It's one thing to read about the phases of migraine: prodrome, aura, attack, postdrome. (And I recommend you do read about the phases; it helps to understand that a migraine is not just a bad headache. No, indeed.) It's another thing entirely to live the phases of the migraine.
I'm currently in prodrome. It may not yield a full-fledged migraine -- sometimes things ratchet back downwards. Still, it's unpleasant: irritability, cravings for sugar, sleepiness; everything is too loud, too bright, too scratchy or too squeezy, too salty, too much. This phase includes watchful waiting for aura: nausea, dizziness, pins-and-needles, and then a run for medication when the aura kicks in.
(I would medicate earlier, during prodrome, but sometimes the ibuprofen can increase nausea/stomach pain. It's a delicate matter, pain relief.)
The hardest part about prodrome: the gathering of the Darkness in my head.
The Darkness seems to be a desolate fog, yet it is populated with ugly little gremlins who congregate and whisper and draw strength from one another.
There are gremlins of frustration and sadness: they shine a painful light on all my responsibilities, causing them to telescope unnaturally in length and grow in weight. There are gremlins of despair and yearning, who remind me about the things I want that I cannot have. Accompanying them is a small throng of gremlins who join forces to drag out bitter remembrances of exhaustion and loss and heartache.
And in the center, one particularly cruel gremlin stands solitary, arms crossed, and roars with a vindictive stare that I am completely alone, that no one will help, that no one cares -- and that if I ask for help I will be rejected, laughed at, abandoned.
This is the gremlin I fear the most.
It is somehow a relief when a migraine slams with its full force. It obliterates everything -- even that solitary demon -- and I am left in the soft light on the shore, soaked, shivering, and happy to be alive.
You know: if I could vanquish that solitary gremlin, I think I could banish all the others, too.