Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The "let down" from stress migraine trigger - UGGHHH!!!

So, Happy happy news!  I found out I was approved for my long term disability insurance!!!  That has been so much stress - financially (and then how all of that impacts my pain and anxiety).

I felt relief and relaxed some when I got the news - which by the way was by receiving a strange email from work which made me check the website again - which I did every day and had called the previous day - and on the website said approved - not a call and didn't receive the letter for 4 more days.  I still have to do the social security disability but am waiting to rest first till January as all the paperwork and all is stressful and hard.

Anyway, I felt SO much relief the night I found out on the website.  I had a lot of questions regarding money and budgeting and health insurance and all that - that's the CPA in me! - but I let it go that night and just relaxed that everything was going to be okay and whatever the answers to those questions were that at least we wouldn't be homeless and could pay bills and would figure out health insurance someway.

Now - let me be clear - I have chronic intractable migraine that is also transcendent.  Basically meaning that I am always in migraine state without stop.  So even the relief isn't a relief from all pain but was a relief. 

Say - oh I almost got political and was going to talk about torture or what some may say qualifies as torture - whether by our military or others.  I am thinking I will go with another analysis - don't want to hit any nerves.  I could have just left this paragraph out or deleted it - but for me this is stream of thought so there you have it - a useless paragraph.

So - to give an example of staying in pain but relaxed you have to imagine that relaxation isn't relief of pain but a let up of some pain or just finally some muscles relax without lots of meditation and foci. 

Let's go with an example not related to pain per se - that many can relate to.  Say that you owe $25,000 of CC debt and other debt home, school loans, loans for your kids to go to college, etc of $100,000.  And you have just enough coming in to cover interest and barely touch the principle amounts so in effect you feel like you are drowning and fighting your way through every day looking for a way to make things better or just be able to do more than pay interest that seems to go nowhere helpful to you.

Then you find out that you bought a lottery ticket on a whim and you don't win BIG - but you win enough to take down your credit card debt to $10,000 - still it is going to be difficult to get everything paid off and you don't have more to come in but now the interest charges each month are lower so with same payments more can go to principle and get the debt down much more quickly.

You still have issues and worries and stress, but you also have some relief - that is if you used your winnings to pay down debt and not go on some spending spree which you were smart and paid down debt in the scenario - otherwise you have done nothing to help your situation.

So you can see the sigh of relief, the breathing room, the light at the end of the tunnel.  For me, it meant not only helping financially because I was going to continue to have funds coming in rather than none, but also that I could go from worrying month to month to knowing I could truly focus now on feeling better.  Eight months ago I could get into a meditative state to do my yoga within 20 minutes (which is necessary because the pain tenses me up so much that yoga without such could injure me).  Then 2 - 4 months ago it was taking an hour or longer - sometimes much longer.  And in the past month I have been unable to.  Because of my anxiety disorder along with the migraine and everything got to tensed up and I try 3 + times a day at meditation and I can't reach what I was able to do before.  Sometimes I can after a long time but not like I used to.

So the relief I felt was like a much needed let go of tension and some relief of pain - although not gone.  I was so happy!


The following day was good and I was feeling the same and then around 1:30 or 2pm BOOM!!! Massive increase in pain and for the next 5 days I could hardly move or talk or anything because the migraine was SO bad. 

That's when I remembered, yes stress is a migraine trigger for me as well as anxiety, weather, certain foods, many scents, lights, etc...  But also just like after the end of EVERY tax season even before the transcendent migraine I would crash hard and have bad migraine for days on end.

Because the let down from stress is also a migraine trigger for me!  YAY!!!  Oddly, I knew this but was so excited about the relaxation, it skipped me until a day after I was hit and couldn't figure out why it had gotten so much worse so fast and had checked diet, etc...

Same thing after Thanksgiving and my beautiful sister's birthday party.  I psyched myself up and adrenaline kicked in so I could attend - because I cancel so frequently - and really wanted to see family and be with them.  And after CRASH!!! 

My darling husband worried and at my sister's birthday party wanted me to leave because my head was hurting worse and worse and he was worried about the crash.  I had to explain to him that we knew and know it's coming!  But I need a life too. 
And even small things bring it on - like niece and nephew coming over to show costumes for Halloween and after I crash.  Like when I have to go out to the doctor or worse the store that we know after I crash! 

I explained that we have to live with the ups and downs just like if I go somewhere and someone is wearing something or an aisle in the store has smells that relapse me.  This is my life.  The good point of it all is that now that I have some stability with the approval of LTD for a little while I can focus on getting more of my life back.  That the ups and downs can be more managed as I get back to being able to get my meditation foci back and starting in January should be able to budget some to my acupuncturist again (whom I haven't been able to see due to finances since last April). 

Another awesome thing and again I have to say I am blessed with my team of doctors - I cry about it - my neurologist PA told me to go back to the acupuncturist when I could manage in my budget or to call and ask for reduced prices.  THAT IS AMAZING!!!  Not many neurologists would say go to your acupuncturist.  I remember the days when they wouldn't dare send you to a chiropractor.  (I kind of wish that was still the case as I have gotten no relief or help the many times I've tried with a chiropractor).  Just tell me WHY insurance won't pay for acupuncture?  It helps so many people!  Granted you have to get a good one that knows what he/she is doing but that's the same with any doctor.

I guess I'm writing this post - although I've gotten off track many times as per usual - to all of those who have "let down" from stress migraine triggers.  AND to those who may have it and don't realize.  If you are a student, do you find yourself in bad shape after finals?  If you are in writing and have to meet a deadline - any business for that matter where you are pushing to meet a deadline - do you find yourself in bad shape after it's over?  Everyone, do you find after the holidays you hit rock bottom - or sometimes during because perhaps you pushed to get ready for the holidays with guests, or going places and scheduling and shopping?

The "let down" migraine trigger is often over looked or misread to be caused by something else. 

So what do we do about it?  Well, let's not say there isn't anything we can do because we can.  We cannot obviously keep all triggers from occurring - it can happen at the store if you have multiple chemical sensitivity - you can't see it coming.  But, we can try to manage things.  We can try to not over achieve to meet a goal - personal or business.  What I mean is we can over achieve - but we can manage our time and our goals such that we aren't at a push where we are having to reach down and pull the adrenaline up to push us through only to crash later.  We can study on schedule so we don't cram for finals - maybe the migraine still comes but it is more manageable or not as lasting.

We can take control!  I have found oddly enough that so many migraineurs are also over-achievers.  I have heard comments and have been the person who pushed to be better and better and thought that my bosses would think more highly of me because I worked so hard even through my illness.  That I would be rewarded for pushing myself.  And I absolutely just as I have heard from others that we want to be the best and that we want our work to be OUTSTANDING.  All of that good - but not at the expense of your health.  I ended up from OUTSTANDING to on DISABILITY unable to work.  Which is so hard.

YOU and I are worth more.  We are worth putting our health first.  We are worth it!  And we will have set-backs and we should not demoralize ourselves for that.  A reminder I need often - which my incredible therapist helps me with but also has to remind me of again and again.

Take care of yourself.  Look out for signs of the "let down" migraine trigger.  And this isn't just migraines - my NCS also acts up with the "let down" from stress (and acts up from stress).

It isn't about having no stress because that is impossible.  And it isn't about not trying your best so you don't have a "let down" episode.  It's about managing your time, your life, your responsibilities.  It's about putting you first. 

And it's about not punishing yourself when you get it wrong.  We all do.  Twelve years as a CPA and every busy season (there are multiple ones during the year - 5 I dealt with) I tried to manage and not push and then did anyway.  Sometimes because I managed too well and so I felt badly for others and picked up their slack and pushed anyway.  It's great to be a team player.  I don't feel bad about that.  And I don't feel bad about the work I did.  Or when I pushed myself for a presentation that went great and then crashed.  I feel bad that that is what put me on disability.  I couldn't maintain because that was my job as I became an expert.  So I did great but I was always stress migraine or relapse "let down" migraine and once I was transcendent chronic migraine always in pain the increase made it impossible.  So, I am on disability.  I am going to now though be able to focus and learn and manage and learn to manage and as I get better at it - even still in pain - I hope to get back to work, however and whatever that may look like.

The "let down" migraine trigger - you don't see it coming or forget it's coming until it's too late.  I got hit just from getting good news that relaxed me.  How do you manage that?  Not get good news?  No, you move on which seemed impossible during those 5 days but even in a lot of pain now, I see, there is light.

So, what do you think about the "let down" migraine trigger?  Do you have it?  Did you not realize it until much later or perhaps until reading this and looking back?  What about non-migraineurs - do you have "let down" trigger that relapses your chronic illness?  What do you do about it?  I think the thing is being proactive, but it's too late a lot of time so what do you do if it's too late?  What about when you realize you've overdone it and it will come because of it - is there anything you do to lessen or abate it?

As always - I wish you all the best and I hope I've brought some light onto an issue.

Wishing you the best health and the best of the best!



  1. So glad you qualify for the long term disability. It makes the social security drama much less frightening financially.

    I'm not sure if it's the let down or the build UP that makes me fall to pieces every once in a while. I think I can physically push myself too far and am too stubborn to realize it or acknowledge it. Great post!

  2. Congratulations on the disability decision going in your favor. I know it's a long, stressful process. Hopefully, you can now focus more on yourself and finding good care and relief.


  3. What a great "relief" it's good to know that you were able to get coverage, I have a good friend that is in a similar state.

  4. Thanks Winny - after many many years and doctors showing me that let down is a migraine trigger I think it's true - and this time there was no buildup like pushing for tax season end or pushing for a presentation - it was just anxiety relief.

    I think a lot of us push ourselves to far and I am still at fault for that - thanks for the comment.

    Teri - thanks that's the plan to focus now more on getting better because the month to month short term disability was stressful and now I can breathe and budget and forecast. And prepare for social security filing.


  5. Disability Insurance Quotes - thanks - I will be thinking of your friend that things go well. It is difficult and more so when it is so hard to think!


  6. Congrats on being approved for the disability. I know how it feels to suffer from migraine, as well. I also applied for Long Term Disability.

  7. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comJuly 10, 2014 at 11:53 PM


    Hope this finds you well. Healthline just released an interactive guide on migraine triggers. The page details 14 common triggers for migraines and how you can manage them. You can check out the guide here:

    This is very valuable, med-reviewed information that helps a sufferer lessen migraine severity and frequency. I thought this would be a great tool for your site, and I am writing to ask if you would include it as a resource on your page:

    Please let me know if this would be possible. I’m happy to answer any other questions as well.

    Warm regards,
    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

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