Migraine Brain Fog
Migraine brain fog is real and fortunately temporary. Migraines are being recognized more for being more than a headache, but that is taking time. As we learn and increase awareness we have to have conversations about all the things that may impact the migraine sufferer’s life. However, during this stage of a migraine one may feel anxious and exhausted at the same time. This is where continued empathy and compassion continue to be so valuable in this migraine life.
What is Migraine Brain Fog
Migraine brain fog can be a part of the stages of a migraine. There are four stages and not all people go through all stages. Read more about the specifics in my post Migraines 101. The four stages are prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome. The American Migraine Foundation explains that brain fog can “occur up to 48 hours before and up to 24 hours after head pain.” It is this brain fog that can actually serve as a sign to the individual that a migraine attack is about to occur.
In addition to the brain fog affecting one prior to the pain, the American Migraine Foundation further explains that this brain fog can show up in what is commonly called the “migraine hangover”. For those of us that have experienced this, the term migraine hangover is a good analogy for what one endures. At first a patient may feel such relief that the pain is better.
However, that may be followed with exhaustion and the inability to think at your best. Fortunately, this brain fog is temporary and not something that changes a person or their abilities. It is something that the migraine sufferer learns to deal with. It is time we identified brain fog as part of the migraine and gave the migraine patients time to move through all stages.
How to Deal with Migraine Brain Fog
Sometimes providing yourself grace and rest is the best thing you can do for your health. It is tempting to want to jump back in after an attack and perhaps even make up for lost time. However, it is very important that the migraine sufferer does not rush so much that they find themselves magnifying lingering symptoms or even pushing themselves back into an attack.
The brain fog may make you feel like you are in slow motion or can’t quite put your thoughts together. Remember this is something that can be typical for some as a part of their migraine experience and you do not have to be alarmed. With time and rest these symptoms will subside. If things continue or seem to worsen, checking in with your doctor is always a good idea.
My Personal Experience
As a teacher and mom, sitting out additional time does not feel like a good choice. However, I have learned the hard way that if I don’t give myself the time I need to rest I will pay the price. That means if I am in an exhausted state and can’t quite think yet, I need to take a little time to rest. Otherwise I may push myself into another attack.
If I am struggling to put my thoughts together I need to check in with those around me. If it’s been a rough migraine night I go in to my teaching teammate and give her a heads up. I am honest with her and I trust her which is a huge blessing in my migraine life. Being surrounded by people you trust is so valuable.
What does brain fog actually feel like? In my experience I may be trying to put my thoughts together and know that what I am coming up with is not 100 percent. This can feel very discouraging and even paralyzing at times. The key is not to let it get you down or ruin your day. This is why giving yourself grace and moving forward at your own pace is so valuable.
It isn’t your fault and it is going to get better. In the grand scheme of things it is short lived and many will not even notice. This is just some of the fun or challenge of migraine life.
How Do I Explain Migraine Brain Fog to Others?
Honesty really is the best policy here. There is no reason to feel ashamed. As mentioned this is not the migraine sufferer’s fault and it is very short lived. It should also be noticed that brain fog does not mean an inability to do one’s daily responsibilities. This simply refers to some additional challenges that the migraine sufferer endures. This is what makes people with migraines a group of people who learn to persevere and appreciate pain free days.
So, share with family, friends, and coworkers that the a migraine approaching or the last stage of your migraine may slow you down a bit. However, you are committed to taking care of yourself and keeping them in the loop. You can also assure them that you will reach out if you need time to rest and ask for compassion as this is a part of your life.
This makes you who you are and who you are is a person living as a migraine warrior. I had a very wise person share that with me at my school. When you find those people hold onto their words and their friendships.
Thank you for visiting migraineroad. Migraines can be an illness that isolates. Here you will find resources and encouragement. Feel free to reach out through the contact page and join our Facebook Group. Migraines are a beast, but they can be contained.
Coming up next I will be covering some requested topics and writing about migraine tracking methods. My hope is to support and encourage.
Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the medical and health area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any medical or health related decisions. For your health related questions, please seek the advice of a licensed physician or any other qualified health care provider immediately.