The mere thought of taking your brain into a sunny environment, filled with music, friends and acquaintances to enjoy something as simple as happy hour is overwhelming. The outside world slowly becomes a place filled with unknowns. Will my brain behave or will the combination of a screaming child, an ominous rain cloud and the smell of that guy’s pungent cologne cause anarchy in your head?
You’ve become pretty good at smiling through the pain, but it’s different this time. As you sit in an attempt to regain control, the room swirls around as if you were on one of those round, rickety, schoolyard things that you spin round and round on until you can’t see straight.
Panic sets in. The unexpected smack of pain clouds your judgment. Do I have any meds with me? Did I take my meds today? Is this happening because I stayed up late last night or because I had chocolate two days in a row?
How am I going to get out of this situation? I don’t want to make a big deal. Maybe I’ll just ghost and no one will notice. I’ve been here five minutes, most people don’t even know that I’m here. I can send a text apologizing for my absence. Mental note- don’t forget to send apology text.
Act like you’re trying to find the bathroom. You can take a few minutes in there before you try to drive back home. But of course, you run into your friend who is celebrating her birthday. You came out for her. She tries to drag you to meet her new boyfriend, but you insist that you need a minute to use the bathroom.
Crap, now you have sixty seconds before you have to put those acting classes to good use and fake being well. Maybe a little more lipstick will hide the fact that you are squinting in an already dark room. Your brain better appreciate getting the last triptan you have in your possession.
You stumble to string sentences together, worried you look like an idiot in front of the guy your friend desperately wants your approval. Did you just call him Justin? That was her last boyfriend’s name. Crap. Open mouth, insert foot. I can totally recover from this debacle. Offer to grab him a drink. In your haste to deliver the drink, you trip, not seeing the side table that you had been standing beside for the past ten minutes. There goes the drink shattering on the floor.
Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry. You are beyond overwhelmed. Do you stand there so no one step on the broken glass or do you run to the kitchen to find a broom and paper towels? Why won’t someone just tell you what to do? The embarrassment of it all. Unable to make a decision, you notice three different exit points. As soon as you’ve apologized profusely about the mess, bolt for the door.
But should you drive back home? You weren’t coordinated enough to deliver a beer, how are you going to react to stop lights? It’s fine. You’ve done this before. Just stay focused for fifteen minutes, be hyper-vigilant. You’ll do whatever it takes to get into your own bed where you can quietly go through the migraine routine. Why did you even think it was a good idea to come out today?
Your broken brain sabotaged you again. It stopped taking orders from you. The scattered wiring system fired off without any warning. It left you feeling like an idiot. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. Listen all y’all- it’s a sabotage.
On Saturday, Oct 7, 2017, I participated in the Miles for Migraine event in Philly. Besides volunteering, I also brought the INvisible Project: Migraine Edition display with me to share the stories of those living with migraine disease. Little did I know that I would play hostess and run around with a microphone, interviewing participants…