Post-Migraine Euphoria: Wheeeee, I Guess

Comparatively speaking, post-migraine euphoria is pretty sweet. It could almost be explained away as the inevitable response of relief to not experiencing such awful pain and nausea anymore, but it is in fact an actual component of the postdrome stage, a legitimate part of the overall greater migraine experience. For me it’s accompanied by another postdrome symptom, cognitive impairment. For a day or so after a migraine, I actually feel stupider, as well as giddily happy. It’s as well that I also lack energy at this time or who knows what I’d do. My muscles feel noticeably lax, my responses to stimuli seem slow, and the simplest movements take more time and energy than usual. Additionally, my blood sugar is low due to my having been unable to keep food down. The postdrome is a good time to loll about reading and napping and petting kitties and not much else.

It’s common for migraine sufferers to have weird dreams during the actual headache phase, assuming they manage to sleep. Sleep is pretty much your best bet when you have a migraine, but the pain doesn’t go away just because you are unconscious. You remain very much aware of the pain and have vivid dreams that you are suffering a migraine while being forced to cope with other difficulties. I once dreamed that I had to transport two T-Rexes by stock trailer, cross country, while my head screamed with pain.

I didn’t sleep much during this last migraine till the pain lifted, so instead of a headache dream I had a postdrome cognitive impairment dream. I just went around feeling baffled and incompetent but also strangely floaty and peaceful. In the dream I misspelled my own name, Crandi, and had terrible letter formation and other disproportionate difficulties with the simplest of tasks.  I was aware of my own impairment, aware that I ought to be smarter and more capable, but all that seemed to come from a long way off. It reminded me of how Victor/Tony described the doll state in “Needs,” the episode of Dollhouse in which several dolls who have been going off mission temporarily regain their original personalities, but not their complete memories, in a test designed to give closure to old traumas and recurring emotional needs. He was there, Victor said, but stuck, unable to get through.

victor sierra

Come to think of it, the postdrome phase is much like the doll state—wearing sweats, resting, walking slowly and calmly from room to room, and not making any observations more complex than “I like pancakes.”


Not so much with the t'ai chi, though.

Not so much with the t’ai chi, though.

The root cause of migraines remains a mystery, though many ideas have come and gone. I read recently that it’s now believed that a migraine may be simply a malfunction of pain receptors, a primary event without an underlying cause of illness or injury. Which is as much as to say that sometimes, life just hurts. Like Topher says in that same episode of Dollhouse, “Pain is just nerves talking to your brain.” True, but hardly helpful.

Thanks, science.

Thanks, science.

I am missing a wedding today as the result of this headache. The family’s away and I’m just here with the dogs and cats. I ran the Roomba some; I’m proud of that. I also rewatched The Amazing Spider-Man, which I saw for the first time night before last. For years I resisted and even resented this movie. It came too soon after the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire franchise, which I dearly love. But Daniel brought the DVD home and said it was time for me to get over it, and he was right. This film is a reimagining that is faithful to the source material while being different enough from the previous franchise to not constantly invite comparison. (The fact that the source material in the comic book world is so broad is what makes this possible.) I feel the same way about Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. I love love love the Kenneth Branagh version, and if the new production had come from anyone else I probably have eschewed it on principle, but, you know, Joss; I had to see his film, and I figured he wouldn’t let me down. He didn’t disappoint. He emphasized different things and made different but equally valid interpretations of the script without being radically different in reactionary sort of way. (Like comic books, plays give ample scope for interpretation.)

I’m feeling a little smarter now. Maybe I’ll run Jarvis the Roomba again, then heat a little dinner. Maybe I’ll watch another DVD, something entertaining and not too highbrow, with a happy ending.

Sometimes it’s okay just to lie low and enjoy not having your head hurt.

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