I'm in week 5 of cold turkey due to having medication overuse headache. When I first wrote about going cold turkey off the triptans I was feeling pretty positive - I was expecting the first couple of weeks to be hard and I was prepared.
The problem was I found the first two weeks were relatively easy. Sure I had chronic headache but I'd been expected much worse (imagine having the worst hangover you've ever had - that's what it was like daily). Week 3 was riddled with side effects (mainly depression) from upping my dose of amitryptaline (the preventative medication I take) and week 4 was filled (every day) with bad headaches and migraines.
On Monday I had my 4 week review with the GP. She said things are as they should be - and that it's time to try upping my dose again. On a good note, the intensity of the migraines has improved - but the frequency is still regular and disruptive to my daily life.
Yesterday was not a good day. I felt extremely depressed and it was far worse than the side effects from week 3. I've spoken on my blog before about suffering with depression. So when a drug you take (that ironically is an antidepressant) starts sending you off down that path, it is terrifying. Tom came home yesterday to find me in a heap on the stairs, violently sobbing and feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. When you are in the midst of depression, it's hard to realise it might be a side effect. Tom hugged me and listened to me talk as I ranted and raved about how all this struggling, all this hard work was pointless and futile and how I couldn't do it any more. I won't go into the detail of my thoughts and feelings but needless to say, I really wasn't in a good place.
After a few hours I managed to calm down enough to rationalise the situation. I'd felt like this a few weeks before (but nowhere near as extreme) and it felt very similar to when I first went on Prozac a few years ago for depression - it got a lot worse before it got better.
I struggled to know whether I should write this blog post - as it's not pretty or glamorous and I'm pretty sure people are sick to the back teeth of me talking about migraines. I know I sure am. However, I started trying to think about the future and about hope and about if things do get better. I wanted to have a record of the process I went through, not just for myself but for anyone else that ever has to go through this suffering. Our bodies are predisposed to forget pain (obviously or women would not have babies!) and so when you look back on a situation it can sometimes be hard to remember it all. So hopefully this might be a useful post to someone, somewhere, sometime.
Today I don't feel great - but it's a marked improvement from yesterday - and I'll carry on fighting. In two weeks time I'm supposed to go back to work full time - another thought that terrifies me. I've been doing 3 days a week currently, and even that's been hard. It's so frustrating when you can't live a normal life and feel like such a burden on your friends, family and even society.
But, as my Dad always says (in an ironic way of course) - chin up!
I also wanted to share something I came across on the Migraine Trust website. I recently took part in their Travelling Migraine Diary. Basically, you get sent a diary where you can read through other migraine sufferers stories and then complete your own. They then upload all of their stories to their Flickr page.
|Source: The Migraine Trust - Flickr|
|Source: The Migraine Trust - Flickr|
It was really useful to read other people's stories and to know I'm not alone. Migraine is such a lonely illness - so knowing other people out there experience similar side effects or similar symptoms is a little comforting.
As I said in my diary entry - I will keep trying and I refuse to give up. Let the battle continue.