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Migraine / timeout

Updated: May 18, 2022

I’ve been out of action the last 36 hours with a migraine. In the past I have been quite secretive about any “off days”, seeing them as a sign of weakness and not wanting to admit to them. In recent years however I have tried to be a bit more up front about them at the same time recognising that I have difficulties around illness and “illness behaviour” which go back to childhood and I have yet to unpick fully.

Since taking up yoga and taking on board the whole “listen to your body” thing, learning the difference between pain and discomfort etc, I am a bit more tuned in to my body and symptoms, so when the migraine came I tried to take a different tack from usual.

My response in the past has been “oh, no! I’ve so much to do! I’ll lie down for a bit and then try to get back to work”

This time I took the approach of observing the symptoms and signs and learning from it.

So this is what happened:

After working very hard (with a week off around xmas) in December on my zines, I reached a stage where I had redone the layouts of 2 of them and redone a lot of the drawings. (Release of stress, classic migraine trigger for me)

I returned from doing some circuits and suddenly couldn’t see properly.

On closing my eyes I had a zig zag aura down the left side of my right eye. The aura was very pronounced and strong. I went and lay down with my eyes closed and over the next 20 minutes it moved outwards till it disappeared off the periphery. I noticed pain on the right side of my head which moved down and round to my jaw. I then had the usual brain fog, dull aching in my head, inability to concentrate, hangover type unwellness. I needed to be lying down in quiet but unfortunately we had a man fitting some shutters in one room and a couple of plumbers looking at a heating problem which meant they were moving from room to room. I had to talk to them and try and make sensible decisions. Once they left I had a quiet evening and went to bed early.

The next morning I tried to wake up at the usual time but my body just kept on sleeping. I eventually woke up at midday, which is really unusual for me, with a bad headache. I took paracetomol and just floated around all day, not doing much, reading, a bit of laundry.

This morning I have woken up with a slight residual hangover but a lot more bounce and energy, and here I am back in the studio!

(I did a lateral flow test too, it was negative)

Things I’ve learned from this episode:

There is no point fighting it. Just go with it, and don’t beat yourself up for being “lazy”.

Trust my body to tell me what to do and try not to second guess it.

The image below is sort of how the aura looked, it is hard to actually "see" it as it is on the periphery of my vision. The shapes are shimmery and sparkly too.

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