Marian Frances Wolbers

Migraine: Pain of the Body, Cry of the Spirit

From "The Message in Migraine"

"Migraine thinking is desperate and wild. In the throes of an attack, words crowd into your head, or jumble together into a seemingly indecipherable mass of images and notions. Ideas and scenarios push relentlessly, till your head feels stuffed, as though you were suddenly the complete repository of a vast collection of every film ever made, from everyone's corny home movies to sweeping Academy Award-winning epics. Confused amid the flood of bizarre thoughts and worries and machinations of the mind, you also are overwhelmingly aware of the pain, and your search for relief begins in earnest.

Trying to block out the pain becomes your main priority. You grope around for dark clothing to drape over your eyes, to keep out the light that seems to stab into your brain. You consider soaking your whole head in a bucket of ice. You envision yourself as a soldier on a bloody battleground in a vicious war. You wander into the bathroom, and stare into the mirror to see if you can still recognize yourself.

You wonder who turned on this switch, who thrust you into this time-distorted prison of pain and pounding. Is there someone, some thing, some action to blame? And what of the thousands of thoughts that course maddeningly through your head? Can't you shut them down somehow?

Often, the first thing that comes to mind is a drug. Taking a painkiller can have a calming effect, slowing down the barrage in your brain. Painkillers bring you to sleep, to escape, at least momentarily. But so often, even after sleeping, the head still throbs. You take another dose, hoping to kill off the attack once and for all. And yet the sleep is not deep, but shallow, with the same jumble of thoughts mashed into the brain, straining your head to capacity. You wish you could turn off the switch, and bring all this to a screeching halt, or at least to a pace that you can manage.

Assuming you are not completely drugged out, eventually there comes that rare moment of clarity, though, breaking through the pain. If you force yourself to focus on it, you realize that somewhere in there is a voice of truth crying to emerge.

The intellect struggles to stay in command. "You must think logically, and figure this out," says this voice. It is such a familiar voice that you mistake it to be truth. Yet that voice of the intellect turns out to be a ploy: worse than a distraction, it is a formidable roadblock. And putting intellect aside will prove the only way to hear the message of the heart.

Releasing the Message of Migraine

Deep within, there is a message in every migraine, deep beyond the intellect, buried beneath the pain itself, in a place where no pain exists or has ever existed. This message is always psychic, intuitive in nature. That is, the message lies not in the topsoil of the logical, rational mind, but in the bedrock of the soul's foundation."

(2009)

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