Since my twelfth I've been battling with frequent severe migraines. These are not 'just' normal headaches. I call them "visits of the beast" - because of the monstrous stabbing pain that makes me nauseous and sensitive to light and sound. All I can do is lie down in a dark room, cry for relief and hope it will pass soon.

Dear Migraine Monster,

I’ve talked about you before. Wrote about the crazy things I’ve tried to get rid of you. How you keep coming back monthly, weekly or sometimes daily.

But this time we are doing things a little differently. I am writing directly to you. Because I had an epiphany. And I would love to know if I am right in this.

Could it be…

…that you are my coping mechanism to not have to deal with any insecurities? That you come visit me when I subconsciously deal with anything that strikes you as ‘dangerous’?

If this is the case, you’ve been protecting me against the stress and trauma you’ve seen me suffer through in the past. Giving me migraine is your way of keeping me safe. So that I stay at home and do not try anything new.

You force me to stay in bed and rest.


You are afraid of yet another miss. That I will pour all my love and energy into something that yields nothing but disappointment.

Like with the lawsuit after my graduation project or the unsuccessful teamwork with my friends. That failure hurt so much that you’d rather standstill. Then, at least things cannot go wrong.

But tell me my Monster: how can I move forward in life without trial and error?


Talking to new faces is outside the comfort zone. So you stop me from doing it. I think you are afraid that I don’t have anything interesting to say or that I’m not able to make a connection.

But does that really matter? If I push myself and start talking, I might find the creative connection that I long for.

I know you just want to help.
But really, you’ve been way too overprotective.


Some years you are more present than others, but you’ve always been there right by my side. Ready to step in when things became a little too much.

About 20-30% of my life was spent in bed with migraine (or walking around like a zombie because of medication).

I’ve always felt that it was very unfair of you to come to visit me so often. You sometimes didn’t even give me the time to fully recover before the next attack hit.

Therefore I became a freelancer – mostly because I wanted freedom, but (to be honest) also partly because I am afraid of how you affect my workdays. Regular hours are not possible for me. I need to be able to catch up in the evenings and weekends to meet my hours.

Planning for my goals and retouch deliveries is also pretty difficult with you poking around in my life. But you know what? I should be enormously proud of what I have accomplished anyway.

Despite your efforts I never missed a single deadline. And I am proud to say that most of my clients probably have no idea you exist.


For the longest time, you made me believe it was a tumor in my brain that caused the unbearable pain. The doctor told me it was highly unlikely, but the thought kept creeping back in.

Until, at 31 years old, I finally got a CT scan to prove me wrong.

Last year you even took away my joy for festivals. Because after every party you knocked me down hard. At first, you blamed alcohol so I stopped drinking. But even after 6 alcohol-free months, it didn’t make any difference.

I then started to believe it was the combination of late nights and loud music. Which caused me to shy away from anything party and fun related.

It made me miserable and feeling down.


I’ve been working on my health for a while now and came across several situations that told me about your real truth. Heck, my boyfriend tried to talk sense into me almost every day.

I found articles like these online:

Each migraine attack represents a repetitive unconscious killing of the frustrating object. There is no conscious awareness and no depression. The migraine is “a specific and early acquired attitude of the patient towards dealing with overwhelming strong destructive impulses”  – (Sperling 1964)

But you are strong and mean and know how to manipulate me. You whispered in my ear that all these theories were bullshit and I shouldn’t listen.

So I just couldn’t believe it was true. I still cannot fully.

This would mean that I’ve laid down in bed tortured by pains for almost half of my life and I caused it all with my own damn mind?

My stomach turns and my heart rate goes up.
Is this you telling me I am right?


I have realized now that you are not a beast or monster at all. It’s just been my way of looking at you.

Beneath all your anger you only carry love and good intentions.

So from now on, I will treat you as a puppy. Instead of becoming angry about your visits (because you take my time away), I will invite you in my arms and hug you. I will tell you that everything is alright and that your worries are unnecessary.

So that you in turn can free me of the pain.