Travelling Diaries

Have you ever had a migraine?

According to The Migraine Trust, it’s the most common neurological ailment in the western world.

There are more people suffering from migraine than from diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined, accounting for over 8 million people in the UK alone.

I’ve been getting migraines for the past 16 or so years. I’ve learned to live with them (and luckily don’t get them as badly or as frequently as some people do), and now think of them as part of life.

When I recently visited the Migraine Trust website after a particularly disagreeable migraine, I was very interested to find out about this:

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One of several Travelling Migraine Diaries from The Migraine Trust.

Before, or even after, people are diagnosed with migraine it’s suggested that they keep a migraine diary, to see if there’s any pattern to their occurrence.

Inspired by that idea, and with the aim of encouraging sufferers to share their experiences, the Migraine Trust came up with the idea of a Travelling Diary.

Rather than just using one very large book, they’re sending out a number of blank books all over the UK to people who suffer from migraines, so that each sufferer can contribute their story of how migraines affect them.

I received one of the diaries in the post yesterday and wrote my piece in it this morning:

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My entry in one of the Travelling Migraine Diaries.

After my mum’s added a bit about her experience of migraine, the book will be sent back to the Trust so that they can send it on to the next person on their list.

I enjoyed reading the stories of other people who had written in the diary before me, and eventually all of the stories will be available to view online. The Trust are taking photographs of the entries as they receive them and putting them on Flickr during their Diary Campaign, and you can see them here.

If you live in the UK and have ever suffered from a migraine, you might want to consider adding your bit to one of the diaries. You can do that by clicking on this link to the Migraine Trust’s sign up page.

You can also follow the Migraine Trust on Facebook and Twitter @migrainetrust.

I don’t know if humans are the only species in the animal kingdom to suffer from migraines, but I hope so. I wouldn’t like to think of other animals having to cope with migraines.

Here’s a happy horse I saw the other day wearing a natty red coat and looking comfortably headache-free:

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White horse in a red coat.

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Categories: Books, Horse, Inspiration, Photography, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Travelling Diaries

  1. What a cool idea! Thankfully, I’ve never suffered from migraines. A small headache is painful enough – cannot imagine how a migraine must feel.

    • It is an interesting idea, isn’t it? I found it reassuring to read other people’s entries, it put my own migraines into perspective and made me feel less isolated.

  2. My husband gets migraines, and I’m sorry you do. I was driving one day and saw two cows in a field nuzzling their foreheads together and wondered if one of them had a headache and the other one was comforting it.

    • I’m sorry to hear that your husband gets them. One of the strange things about migraines is how much they vary from person to person, and reading through other people’s entries in the diary was quite an eye opener in that respect. I love your idea of one cow comforting another with a headache, who knows, it might well be the case.

  3. That’s such an interesting project. I thank God that I’ve never had a migraine but I have a good friend who does, occasionally, and I’ve learned to be aware when one’s coming on.

    • I’m glad you haven’t had one, and hope you never do. I wonder if your friend has food triggers that start a migraine off, it’s quite a common thing, I believe. For me it often starts with pain in my teeth, which seems quite odd, and more often than not I try to ignore it and hope it will go away. I must say that doesn’t usually work, unfortunately.

  4. Sorry to hear that you suffer from migraines but it sounds like you have learned to manage them. I have had the occassional migraine but one hasen’t visited for awhile. The travelling journal is a fabulous idea.

    • I hope you continue to remain free of migraines for a long time to come, it’s strange the way they come and go. I have learned to manage them, as you say, and I’m very lucky that I don’t have them as badly as many people do. The diary provided considerable comfort to me and I’m sure it’ll do the same for the other people who contribute to it.

  5. I love your honesty and sharing. Although I don’t have migraines but I know people who do. My English friend pronounces it MEEGRAINS – do you too? Here in America we say MYGRAINS. What a great idea the diary is – and you have such beautiful, clear penmanship. My word, not a single scratch or blip. Amazing!

    • Funnily enough, my dad pronounces it MEEGRAINS, but I’ve always pronounced it the way you do, MYGRAINS. The pronounciations seem to be interchangeable in the UK, although the medics I’ve spoken to have all pronounced it the same way you and I do. You’re too kind about my scrawl but I confess I was trying hard not to mess it up. I get annoyed with my handwriting sometimes because the pen doesn’t always go where I mean it to. Too much computer use these days!

  6. I sympathise with anyone who suffers from migraines – I know how bad they can be, although I am lucky not to have ever had one myself. The diary is a great idea, and I hope that it might shed some light on the causes and patterns, so that migraines can be better understood.
    That horse does look wrapped up warm for winter! I’ve never seen such an all-over cover – that’s the equine equivalent of a polo neck!

    • I’m glad you haven’t had one, and that’s a good point about highlighting the causes and patterns of migraines. It’s one of the aims of the diaries, and I think anyone who reads some of the entries will be struck by the wide variety of experiences people have. I saw a TV programme recently that touched on migraines and mentioned the fact that they’re little understood, but campaigns like the one being run by the Migraine Trust will hopefully provide a few explanations. I was also struck by the extent of the horse coat, the horse was very nicely tucked into it.

  7. I can’t say I’m plagued with migraines — but I’ve had my share of them and I expect to have many more. My heart goes out to people who have to deal with them as part of their every day lives. This diary is a great idea. As they say, “information is power.” The random picture of the horse in a red coat gave me a good chuckle.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you get them and, like you, I feel lucky not to have to deal with them every day. They can be very debilitating and some people don’t respond to any of the medications on offer, which must be hugely frustrating and upsetting for them. The diaries offer a sense of community to those who feel they’re suffering alone, and as you so rightly say, ‘information is power’. I couldn’t resist the horse, such a fine looking beast and so very well dressed.

  8. That’s great that you were able to participate in this project. I think I’ll check their Facebook page for more information too.

    • I’m so pleased I found out about it, Meg, it’s helped me to read about other people’s experiences. I must check out their Facebook page, too, I’ve only glanced at it so far.

  9. I get mild ones which started when I was working with a particularly nasty neurotoxin. Any one who gets ‘proper’ ones has my heartfelt sympathies. I had no idea it was that prevalent, 8 million migraines is an awful lot of pain!

    • I’m sorry to hear you get them sometimes, and I agree that to have full on migraine attacks must be dreadful. I’ve only occasionally had a really nasty one, but I know of people who are regularly knocked sideways by them and that must feel awful. It’s interesting that you’re able to link the onset of yours to the work you were doing at the time. I was surprised by the figures, too, and it makes me wonder how many of the people I see out and about are migraine sufferers.

      • From the stats I guess every eighth person in the UK. My mother used to get them every Saturday morning and we think it was the process of destressing at the end of the week, and she was completely blown away by them. So I’m lucky really.

        • Interesting that your mother had them at the same time every week, I suppose that as they occurred at a certain time it was possible to narrow down what might be bringing them on. From what you wrote it sounds as if she doesn’t get them now, which is great. I think keeping a personal diary does make sense because it’s not always obvious what the triggers are on each occasion. Like you, I feel very lucky that mine aren’t worse, some people suffer so badly with them.

  10. My daughter and in particular my son-in-law are regular sufferers. In his case it’s medicine related, but they both seem to be aware of and responsive to air pressure, which never affects me at all.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your daughter and son-in-law, but it’s good that they know what triggers migraines so they can be prepared. I hadn’t thought of the air pressure issue, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that’s a fairly common problem amongst sufferers.

  11. Sorry to hear that you’ve suffered from these debilitating migraines Lorna. Is it possibly heriditary too, (as you mentioned your mother does too?) The dreadful humidity & heat might bring on a splitting-headache which lasts for a day or too. It’s not the most practical way to deal with the heat, but a nice cold drink and a cool room always work to remedy it :)

    • I don’t know if it’s a hereditary thing, my mum was wondering about that. A cool drink and a cool room in hot sticky headache-inducing circumstances sounds like a good solution to me. :-)

  12. So sorry to hear of your migraines… I will not be naive enough to suggest dietary or lifestyle changes, for I am sure you have tried them all but I do hope you find some comfort… Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, and you’re right that I have considered dietary and lifestyle triggers although it’s not always obvious what brings migraines on. Stress, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate with a high cocoa content can all be triggers for me, but sometimes none of these are applicable and I still get one so it can be hard to tell why it happens. Hopefully with more research we’ll start to learn more about the condition and how to deal with it.

  13. I’m sorry too that you get migraines. I get them too and found that (and I hate to say this!!!) if I eat dark chocolate I’m doomed. Also stress but extreme stress not the everyday kind will also trigger a migraine. Now that I’ve narrowed it down I don’t get them as much but how can one refuse dark chocolate? Lucky for me that milk chocolate doesn’t affect me at all!
    I too hope animals don’t get headaches either but you never know. I love the horse in his lovely coat!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your migraines, and especially about the chocolate trigger. Too much dark chocolate does that to me too, but I don’t like to think about it as I don’t want to give it up. Good news on the milk chocolate front at least, I don’t have a problem with that either, I suppose it’s the high cocoa content of dark chocolate that’s to blame. Stress seems to be a common trigger, I suppose it’s one way of your body telling you to do something about your situatio. Perhaps if we all had a nice red coat like that horse things might seem a little better.

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