There's nothing funny about getting a migraine

The pain's like a hand-drill direct to the cranium but whenever I have to cancel plans because of my old adversary, I suspect people think I'm making too much fuss

Related Topics

Whenever I have a migraine, during the long hours of lying in the dark waiting for the agony to abate, there's a lot of time to think. One thing that always pops into my mind is an old sketch from The Catherine Tate Show.

Tate's foul-mouthed character Nan is setting the world to rights in a doctor's waiting room, when an ill-looking woman pipes up.

"I'm sorry, do you mind keeping it down? I suffer from terrible migraines..."

"Oh, I am sorry sweetheart I feel terrible for you. Don't feel you've got to explain anything to me. I feel dreadful. Would you like a mint?"

"I just need to see the doctor."

"Yeah, you go and see the doctor sweetheart, yeah. He'll sort you out. Aaaaaah."

At this point, the migraine-sufferer is called in by the doctor.

Then Nan lets rip.

"WHAT A F***ING LIBERTY! She's got HEADACHE! Sat in a doctor's surgery with a headache. Oh they want SHOOTING THEY REALLY DO."

When I have to cancel plans or call in sick because of my old adversary, I suspect that some people think I'm making a bit of a fuss over a headache. Having spent Good Friday and Saturday alternating between my sickbed and the bathroom floor, I'd like to remind everyone who isn't one of the eight million sufferers in Britain that a migraine ISN'T JUST A HEADACHE.

Not only is there the pain and the spavined vision, there's vomiting, and numbness too. As The Migraine Trust explains on its website, a migraine is a "complex neurological condition". Do spread the word. I tried to when I crawled to the chemist to get prescription migraine tablets, and the pharmacist made "helpful" suggestions as I waited. Had I tried painkillers? I'd rather just go straight for a gun, I said, trying for a friendly explanation of how I was feeling but ending up sounding insane.

Because the pain of a migraine does make me go a bit mad: whether it's fantasising about clawing my eye out or relieving the pressure with a spot of hand-drilling directly into my cranium.

The madness – and the pain – has subsided now, and I shudder to think of how the people who get migraines once or twice a week cope. Mine are every few months and look at the fuss I make. But if there's one thing you could do, when you next hear a colleague or friend has had one (and there are 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK), it's to say "poor you" rather than, "ooh, headaches are awful, aren't they?"

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam