Friday, July 6, 2012

Migraines AND Depression--Yuck

A few months ago, I had the honor of being interviewed for Headwise the National Headache Foundation's Magazine. The edition with my interview just came out this month. I was interviewed about my experience with Migraines and Depression together. The article, "Down but Not Out: Depression and Migraine," discusses the relationship between Migraine and Depression, treatments for both Migraine and Depression, and my story.

Suffering from migraines sucks. Suffering from depression sucks. Suffering from both, at the same time, can be almost unbearable at times. Migraines are obviously very painful, and recovering from one saps your energy. What little energy I might have left after a migraine will be sapped by Depression. It ends up being immobilizing. The simplest of tasks become too large to tackle, because you just don't have the energy, desire, or motivation to do them. There is a huge weight on you, and you feel like you weigh a thousand pounds. Depression is ultimately a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. But it's more than that when you have migraines too. When migraines don't have you down, Depression does.

Just as migraines can rob you of your life, friends, social activities, a career etc, Depression can too. As I become more depressed, I become withdrawn, and have less and less contact with the outside world. I see and talk to my friends less, I take part in fewer social activities, I do those things that usually bring me joy less often. It's important to me to make good use of the days in between migraines. I want to see friends, to be out of my house, to see my family and volunteer for a cause or do something for someone on those days. With Depression though, that's impossible. On the good migraine days, I am still suffering from Depression, so I still have to deal with that. I still have to deal with that lack of energy, lack of motivation, that feeling of hopelessness and heaviness. It literally becomes impossible to enjoy life. I'm either in physical pain, or emotional pain, or both. I can just be thankful that with my doctor's help, it doesn't last long.

For me, I have serious bouts of Depression but luckily, I come out of them quickly. I have learned to recognize them when they come on, and my doctors are very responsive. We change my medication and do the things that need to be done to try to lift me out of the Depression as quickly as we can. I see a psychologist regularly, and he is very helpful in this process, teaching me to recognize when the Depression is coming on and helping through those periods, as well as knowing what needs to be done to break the Depression.

I have found my Depression typically has triggers just like my migraines do. When I have to give up something I really want to do as a result of my migraines, that can often trigger depression. When my migraines become worse, that will usually trigger depression too. Especially if there isn't a clear reason for why the migraines have worsened.

There is a lot of good information about both illnesses in the article I linked to above. I had never been interviewed for a magazine before, so it was interesting and exciting to be asked. I hope I did those of us who suffer from both diseases proud. I hope you'll read the article, not just because I am in it, but because there is much to learn about both diseases and I hope you'll help break the stigma and dispel the myths surrounding both Depression and Migraine.

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