Facebook statuses often make me want to weep. Not only because they can be inanely boring, (I really don’t care what your Hamster ate for breakfast) and everyone in the WHOLE WORLD seems to be having a much more exciting life than me. Seriously, why is everyone posting pictures of their wedding/honeymoon/exotic holiday at the moment??? But the main Facebook status offender, for me, is the following:
(For legal reasons these are made-up examples closely based on real life examples)
“Got hammered last night, hangover from hell. Head exploding.”
“Last night was mental! Think I’m dying right now. Where did I leave my bra?”
“CAN NOT MOVE. Just vomed under my desk. AGAIN. Going to tell the boss I’ve got the flu. Never doing flaming sambuca shots again.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good night out as much as anyone. I too literarily think I’m dying when I have a bad hangover and swear I will never touch any alcohol that is blue and comes in a test tube again. But people, for those of us with les migraines (that’s French for migraine) we get hangovers too, of a different sort. The kicker is we don’t get the fun night that usually precedes a killer hangover. The hangover I’m talking about is not self-inflicted.
No-one really talks about migraine hangovers; the technical term is Postdrome phase. Yes, that’s right, a migraine is actually split up into 4 phases, fun! So once the ‘headache’ painful bit has passed, comes what I like to call the hangover. Not everyone experiences all phases and I’ll write about them in more fascinating detail another time. Recently, for me, the postdrome has been almost as bad as the migraine itself and can last for a day or two. I’ve debated with my Neurologist whether this hangover is due to the migraine itself or the Triptans I take. This phenomenon is actually an on-going debate within the migraine community, and the least studied of all the phases. I really wish they’d make a pill just for this bit.
Basically, a migraine hangover is pretty much like your alcohol induced mega hangover. I feel like my whole body is bruised, specifically my neck feels incredibly tender, if you just touch it lightly - that hurts. My throat aches and I feel like I have cracked ribs and bruised lungs (if such a thing exists). And let’s not forget my poor tummy. Ow. In short I feel like I’ve been beaten up, like I’ve been mugged the day before. And then someone has kindly filled the world with knee deep water that I have to laboriously wade through to get anywhere. So, the best and only thing I can really do is lie in bed and wait for it to fade. Obviously I’m pretty knackered too, having been through anywhere between 4-72 hours of migraine fun. I usually pretend I’m floating on pink fluffy clouds as that would be less painful than my bed, which suddenly appears to be made of nails. So although the migraine has gone, one is not exactly in a great state. This is also a dangerous time, as if you attempt to do anything, such as force yourself to go out to a previously agreed meeting, there is a very real possibility that you’ll just invite Mr Migraine back for round two.
Weirdly, I crave the same foods as when I have a normal hangover – i.e junk food/greasy fries, full fat coke. But sensible is to try and drink as much water as possible to flush out the system and eat fruit/fresh veg. Though Mum (otherwise known as Saint Jill) is always telling me to ‘listen to my body’, so…. I also just lather myself in hot water bottles but also try not to get too stiff, again as that could just re-trigger another migraine. As I said, it’s a perilous time.
The problem I have now is that a normal, next day alcohol hangover headache will automatically turn into a migraine. So, it’s a question of deciding if the occasion is worth risking a migraine for and laying aside a few days for recovery, after all life is for living. For example, a good friend of mine got married last December. I asked another friend to drive me to the wedding in my Mum’s car. I was actually coming out of a migraine hangover state but I rallied, even danced till the end of the night! I had a lot of fun but at 4am was giving myself Sumatriptan Injections. But I had a great evening and am glad I was there for my friend. Look, here's a picture of us later in the evening, yes, I did decide to dress as a Christmas bauble...
Plus, I’m a very useful friend to have around when you have a normal hangover. Being a virtual walking pharmacy I can dole out all sorts of potions and pills like Mary Poppins herself.
Of course, the sensible option for a migaineur is to go home early or sip water all night. Alcohol itself can be a migraine trigger, but that’s a whole other blog post.
In conclusion, it’s not that I have absolutely no sympathy for my non-migraine buddies who are nursing their hangover heads, it’s just that I had 10 hangovers of my own last month and only one was self-inflicted. If anything I miss not having the wild, hysterically funny tale of how I got this horrendous hangover. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to post some pictures of my extremely cute kitten on Facebook accompanied by some terribly witty remarks….
Do you get migraine hangovers? What are your top tips for this phase?
Other insights/further information:
Nerve Blocks of All Sorts
Topamax Part II
I'm not part of a Cult - I just live at home!