2016: A Year in Review ft. My Migraines

4:06 PM chronicmigraineellie 2 Comments

Well, December did not end how I wanted it to. 2016 did not end how I wanted it to. I was cruelly reminded how quickly my life could disappear and everything that I had worked so hard for could be postponed almost indefinitely. I was taking my Chem final, the Tuesday of second week of December, when some maintenance in the building created a high-pitched sound. After about a minute and a half of it going off non-stop, I asked my professor if I could leave the room. I went to her office across the hall. 20 minutes later, my entire class was moved to another classroom because the noise was so disruptive. But for me, the damage was already done. After about 20 minutes in the new room, almost an hour into the test, I stopped being able to function. I fought tears as words became blurry, the lines moving, me head spinning. I still had two more questions on the test, one of which was worth 20 points. I asked to speak to my professor outside. I started crying because of the pain. I could barely explain that I couldn't do it, that I knew that I had studied well and if conditions were perfect, I would've aced this test. But it wasn't perfect. It was humiliating and scary. My professor was absolutely amazing. We found a way to make it work and luckily I didn't bomb my test at all, because I finished most of it before the pain started.

My other finals were not so lucky. For 5 days after this, I lost the ability to read, write and focus...again. Trying to read made me dizzy, the world would start spinning and I would have to lay down almost immediately. I couldn't do anything other than sit in my room. I couldn't focus on anything. It was like I was in high school again, isolated and terrified that I would never be able to function again. I had to give myself two shots, one of Sumatriptan, an auto-injector of Imitrex that scares the living shit out of me when I have to do it, and IM DHE, which finally broke my migraine.

A day after my migraine broke, I flew home. I had my brother and my parents help me write emails to my professors to get extensions. I had three incompletes in my four classes. I felt like I had lost everything. It's taken me weeks to get back to almost 90% functioning again. Only now, almost a month later, am I starting to feel like myself again. I can write more, read, focus again.

But for two weeks, I barely left the house. I was reminded that I have absolutely no control over my illness. It only took 2 minutes of a high pitched sound to completely destroy my life and all of the carefully laid out plans that I had. I'm doing a lot better now. The pressure changes still make me nauseous, and I still have to lay down and sleep after higher intensity days, but I'm managing, and I'm doing okay. And that's okay. I don't need to be perfect, I don't need to do everything.

2016 was a hellish year for me. There's even parts that I'm not ready to share with all of you yet, because I'm still working out my emotions about them. What I've learned, though, is that while I talk publicly about my illness and disability, I am scared to show you how I am when things get rough. I am still scared to show my family and friends just how much pain I'm in. I would rather stay in my room alone and hide from the outside world than show myself un-edited to the world. Makeup is my cover, it allows me to put forth the image that I want the world to see. Looking through my Instagram, there are no picture of me mid-migraine, or post-migraine. I am too scared to show that. I would much rather have people see me in a positive light and read about my experiences than actually see me going through it. I don't know if I will ever do that, but acknowledging it is the first step to changing it. But I'm okay with that. I realized that I want people to see all of me, my achievements, my failures, my troubles, because my migraines are a part of me, not the total sum.

In February, I will be participating in Headache on the Hill 2017, lobbying for more funds for Migraine and Headache Disorder research. It is an honor to be participating, and never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be doing anything like this. I am so grateful to all of you for believing in me, for reading my blog and for the amazing comments of support that you leave when I am going through rough patches. You all motivate me so much to continue raising awareness. I would not be where I am right now without your support. 2017 is a year of new beginnings. There will be ups and downs, but right now, it is a blank slate. What does 2017 hold for you?


  1. Migraines are seriously one of the worst things I have ever experienced. I used to get them quite frequently and I could not function during those times. All I could do was lay in bed in the dark, in the quiet, and in the cold. Migraines are not talked about enough and there isn't enough being done to help those who suffer from it!

  2. Migraine is so painful also harmful for human body. i m already affected from this. when i feel this pain i could not control my self.