness, so this is not the norm. Thanks for your regard….Judy

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  5. Martha Kennedy

    It’s OK to feel down. I have since I got this cold, asking lots of questions I know it’s wiser not to. Sometimes what we want to get away from is ourselves, our malaise, our fears.

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  6. lifelessons Post author

    Thanks, Martha. I almost didn’t post it but then thought that if we only post positive things, how does anyone else ever know that others share their down periods. Thanks for giving me the same assurance. Things are already turning around today..Judy

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  7. Anna Sime

    So frightening. It is during an episode like this, I might have wanted to call for my mother. As such episodes become more frequent or perhaps more severe as time passes, we realize each moment’s importance. Though vaguely aware when we are feeling great, it is those frightening times that make us grateful for all the good moments – after the fact. So, for now, grab a handful of gratefulness. I, among many others, am grateful for you and for your recovering spirit.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Anna, for your generous words. I think sometimes we are so careful to put on the correct face for each other that we miss seeing that we all have our vulnerable moments. It is these moments, of course, where we feel our humanity. I think when we write them down and acknowledge them perhaps it is half of the battle in scaring them away. I’m sure psychiatrists have know this all along, but we have to learn these things for ourselves. At any rate, I am half embarrassed and half glad I wrote the post. Tomorrow will be a cheerier one, for sure–Good for me and good for all. Thanks for adding your wisdom to the matter at hand. Judy

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  8. nonsmokingladybug

    It felt so wrong to click on “like”, because I don’t like the fact you were feeling so miserable. Sounds almost like a panic attack. I was always wondering “are online friends real” and then I learned, they are as real as I want them to be. I am here, just an email or click away. Feel better soon :-).

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  9. Laura L.

    I’m so glad I haven’t had migraines. They sound awful. How disappointing to be without them for so long and then get blind-sided like that.

    Now… why is it that people think only “positive” emotions are legit? Sad is every bit as legit as happy. Fear, depression, anger, feeling tired… all of those things are normal and I sure wish people would stop feeling the need to apologize for them or wonder, if they are admitted to, how they will be “taken.”

    Having a bout of depression (and I wonder about that being chemically linked and directly, physiologically linked, to a migraine, like auras and nausea, etc are.) is normal and is not the same thing as clinical depression. Feeling mopey about getting older, especially after something physical happens to reminds us of our mortality, is…normal.

    Not fun. Not happy. But normal and understandable, and it feels better when you get to share your humanity. So thank you for sharing yours. 🙂

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Yes, Ma’am. You are welcome and I promise, no more apologizing. I think perhaps we do it because we fear someone new will think it is the norm for us? But you are right. If we have the confidence in our readers to talk about a topic, we should not feel the need to apologize for it. I always appreciate your comments, Laura…Judy

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  10. Allenda Moriarty

    Oh, Dear Judy. I am so sorry that you had such a horrible day yesterday. Very frightening. So thankful that you didn’t fall off of the ladder. I’m glad you are feeling better today and just resting and spending some soothing time relaxing in the pool. You know after our catastrophic last few years, that you never need be embarrassed about admitting to a few dips in your usual vivacity. Growing older does have its challenges, and we try to meet them with resolve and as much good humor as we can muster, but sometimes we just have to cry out and ask for help and understanding. It’s foreign territory, which we don’t want to have to explore, but you are in good company, legions of us are right in step with you. Wishing you an even better day tomorrow than you had today. Also, you have a standing free pass at our pool, should your wanderings cause you to stray to Alabama.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Allenda…You certainly did your most to save me from my last emergency…do you remember? I think that one involved breath as well. As I recall, I scared first Jane and then you half to death! You have certainly had your share of medical emergencies since then and are just as well far away from mine…I hope I’ve had my quota for perpetuity. What do you think the chances of that are? At any rate, Judy King emailed me the name of a miracle drug to stop migraines so I’m going to get one or two just in case. The last time I had a migraine I don’t think they’d been invented yet. xo J

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  11. Tamara

    I used to get migraines really bad, too. No more since menopause (knock on wood), but now they are replaced by tension headaches which are different but also tend to last for days. And I’ve had a couple of anxiety attacks, but never at the same time as a migraine. That must have been horrible to have both at once!! I totally understand the dark places our minds can go, but I am grateful mine only wanders around the edges of depression and never gets swept into the abyss that many others get into. It seems that your mind is not prone to depression, but wanders close at times also. By all means, take a trip someplace you’ve never been….or someplace you loved on your journeys before if you want to. I loved Greece, though it is a challenge with the language! I don’t know exactly where you live, but personally, my new house is right on the edge of a small town, so I can connect with people if I want to. I’ve lived several miles from town for decades and I realize that in my later years, I want to be closer to civilization. I’m still not sure about living alone. Some of us just need a lot of alone time and to have our own schedule. I’m not sure I feel that it’s necessary to actually live with one or more other person….just have friends nearby who can help out. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Mama’s not dead….not sure about the goat.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Ha..You’ve hit the nail on the head and probably the goat as well. Strangely enough, I heard from my cousin’s wife recently. He died 30 years ago or more and I hadn’t been in touch much with either of them since I was a little girl. She wanted some info on family pictures and she mentioned the exact same expression..Mama miet mi dote. They used it in their family as well. She had a different spelling and we are probably both wrong, but we both had the same words phoenetically. I loved it. Thanks for your appraisal of the situation, which as I’ve said before is pretty spot-on. Judy

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  12. Judy King

    Hey Judy…Please, remember, should you need a life line to calll me — Any time, day or night. if you don’t have both my phones, drop me an email. As you know I’ve had Auro migraines daily (except 2) for the past 2 weeks. Today is the second day without symptons. Today the doctor gave me a preventative pill to take twice a day for a while ….The drug to stop it once it starts is ungodly expensive, but worth it compared to either the pain and anxiety you had or the constant all day problems I had. yesterday was my only full-blown pain-nausea-dizzy migraine and the pill I told you about stopped it. I do think that the extra liquid I’ve been working hard at consuming this week may be helping marginally…..but tell you what…we’ll just keep putting one shoe in front of the other. Post migraine depression? Yes, some, but more than that I’ve been terribly tired. Call me! Oh, and take the ladder pledge, ok? A bunch of us who live alone did that several years ago, Promised each other to stay off ladders forever more.

    Love you big. Care about you more. And please, you’re not done and Please don’t be done with HERE!

    The other Judy

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      What a generous letter, Judy. Thanks for the information and support…I can’t imagine having migraines for two weeks and functioning! One did me in. I’m fine now, but I’m going to buy one of those pills. Like a snake bite kit, worth having–even hoping you’ll never have to use it…Judy2

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