Sunday, 24 June 2012

Severe Migraines and creating a Support Network

I have learnt through my own experience this week the importance of having an escape plan and a support network around you to help you when you have a Mount Vesuvious migraine.

You know the ones I mean: they erupt violently, exploding pain all over your body.......when just moving a centimetre makes you want to spew the contents of your stomach and you feel as though there is a hot screw burning a hole out of your eye socket and a blunt stake shoving its way out of your skull. The only place you can be is in bed, staying still, like a dead body, with the curtains closed and no noise.You don't want to be responsible for yourself let alone anyone're half awake, half asleep, dreaming of being in hospital so you can opt out of living, thinking, doing.

The reality is that as adults, and mums, we have to find a way through this and carve out an escape plan (alias a support network) that works when we have a Vesuvious type migraine. We have to do this for our children, for our partners and above all for ourselves.

Well, last Thursday, I woke up with a Richter Scale 5 migraine and before I could say "argghhhhh!", I found myself playing hangman with child no 2. ????

My brain was not working. Panic and anxiety were setting in but at the same time I was saying to child no 2: "Is there a 'p'?" Then to myself: Who can help me? how can I get them to school? To child no 2: "how about an 'e'?" Then to myself: how can I get them dressed and make their lunches? To child no 2 "what about 's'?" I not only found myself playing hangman, I wanted to be hangman!!

I am very lucky. I have in-laws close by (retired) and my own mum and dad happened to be staying with my sister who also lives near by.......3 phone calls later (which wasn't easy on the old head!), I had my helpers lined up and ready to do all those jobs my brain and body couldn't cope with. The children thought it was great and I slept the morning away. Phew, what a relief.

Friends also were a great support, offering sympathy via text and more offers of help. As migraine mums we need to find a system that works as well as possible in what is effectively an emergency.

Most of the time my volcano is smouldering and I never quite know when it is going to erupt and what number on the richter scale it's going to be. So I'm learning, like every good scout, to be prepared and create a rescue plan. This has to be flexible according to who is around, but creating a bank of people who you can call upon at a moments notice is vital. The erupting volcano doesn't just affect mums, it adds worry to our partners who feel helpless and it may even frighten our children who could be worrying that we are not going to be able to be mummy anymore. Children can't think beyond the moment afterall.

So, imagine you are standing at the bottom of Mount Vesuvious with your family..........and it begins to erupt. Who ya gunna call? Who's your "phone-a-friend?". Who ever they are, they are worth a million.

PS: there is a fantastic forum for people with migraine. I've put it on my resources section. You may find this a source of great support when you are feeling unwell. I've always thought it would be impossible to really run a migraine support group in my local area as I think we'd all be ringing in, saying we couldn't make the meeting as we had got a migraine!! At least the idea of a virtual support group means you can access it when you need to and when you are able to. If you have any ideas on how to manage your Mount Vesuvious Migraines, please leave us a comment! MM x

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