Last night, I used a new sex toy. A vibrating clitoral suction thingy. Slipping it over my vulva, using fingertips to be sure it was in the right place; increasing the speed; wondering “how will I know if—WHOA MAMA!”
I may have spoken the name of a deity. I don’t recall, I came so hard.
What I do remember is the instant, as in one second of stimulation instant, full body orgasm that clenched every muscle in my skull. It almost felt like a seizure. I have had one of those before. In my twenties, I dropped a hit of ‘cid with my first husband. The sex was mind-blowing. Literally. I had a mild frontal lobe seizure.
Through the rest of the night (last night, that is), I felt that same lingering sensation in the front of my brain, across my forehead, around my right eye, etc. I also felt the onset of a migraine headache. Waking this morning, I had the nausea, the weirdness behind my right eye, some facial tingling, dizziness (particularly with motion of either myself or a scrolling computer screen).
What I hadn’t realized was that the migraine had actually been building up for days. Technically speaking, I’d been experiencing the migraine itself for several days. It just wasn’t happening as pain in my head until this morning.
Today I stumbled across an article on Facebook that listed a number of symptoms and factors that contribute to migraine headaches. I don’t usually read these things, as I’d never considered myself a migraine sufferer. A headache a few times a month, sure. A migraine a few times a year, maybe, usually associated with my menstrual cycle. Others suffer far more, with multiple days in a row and half the month ruined with their agony. I’ve had some bad ones in my lifetime; but not enough that I felt I qualified as “a migraine sufferer.”
I started to read this article that was a list of stuff. I like lists of stuff. As I went from item to item, I realized how many of them I was ticking off. For one aspect or another, I was ticking them all off. Every single one. Things I’d never even considered migraine symptoms were put into focus and context in a matter of minutes.
My neck pain, without any headache, was a symptom of a migraine? My first husband liked to crack my back and neck. Sometimes he’d have difficulty with my neck and wouldn’t stop. (yes, I know it was a stupid thing to let him do…I can’t go back and change it) I know he messed my neck up. I can’t just turn my head to look at things sometimes, but have to turn my shoulders as well. I attributed all my neck woes to him. Then I read: Our necks often hurt before our heads do.
A lightbulb went off in my head.
Then I read: Sometimes we can’t stand being touched…because simple touch is perceived as painful. There was mention of not liking the water from a shower on the scalp. Well, I can’t take a shower too soon after waking or the water feels like a cheese grater. My head is the last thing I get wet because I don’t like the water to land on the top of my head. Face, okay, but not the top. I will often block it with my hands, directing the water in a single big stream rather than two hundred tiny streams, or collect water in my hands to splash over my head.
The 60-Watt lightbulb became a Halogen headlight. I was on to something serious.
I dug deeper into the website (Migraine Again) and found a description of an “abdominal migraine”. And all those symptoms fit as well, particularly right that moment as I was reading. I’d been fighting through what I’d thought was an IBS flare-up, or a reaction to a dairy product like sour cream. I’d recently had a couple episodes of eating sour cream (as dip or on a baked potato) and then having a particularly bad stabby pain in my left side. Cheese doesn’t do it to me, but it seems previously opened sour cream does. Sluggish system, stomach slower to empty, digestion all but halted. Yep. Described how I was feeling to a T. The night before reading all this, I’d taken a laxative before bed, hoping it would get my gut moving again…it had worked the previous incident a few months back. It all made even more sense.
The migraine in my head had been triggered by an extremely powerful orgasm; but I’d been fighting an abdominal migraine for days. Had fought it several times in the last half year. I’d been suffering abdominal migraines most of my life. Oh Em Gershwin!
I backed up to start at the beginning of the first article, and began to pair symptoms up for better discussion. These types of articles always duplicate items, making them unnecessarily repetitive.
- Super-Sensitive Senses
Strong smells are nauseating. Perfume, foods, other odors (or phantom smells no one else detects)
Sensitivity to light; photophobia
Annoying sounds; sensitive ears/ringing in the ears
Tingling in various places (one side of the face)
Yes to them all, most of my life. I’ve always had a strong sense of smell, found certain strong odors nauseating. The smell of fish is horrible for me. People at the next table in a restaurant always seem to be ordering fish. It’s something I can smell half a restaurant away. It’s disgusting. Turns my stomach.
Floral perfumes poured on too much. Cleaning products will offend my nose and also burn my eyes.
Sensitivity to light. I’d always thought it was just related to my alopecia. It is a by-product of my condition. But added in with all the other symptoms, it becomes merely one piece to complete the larger puzzle.
Tingling, especially on one side of the face. As I type this, I’ve had that tingling off and on around my right eye and cheek all day long. My eyelids have been twitching. There’s been pressure off and on. That’s where the head portion of my migraine seems to be settling this time.
Annoying sounds. Loud sounds. I absolutely hate loud sounds for a time after I wake up, yet that is always when my mother seems not to be able to use her indoor voice. Sounds don’t often startle me. They hurt. They hurt my ears, my brain. It’s like the soundwaves themselves hurt my body with the same cheese grater effect of a shower.
- We don’t yawn because we’re bored or tired.
Lack of oxygen. yawning is one of those subtle warning signs of a prodrome (the first of four phases before the pain starts) in which the brain is begging for more oxygen.
I’d always thought it was just because my sinuses were swollen inside. I’d forgotten to take my allergy medicines, perhaps. I certainly do that often enough.
- We can be a bit reluctant to commit. Want to be dependable but don’t want to make promises we can’t keep.
I am forever saying maybe to parties. I RSVP maybe so it’s in my list and I can see it’s coming up, and make the final decision the day of the event. If I don’t have a date lined up, there’s not much reason to go. The loud noise of the music is annoying, especially when it’s music I hate. It’s dark, but the lights that are present are over-bright and hurt my eyes.
Most of all, I don’t know if I’ll be having tummy issues or not be feeling well. I don’t know if I’ll be too achy in a thousand places. I won’t know until that day. I might be feeling fine when I wake up and then become achy and ill by evening.
- We’re freezing.
Sensitivity to temperature changes/cold.
cold hands/nose; hot/cold flashes
All the yes. I wear a sweater almost everywhere. I feel a chill when no one else does. I wear three layers when it’s 50 degrees out. I’d rather be sweating by the time I get to my destination than be freezing the entire way because I didn’t wear that third layer. My nose will be freezing cold while everyone else is comfortable. I sometimes need three blankets to stop feeling a chill when trying to fall asleep, though the heat is set at 72 degrees. Or I’ll suddenly feel overwarm when no one else does, and need to take off the sweater for a while to let myself cool.
- Sometimes we can’t stand being touched.
Allodynia — in which ordinary touch feels intensely uncomfortable and actually painful.
ought I didn’t like to be touched because of the sexual abuse I endured for years as a child. (more on that later)
Discomfort when being touched is also a migraine symptom??? Seriously? By itself, I wouldn’t believe it; but taken into context with all the other pieces of this particular puzzle, they all seem to fit tighter and tighter together.
- Our necks often hurt before our heads do.
I’ve already gone over the neck pain part. The jaw pain was a bit of an anomaly, until I remembered that I’d had some weird pain in my right lower mandible two nights ago. I’ve been having it off and on for years, but never associated it with anything other than the rotting tooth in that spot. I had the molar removed last year. I still get the pain. Today I woke up with the migraine that had been accumulating overnight.
- We’re not drunk or drugged. It’s an aura.
Confusion; thinking of words; vision changes; flashes of light, blind spots and other vision changes or tingling in your hand or face.
All day long, I’ve been struggling with a word here or there. Makes working on a book difficult, lemme tell ya.
The “aura” with vision changes. I don’t necessarily see the zigzag lines, but there is weirdness to my vision. Lights have a harshness to them. I see things that aren’t there.
I covered tingling in the face in another entry above.
- Scrunched up face; furrowed brow. It’s not anger.
It’s a physiological response to pain in the trigeminal nerve that’s acting up around my scalp and behind one eye.
Squinting against the harshness of light. Squinting because there’s discomfort in the face, around the eye. Makes my resting bitch face look downright evil, I suppose. Doesn’t help that the eyelids are twitching away in their own Morse code alphabet. I sometimes wonder what message they’re sending, and to whom.
- Sometimes the world feels like it’s spinning.
hypersensitivity to motion (ourselves or other things; scrolling on computer)
I’ve gotten motion sick in cars and on busses my entire life. I prefer to take a train rather than get in a car most times, just to avoid the motion sickness.
I lie down sometimes and the entire room rocks and spins. Sometimes it goes away before I fall asleep. Sometimes it doesn’t and the room starts up again when I wake up enough to turn over.
I’ve found in recent years, that I’m becoming more and more sensitive to motion. Bending over too quickly. Scrolling up and down a computer screen too much. I did an intense inventory overhaul a few months back, and had to pace myself to avoid making myself dizzy and sick from the constant motion of the screen. A train rolling by me can throw my balance off and make me dizzy.
I had wondered if I was developing Meniers. My mother has had it since I was a small child, and all of my triggers are all of her triggers as well. There is obviously cross-over of symptoms and triggers, so it’s something I’m going to want to look into further.
- Food Triggers, foods being nauseating (for me, fish in particular)
On the other hand, strong cravings for trigger foods
I’ve mentioned sour cream triggering pain in a particular spot of my abdomen. I’ve mentioned strong odors nauseating me. I cannot stand anything pickled.
I do, however, get cravings for certain trigger foods. Aged cheese. I love cheddar, brie, Havarti. I love pepperoni pizza. Chocolate. Truffles, darks, salted, with caramel. Coffee. The smell of a wonderful French Roast. Komodo Dragon is just heavenly. I don’t know that any of these things actually trigger a migraine in me. I don’t really care if they do. I won’t stop eating/drinking them. They’re worth it!
- We predict storms better than the weatherman.
B. High humidity
C. High winds
D. Stormy weather
E. Extremely dry conditions
F. Bright lights and sun glare (again with the light sensitivity)
G. Barometric pressure changes — sinus pain – off and on, constant, weather related
Again, all the yes. I can feel a storm coming in when it’s half a day away. Sometimes my face hurts so much that I wish it would finally explode off my skull so I can feel better. The pressure and pain are immense and there’s seemingly no relief.
- Fatigue when it’s over. Feeling washed out rather than relieved.
You’d think that after a hard tummy episode like I’m experiencing that I’d feel relieved, feel better. But I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow, almost hung over from it and the pain in my head. I already know it. I’ll need at least until the day after to shake it and be recovered.
- Psychological symptoms related to emotional neglect and sexual abuse.
This is the tough one. The same page linked to a “test” regarding emotional neglect. Do you feel/think this, that, or the other. I answered yes to nearly every question.
Sexual, emotional, and physical abuse are known to create a predisposition to headaches. I have amnesia during portions of my childhood. Times when the tape recorder of my mind paused and did not record for a while, and started again at some point.
Most people think migraines are just a bad headache. Turns out it is so much more. The pain in the head is the least of it for many.
It all adds up to one thing.
It’s time for me to see a Neurologist and get a formal diagnosis (whatever it may be) so I can find out if anything can be done about all this.