I had a friend in high school that experienced migraines as well, her trigger was chocolate. If she ate chocolate, she would experience migraines. I never saw her eat any chocolate or the migraine that would supposedly follow the consumption of chocolate. I guess I had to take it on faith that if she ate chocolate she would have a migraine. I believed her, I saw the fear in her eyes when presented with a slice of chocolate cake.
I never called my migraines headaches in high school mostly because I didn’t understand that they were, “migraine” was not part of my vocabulary. Even after I learned what they were, I didn’t have migraines because I didn’t have the classical symptoms. No triggers, no auras, just pain. I had headaches. My head hurt and ached so I had headaches. Well, it did more than ache – it was a piercing, stabbing pain I would liken to a hot fire poker or an ice pick. It would be there all the time. I would get headaches when I had my period too. I think a lot of girls do. All my friends did.
A lot of people get headaches. I do. Everyday. I think a lot of people believe me when I tell them “I have a headache” but it gets old, it becomes an excuse and then the excuse wears thin. When I realized I didn’t have to do things I didn’t want to, things I couldn’t do – when I chose self care, it became an excuse to everyone else. It wasn’t as simple as not eating chocolate. I had no trigger and the medicine was beginning to not work.
It’s unbelievable. I didn’t believe it sometimes, I still don’t all the time. It’s like one of those stories on the afternoon talk shows, the unbelievable medical conditions. You get wrapped up in the fifteen minute segment but lose interest when the program switches over to the five o’clock news. It might come up later, telling a friend or family member about what you watched. But it’s distant, it happens to someone else across the country. It’s hard to believe. It just doesn’t happen, not in your little bubble of real life.
But it does, it’s happening right now, it has been happening for seven years.
I feel like the boy who cried wolf except I’m not lying. I’m not crying headache when I don’t have one, I always have some sort of headache. I’m stuck at the end of the fable, the wolves are here, the headache is very real but no one believes me. And it rages on and I cry but no one believes me.
I just don’t know why they believed my friend with the chocolate migraines who never ate chocolate or produced any migraines and didn’t believe me when they saw it every day.
But then again, I can’t expect much of the teenagers of my past.