What comes first?

What comes first?

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As someone with 18-years of experience with migraines, I can tell that every attack is preceded by strong emotions. Due to certain chemical reactions in the brain a person may feel anxious, annoyed or even depressed for no obvious reasons. And then the big M breaks out.

I’ve been wondering, why is it that I most often get the darkest thoughts before the attack and I literally suffer emotionally every time, but when a headache starts, all the emotions disappear? At such moments I don’t care about anything: I can’t cry or laugh, smile or frown – it physically hurts too much. And once the pain is gone, emotions slowly come back to me.

Read more: 54 Years of Migraines

Migraines are triggered with many factors, and strong emotions are probably number one on this long list. But then, people suffering from migraines often end up depressed because they are in pain so often and their functioning becomes more limited. That in its turn frequently causes misunderstanding from their loved ones, friends and work colleagues as most people do not really get this disease. “Headache? So what? Everybody gets it sometimes. It’s not that bad, get it together!”.

Read more: Migraine: My Mistakes and Conclusions

So, does depression lead to migraines, or do migraines cause depression? It’s probably both, and the vicious circle is difficult to break, just like a rebound headache after triptans abuse. The right course of action in every case is surely up to a doctor and a patient to decide. You either start with treating your depression first, or learn how to relax and remain calm at all times – utopia if you ask me.

A happy medium is recognizing your own triggers and symptoms, and help yourself as early as you can. Whether you feel depressed as a result of migraines or you get migraines because you are depressed, doesn’t matter as much in my opinion. You have no choice but learn how to adapt to your condition either way.

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