As a 23-year-old living in the city I tend to face some obstacles having a migraine condition and also wanting to have a social life. I mean, can you blame a girl? This isn’t an issue that is new to me, however — I’ve been battling my inner social butterfly since I first was diagnosed with migraines in the 8th grade.
In each stage of my life my migraines have brought on different consequences. In high school I missed a lot of school because of my migraines, and surpassed the 20 days we were allowed to miss a year.
In college my hangovers lasted a whole lot longer than anyone elses. It was hard adjusting to living in such close quarters in the dorms. My roommate didn’t understand when I needed complete darkness and silence, which I couldn’t expect her to, and often took it personally, which made me feel guilty for being such a grouch.
Now as I am in my 20s it has come down to choosing between a social life and feeling well. I have come to learn that I can no longer drink. It’s just not smart for me. About a year ago, I had an ulcer in my stomach that ruptured and I was in the hospital for two weeks after having major surgery. If I had gotten to the hospital a few hours later, I might not be here today. During my recovery, my doctor informed me that I could no longer have distilled liquor — vodka, tequila, rum, gin — nothing! The only drinks allowed were wine, champagne, and beer. The funny thing is wine gives me headaches most of the time. So, really I shouldn’t be drinking at all. It has been a major adjustment for me. It seems like such a small thing but everyone my age seems to be getting less and less mature by the minute. Everyone is still in that college mindset and they don’t seem to be getting out of it anytime soon. I actually can have a pretty good time sipping on a water with lemon all night and hanging with my friends. Plus, it looks like I’m sipping on something much stronger. And with my personality, people usually end up thinking I’m drunk anyway. But the reactions and interrogations I still get about it boggles my mind. It’s like what’s more important? My health or getting wasted? Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Even without drinking, I still tend to get headaches being in noisy restaurants or staying out too late after a long day. The right amount of sleep and keeping a similar routine is key, while not always practical. I still need to learn when to just go home and call it a night. I tend to have a guilty conscience though and feel that I need to stay out and spend the time with my friends. I don’t want to be labeled “that girl” who is always leaving because she has a headache. I need to learn not to worry what others are thinking about me and instead worry about that migraine that is coming on. It’s definitely a balance and you need to know your body and listen to it. It’s something I am learning and understanding more with each new day.