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Friday, June 8, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #8: Let There Be Light

Oh lights! I have to say that I've never been a huge fan of light, especially of flashing lights and the bright sun. But, since my migraines have become chronic, it's become more than just a dislike. Light sensitivity (i.e., photophobia) is a HUGE problem for me!

Our apartment is our "cave" - we have black-out curtains on all of the windows (and even then, it's sometimes still too bright for me). We don't keep many lights on either, and only use incandescent bulbs. I don't do very well with fluorescent lights, including the compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) that are being pushed for home-use because they use less energy than incandescent bulbs.

I limit my time outside, especially when my head is really bad or on edge of becoming really bad. I still try to get out some, but I do much better on cloudy days (with my sunglasses still on).

I try to choose the darkest booth in the restaurant to sit it (quiet, dark, and away from the crowd) - I then position myself to have as little view of windows, overhead lighting, etc. I can't stand overhead lights with fans... it gives a horrible strobe-like effect that makes me ultra-nauseous and worsens my head pain.

Sometimes, I keep my sunglasses on inside bright houses/apartments, restaurants, stores, etc... I don't really like to do it, but sometimes it can help (even if only a little).

I struggle with all the lights at night, when we're driving back home from somewhere. Even with my sunglasses, the headlights and streetlights just wreak havoc on my eyes and head.

If someone takes a picture that uses a flash, I'm doomed, and it's especially bad at night. The flash affects my vision, sometimes to the point that I can't see anything else, for at least 5-10 minutes (and usually takes much longer to completely go away).

Lighting has become a major struggle for me because I'm so very sensitive to it. I try my best to deal with it without it affecting others, but that can be difficult.

Here's a great resource for ideas to deal with photophobia:  Two dozen tips for light sensitive Migraineurs.

This post was written as part of the Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge (MAMBC), which is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com and the National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation (NHF).