Is anyone else like me?

That’s really one of the most common questions I get when it comes to migraine or various headache disorders.  I have a strange symptom, am I the only one?  Or perhaps I have migraine attacks every day, is that rare?

A few months ago, for example, I got this email from Marie in the UK:

… One of the symptoms/effects of my migraine is extreme sleepiness, only waking up to be sick. I just cannot stay awake, which is a godsend sometimes. I have looked at your site but have not seen anything written on this type of migraine. …

She continued with a kind compliment regarding this website, but the question remains, is she alone?

It bears repeating that migraine can be a very individual things.  Like snowflakes, no two migraineurs are alike (no, I’m not calling you flakes – but like snowflakes we are beautiful people, aren’t we?) 😉

Why are migraine attacks such an individual thing?  Even in the same person, attacks and symptoms can very throughout our lifetime.

Here’s a good illustration to explain it.  Imagine someone finding a big, beautiful spider web.  Having no concern for the spider or its handiwork, they take a rock and throw it through the web.

The Spider Web

What pattern do you end up with?

It will be different every time, won’t it?  The rock never goes through the exact same spot.  It never hits the same strands.  And though webs are based on common designs, even the webs of a single spider will always be slightly different – varying with the wind, the materials they are attached to, the needs of the spider that day.

Migraine is a complex disease striking complex people.  There are similar patterns, yes.  But there are a million and one reasons why an attack can vary from person to person, from day to day.  (this issue of HeadWay listed a sample of some of the many symptoms that seem to come from or come along with migraine attacks)

This isn’t to say that there may not be symptoms a majority get, or treatments that are helpful for a majority of people.  Maybe someday we’ll find a single cure for all – or we may find we’re dealing with distinctly different diseases that respond to different cures.

Probably someone else has your symptom.  But no one (except God) understands exactly what you’re going through.

Then again, there’s a lot that others can understand.  You are not alone.  We are in this together, fighting to help not only ourselves, but one another.

If you have symptoms like someone else I write about or who comments, leave your own comment.  But remember, just because no one is like you exactly doesn’t mean that you’re alone.

A spider has to work alone to repair the damage.  We can come together and help one another.  Let’s do it this year with new passion.

PS Looking for information about your variety of symptoms? You’ll get the best search results by searching from here.

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2 comments… add one
  • Chris Jan 1, 2010

    I have bouts of what I call “coma sleep” at least once a week. Not necessarily tied to the pain portion of my migraines, but usually about a four hour long time where I’m “asleep” yet I can hear everything going on around me.

    I can tell when I’m about to do this, so I usually put the TV or radio on for some noise, because four hours of hearing nothing is really boring when you literally can’t do anything else, not even truly go to sleep.

  • J-A Oct 5, 2013

    This article hits the nail on the head. I too suffer extreme sleepiness as one of my signs of a migraine. In fact, it can be worse than that pain at times. Recently, I went the the hospital with strong shoulder pain, nausea, fatigue, light headedness… guess what, an atypical migraine. Basically now if I feel unwell I assume it is a migraine. Thanks for your information and support.

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