The fear of storms.
I vividly remember being yelled at when this picture was taken. A flashy line of thunderstorms was rolling across Southeastern Wisconsin and although I was attending a Luau and it was nearing bedtime no one could pull me away from the window. I remember my sister making me stop talking about it, I guess I was scaring some of the younger kids.
I was allowed to just stand there. I couldn’t talk about it. But it was there, just beyond that window and I could feel it.
This was 2008 and the actual fear that surrounded the storms was no longer there. It was replaced with this level of fascination and curiosity that no one else understood.
A few years prior, I’d been through my second round of brutal tornado carrying storms – one of which had taken out a chunk of my elementary school.
That was Father’s Day in 2006.
I remember being rushed into the basement as the sky dramatically shifted to an eerie shade of green. My parents hid me underneath my large desk in my bedroom. They disappeared to another area of our lower level. My dad must have been moving from window to window, watching the storm develop.
But I was alone and I was paralyzed beneath my desk. As the worst of the storm was overhead, my stomach was churning and the deep rooted fear was formed. I was severely sick for the rest of the day. I thought that was how fear manifested itself.
13 years later and I recognize that it wasn’t fear that left me sick. It wasn’t the fact that I’d been in the tornado that formed the fascination and obsession either.
It was migraine.
I’ve always known when the weather is changing or when cold fronts are moving in. The neurons in my brain fire differently in response to barometric pressure changes. But it takes an incredibly large storm, like the one that rolled through today to truly demonstrate a barometric pressure induced migraine attack.
I woke up today feeling alright, the first small round of storms had rolled through.
By early afternoon, I could tell this storm was violent and I was drawn to being outside, feeling the wind and the humidity and watching the clouds fly across the sky.
As the worst of the storm was within 10 miles, the nausea took over and I could barely get down some teriyaki chicken over rice. I struggled to get some nausea medicine down and lathered myself in peppermint.
The sky went black. I curled up in my chair, wrapped up in blankets as I was now freezing. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed again. It felt as if someone was taking a whisk and stirring my brain – there wasn’t pain, but everything felt all mixed up and I was discombobulated to say the least.
I watched the rain begin to pelt the roof and the wind began sweeping through redirecting the rain, the gusts visible and twirling about. As the thunder began to roll in and the rain softened, I could breathe again.
As the sky lightened and the severe part of the storm cell moved further away, the light from my window began to bother me. The pain sunk into my jaw and behind my eyes.
The storm is far from over, but the worst has passed.
I haven’t experienced this since that afternoon in 2006.
I think it’s fair to say it was my first migraine attack that I have any memory of.
Why violent storms moving incredibly fast, full of gusty winds and tornadoes seem to produce immediate onset of a migraine is beyond me. Why this type of storm is worse than an actual hurricane is also beyond me.
Why the migraine comes across as a form of curiosity and has an almost magnetic draw to the storm front intrigues me.
But maybe we should recruit some storm chasers into the migraine community.