Walking Migraine Trigger

I sit down ten minutes before class is set to begin. I have my bagel and cream cheese in a paper bag and my hot chocolate in hand. I set them down on the empty desk next to mine. I take the bagel out of the bag and spread the cream cheese on it. It’s still early, a couple of students begin to filter in. I stick the bagel in my mouth, between my teeth as I begin to dig around in my bag for my notebook. Out comes a pen, the notebook, and text-book. They’re all set down and on top of that goes my phone. I check my emails and chew on my bagel. A few more students filter in. The kid who sits in the row in front of me is in the next herd of kids. Still half asleep he sits down.

I sniffle once and the smell hits me. The cologne he is wearing permeates the surrounding area, my area. I close my eyes, holding my breath for a moment. I exhale and then inhale.

Yeah, that really stinks. Why is he wearing an entire bottle of cologne? Did he bathe in it?

Then the nagging pain hits, not extreme but enough to distract me from class.

He opens up his laptop and music blares from it, worsening my migraine. Is it his migraine? He started it. The only thing he hasn’t done is shine a flashlight in my eyes. He’s literally a migraine trigger on two legs in a hoodie with a skateboard.

“Sorry,” he apologizes to everyone in the room, not many people but still.

I cough on his cologne and move away to the other end of the row. I can still smell him. The hot chocolate makes it a bit better but not by much.


4 thoughts on “Walking Migraine Trigger

  1. Walking triggers suck! Between that and the people who don’t understand chronic pain and people who trigger it worsening I have often dreamt of the superpower to temporarily allow others to feel what we feel on the inside. Maybe just so they’d understand why I’m so touchy about it.


    • It all seems so benign. He most likely didn’t shower that morning or wanted to cover some other smell up like cigarette smoke, alcohol or even pot smoke. I doubt those because it was so early in the morning and he was probably running late so he dumped half a bottle of cologne on him and skipped the shower. He wasn’t thinking about me sitting behind him or any other migraineur who would be triggered by that. It was truly noxious. I can’t imagine he didn’t get a headache from smelling himself.


  2. I hate when you cannot escape the smell when you find that is the trigger that your body decides on. Especially when smells that normally would not bother us on a day to day scenario, but a migraine it’s 10x’s amped up smell.
    And it could trigger the nausea side of a migraine.


    • Yeah.odors are the big trigger for me – light and sound do not bother me as much. Even a small amount of cologne would bother me, it doesn’t have to be a lot but this kid was wearing so much. It’s kind of stupid, he most likely skipped his shower in favor of cologne and smelled like a department store all day. There is no way he did not give everyone in that room a headache, he probably triggered several migraines as well. I was lucky I didn’t have the nausea side effect, my breakfast was good that morning.
      Thanks. Hugs,


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