You know that tingle of apprehension and expectation that comes when you catch the scent of the rain before it falls? The tell-tale dark clouds, rumbles of thunder, and flashes of lightening never fail to alert us to the approaching storm.
But what about when that storm is on the inside rather than out? What happens when the tell-tale signs are unexplained pin-pricks of pain, nerve tingling in your face, a slowly building buzz in your brain or a sudden shift of pressure that makes your head feel on the verge of exploding? Maybe you see zig-zag lines or blur spots in your vision? Perhaps what you experience is the sudden “ice pick” stab of pain in your skull that has no obvious origin?
What do you do when the calm before the storm refers to the warning signs of a hell that is about to be unleashed inside your own head?
For those of you who haven’t already figured what I am describing, I envy you. Because it means you have not experienced migraines.
I, however, and countless thousands of others like me have suffered with them on a regular basis. I know there are many who have experienced worse episodes than myself, and I won’t even attempt to speak for them. But for myself, I have battled migraines for over 13 years. They started very suddenly during a terrible sinus infection that had gotten out of control. I have suffered with them ever since. In the last two years, I have had one nearly every single day. At least 50% of those have been moderate to severe (by my internal pain scale).
My particular affliction means that my eyes are my biggest trigger receptor. So sunlight and the color white are my greatest enemies in the world. To me, bright light equals pain. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful sunny day! It just doesn’t love me. I have to wear sunglasses every single day of my life from the time the sun rises until it sets, unless I am in a room with no windows and only soft lighting. Even at night, if I go into a store with bright fluorescent lights I must wear the sunglasses or suffer intense pain within the first couple minutes of exposure (that grows with intensity the longer I linger). As for going to concerts with flickering lights, forget about it! Those days are long behind me, my friend. I will never again be able to look at them, because strobe lights are an instigator as well.
I am also sensitive to smells. Lilies, lilacs, lavender, perfumes and colognes, cleaning agents (especially bleach), candles, incense, and air freshener are all torture to me. (You may have seen me running from some of the aisles in Walmart with a frantic look upon my face.)
Last but not least, noise is the other big baddie on my list. Heavy metal, rock and roll, techno, rap, anything with an unsteady beat, heavy pulsing bass, or erratic lyrics is just like nails on a chalkboard. I literally want to crawl out of my skin and escape. I know that sounds crazy, but the pain creates a desperation to escape the trigger at almost any cost.
When you live with daily pain, you just want to make it go away. Sufferers will go to great lengths just to get any kind of peace and release (even though it may be short-lived).
So every day from the time I wake up, I am living in the calm before the storm. Knowing that I am always “watching the skies” so to speak for the signs which I know are coming to announce the impending arrival of the next storm.