Writers, Migraines, and Mental Illness
I've experienced headaches since Elementary school, but it wasn't until middle school that I began to get migraines. Migraines and mental illness eerily popped up as a package deal in 7th grade. Amid feelings of worthlessness and fatigue, it felt like my head was in a vice that was slowly being squeezed tighter and tighter until I couldn't take it anymore. 12 hours would go by of this intense pain accompanied by nausea and dizziness. Finally, I'd burst into tears.
The Link Between Migraines And Mental Illness
Does this sound familiar? Studies show a clear link between migraines and mental illness, such as depression and bipolar disorder as well as a link between creativity and mental illness. The co-morbidity of migraines and mental illness just makes things worse for writers. If my anxiety and depression didn't make writing hard enough, experiencing immobilizing migraines has pushed me over the edge many times, throwing my journals into the trash or deleting entire drafts. After three or more days of intense pain and nausea, I have broken many times and taken a trip to the hospital.
Migraines and mental illness have impacted my writing life, but at least I'm not the only one. For instance, Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson both suffered from migraines and mental illness. There is even discussion of the possibility that writers have an increased chance of getting migraines. I've thankfully gotten my migraines more under control using coping skills to deal with stress, which is one of my migraine triggers. Stress triggers my mental illness symptoms, as well, so my coping skills have killed two birds with one stone. Those coping skills, including my migraine tracker, are the most important tools that I use to stay one step ahead.
|Pink and orange watercolor background with text that reads: Is there a connection between writers, migraines, and mental illness?|
The Importance Of Using A Migraine Tracker
It wasn't until I started using the Migraine Tracker tool on the Health Storylines app that I began to realize my migraines come in a pattern. Using the migraine tracker tool, I started adding the date, time, length of the migraine attack, and what possibly triggered it. I didn't think there was any sort of method to the madness. My migraines just swooped into my life and immobilized me whenever... right? Actually, I learned that I get about one migraine for 1-3 days around the 10-15th of each month... right before my menstrual cycle.
Hmm, it seems there IS a pattern. Since I started using the migraine tracker, it's been so much easier to plan for my migraine attacks. Now I know the general time of the month, so I can be prepared with ice packs and schedule my freelance projects accordingly. It has made my life that much easier and given me a much-needed sense of control over the migraine attacks that have been a lurking and sinister presence in my life since I was thirteen. Because the Health Storylines app has many tools, I've used it to track my moods and medications, too. It's a one-stop shop for all my health needs, simplifying the once overwhelming task of managing my co-morbid chronic illnesses.
About The Author:August Blair is the book nerd behind Writers With Mental Illness. She is a freelance lifestyle writer, passionate about writing and psychology. You can find her writing online and in print. Connect with her on Instagram and Goodreads.
As a way to keep this blog afloat, Writers With Mental Illness has affiliates and publishes sponsored blog posts for which compensation is received. All sponsored blog posts are labeled "sponsored." Any affiliate links are recommended because they are products that are genuinely believed to be helpful.