So, I have curly hair. I blow dry it every day with a huge diffuser while in the position commonly known as the “forward fold” in yoga. I like it, because I stretch my hamstrings and maximize my curls at the same time. Two days ago, I was cheerfully bending and blow drying and my hair turned out better than ever. I smiled at myself in the mirror. The sun was shining. The kids were excited about starting their swimming lessons. My husband was even helping pack food and pool necessities! It was looking like a great day.
On my way downstairs, I started feeling a little funny. Dizzy, maybe. Also, I felt like I couldn’t see anything except what was directly in front of my face on the right-hand side. I thought, I should really eat something.
In the kitchen, I found myself grabbing on to countertops to stay upright and unable to resist the urge to cover my eyes with my hands. Severe pain stabbed through my head. It was debilitating, but it was also kind of weird and far away. I popped a couple of Ultra Tylenols, sat at the kitchen table, and let my husband bring me some food. A Clif bar, if you must know. My daughter brought me a glass of water after I motioned to her and managed to croak out something about Water … please.
I soon felt nauseated. I really wanted to lie down.
But that would ruin my hair.
So I stayed in the kitchen chair until I had to admit defeat: I was not going to be heading to the pool. Charlie and the girls left. I went back to bed. I tried not to move much. This, like my blow drying method, was for a dual purpose: the lessening of nausea and severe head pain PLUS (maybe more important) less curl crushing.
After I started feeling better only an hour later, I started reading up on migraines. I knew it was a migraine because my mom had migraines a lot when I was a kid. I discovered on webmd.com that the symptoms of migraines include:
- A brief period of depression, irritability, anxiety, moodiness, and decreased appetite as much as 24 hours before the onset of a headache
- Symptoms of an aura an hour or less before head pain starts
- A severe, throbbing headache, sometimes concentrated on only one side of the head or around one eye lasting between four and 72 hours
- A headache that worsens with exertion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme sensitivity to light, so painful to the eyes and head that it requires retreat to a darkened room
- Extreme sensitivity to sound
- Arm or leg weakness, difficulty speaking, or confusion
- Severe exhaustion, confusion, or moodiness — sometimes lasting several days after the headache resolves
I definitely had a migraine. I had suffered all of those symptoms. So then I looked up the causes. One of them in particular resonated.
And that is exactly how far I have processed that thought.