When Chronic Pain is too Much for too Long

When chronic pain is too much

When chronic pain is too much for too long, what do you do? The last 3 weeks I have been in a migraine cycle from hell. Hell is the only place to describe it. I suffer from chronic migraine and even this rattled me. Here’s the thing I’d like to tell you about chronic pain, it’s too much for too long and too often!

When Chronic Pain is too Much

You never get used to pain. I have found ways to mentally deal with it better, to alternatively treat it more naturally and ways to adapt my life but the reality is it hurts….a lot. With my migraine attacks, I get insane pain (on all sides) that resonate throughout my entire body like a lightning bolt that never goes away. I throw up constantly (well, my body tries but at this point my stomach clenches so hard to keep any food in me that it’s basically violent painful heaves each time I sit up.) I have auras that consist of black dots, lines, zigzags, white light flashes and tunnel vision. Because of this, I clench my teeth/jaw, fists, toes and thrash my body to the point I bruise. Light and sounds puts me at risk of passing out. The list of pains goes on and on and on while the minutes, hours, days and nights pass by.

When I was in labor, my nurse was able to tell me “Your contraction is at its worse, it’s getting better and going now.” The biggest battle besides the pain is not knowing how long the migraine will last. With this last cycle, I had points that I did not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The fear of living at a level 8/9 for the rest of my life was and is my reality. After an unending migraine, I don’t remember ever feeling better, can’t do anything to find relief and no one can tell me it’s going to be better soon because they don’t know that.

Anxiety and Depression with Pain

When chronic pain is too much, in comes the anxiety and depression. Anxiety about doing something to make it worse, about how long it will last, about missing out on life and about what will be missed in the future. Depression about being locked in a dark room alone for hours and feeling so alone. Alone. Alone to fight my pain because no one else can help. Feeling worthless and sad that this is my life and the way it will always be. Sadness from the things I can’t do and won’t ever do. The feeling of pain being the only feeling that I feel because nothing else can enter my mind is exhausting and unfair.

Pain is Exhausting

In fact, everything is exhausting and unfair. When chronic pain is too much it’s really unfair. Even once the pain lowered, I was exhausted. Exhausted from fighting the pain and little sleep after days and days in bed. I can’t stand seeing moms complain about their kids when my children are my inspiration for everything and give me a reason to fight! Those moms are so ungrateful. In fact, the only reason I got out of bed was to go see my daughter for one hour at her school for an end of the year reception. I had spent the entire morning heaving from pain and used every bit of my energy to be there. One hour. One hour is where I spent all my energy in one day just to make my daughter smile and to make me feel human while other women are complaining that their kids are being kids….ugh, exhausting!

When the Pain Cycle Continues

Once I emerge from a cycle, I always find it difficult to enter back into the real world. The world outside of my pain, outside of my room, outside of my head. I look in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself. My face is broken out and I look so weak and pale. My list of to dos is a mile long and the cognitive damage and physical weakness make it difficult to multitask like I normally do. I have trouble with just one task and focus on that alone. The anxiety stays with me because I never know when my migraine will return. I walk on egg shells and give myself credit for doing even the smallest things.

When Chronic Pain is too Much for too Long and too Often

Chronic pain is too much for too long and too often. Before this 3 week cycle, I had made it 4 days at a level 5 pain level. This was good, but 4 days since my last major migraine? It’s not like I got food poisoning and thought, “Wow, glad that’s over, I’m never eating there again.” I’m going through this dramatic traumatizing event and thinking, when will it come back? Not if, when. Will it be tomorrow once I eat a normal meal again, will it be when I leave the house, will it be when my children scream and my stress raises, will it be when I try to get my list done and push myself too hard, will it be in a few days with my menstrual cycle, will it be when the weather changes AGAIN, or will it be for no reason?

When Chronic Pain Comes Back too Soon

I questioned if I should write this post. I like to be optimistic and show my readers hope. But the reality is, I suffer. I suffer a lot. Hopefully, I help many with writing My Migraine Life but there is no cure and I live with that every day. This is not a post to make you feel bad but to remind you that you are not alone. That maybe someone has it worse and to show gratitude for everything you can do today. To remind you that you never know what someone is battling with and to be gentle and kind. And to remind you that someday it will get better. My better does not mean I’m ok, it just means I’m out of my dark room today and I’m writing! That’s better! I still have a long way to go and am very aware that tomorrow it could be much worse.

All I can hope is that it gets better…..

Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. I'm a mom, wife, teacher, and chronic migraine sufferer. I tell my stories and advocate in my life searching for health in a positive honest way.
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18 Comments

  1. Lisa on May 22, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Bless your heart. It is SO hard. We all suffer in same ways but to different degrees. I am now with a really awesome headache specialist who is really working hard with me to find a good treatment regimen. And yes, anxiety and depression do often accompany life with this crazy chronic illness. When I get into these longer pain cycles I end up going on a short course of steroids which really help. I feel like I live on a constant roller coaster of highs and lows. It is EXHAUSTING!! Hard to explain to people but I do have an awesome support system. I feel very blesssed. One day and moment at a time. Let’s hold onto HOPE. There are always new options being offered now than ever before. Good to write. I blog as well. It helps me to process the journey. ????????



  2. mymigrainelife on May 22, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I could have written your comment myself Lisa. Sounds like we have a lot in common!



  3. Traci on May 22, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I appreciate hearing a positive, optimistic person saying “I suffer and it’s really difficult”. I’m in the same boat and today I am so fed up with it.



  4. mymigrainelife on May 22, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Sorry you are in the same boat ???? thanks for reading!



  5. 3sistersabroad on May 23, 2017 at 1:33 am

    3 weeks of pain xx huge hugs….my migraines would knock me over for a day with heavy head the day before and after xx….Its so hard to comprehend that pain for 3 weeks xx…thank you for writing this post x



  6. Polly on May 23, 2017 at 2:03 am

    I hear you. I’m so sorry you have to endure like this. I’m living this hell as well.



  7. mymigrainelife on May 23, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Thank you for reading and commenting. One day is too much with a migraine!



  8. mymigrainelife on May 23, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I’m sorry to hear that. Thanks for reading, keep fighting!



  9. Veronica on May 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I wish I could have gone to the same headache specialist you did. I have had migraines for 42 years. I have tried numerous neurologists, regular drs, and a couple of weeks ago, I went to a headache specialist . He was no help at all. When he couldn’t help me, We decided that botox was our next step. I have had botox years ago, but this dr. told me you have to have more than 1 botox treatment. Well, I kept on hurting with the migraine. He gave me a muscle relaxer that made me really hyper, couldn’t see just really black and bright white in my eyes. I had to drag myself to my bed. I told him and they told me that I should have gone to the ER. Why go to the ER when you know what this crazy feeling is. He then told me to go see a pain management dr. Well, I had been hurting for over a week and nothing was helping. I asked for his help to find a pain management dr. and some kind of pain medicine. His answer was no, he could not help me. I feel like he was just such a waste of time and my insurance paid him good money. I found a pain management dr. and am hoping they will be able to help me. When you cant sleep for days, in pain for days and already I have anxiety and depression, It feels so bad. I don’t know



  10. mymigrainelife on May 23, 2017 at 11:54 am

    That is such a terrible story. Keep searching for a Dr. You aren’t the only one. I’ve tried physical therapy, acupuncture etc. Maybe try alternative treatment including searching for a dr who is more knowledgeable. Don’t give up & keep searching for answers. You wont find a cure but finding what works better for you is the key! Good luck!!!



  11. Sally Harrold on May 23, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    You are an inspiration to all of us who suffer with migraines and chronic pain. I find it very hard to remain as positive as you are. I don’t suffer from daily migraines but I am in constant pain, so I know about rationing your energy. I need to remind myself often of my many blessings. It’s hard to do when the pain levels spike, but that’s when I need those reminders most.



  12. mymigrainelife on May 23, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    It is hard! It is hard to explain and hard to live. Hopefully your dogs will become comfort pets like my sweet Lucia 🙂



  13. Jenny on May 23, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Just yesterday I got off a 3 week migraine too. It is pure hell. You explained this disease so well, thank you.



  14. Sheryl Chan on June 1, 2017 at 1:57 am

    So sorry to hear about the pains from hell 🙁 Totally get tye bit about people not appreciating what they have…I guess it’s just human nature. I hope your pain eases sooner rather than later, and that you will have many more happy moments with your family! P.s. Looking forward to that post you mentioned!



  15. mymigrainelife on June 1, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Thank you!



  16. thecaringwife on March 5, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I know this is an old post but it is good for me to hear someone else who suffers because I honestly dont know anyone who suffers like I do and it makes me feel like I am just a wimp. A wimp I can’t carry on with life as normal just now. I HAVE to stop. I always think people must just think I am a flake. And like you I sense the to do list piling up and the pressure for when I am well again. Working through things feeling terrible, although sometimes when I’m at the point of going to bed I try to do something – weed in the garden or fold laundry and you know, something light and mindless – sometimes, only sometimes …that can make the pain subside. Do you ever find that? Sometimes lying down makes my migraine worse, sometimes better. There are no rules are there…. No two migraines the same (well for me anyway). Sometimes out of the blue they disappear … for no reason… and then return. I find it hard the long ones when you start to question is it something SERIOUS even though it never has been so far in all the years of suffering! Anyway, thanks for sharing. I appreciate it. Sometimes hearing someone moan more helpful than a reading through yet more things to try and find a possible cure for yourself. I love the pic of you on the floor with the dog with your hair tied in a bun. It made me laugh, you look like me with my cat and esp in your joggers and t-shirt – classic migraine look I’m sure we can all relate to! Lol. Xx



  17. mymigrainelife on March 5, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for your response. You definitely aren’t alone. No 2 migraines are the same for me either and the guessing game seems to always just stay guesses with no answers. You aren’t a wimp at all and living with a chronic condition is a marathon fight. Best of luck to you!



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