Venting about migraine disease: the slow-release method

This post was written for the October 2012 Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival. This month’s topic is “Venting About Migraine Disease: How do you vent your frustrations about living with migraine disease in a way that’s helpful to your healing, both emotionally and physically?”

Fagore pressure cooker on a stovetop

Before I answer, please allow me to introduce you to one of the most beloved tools in my kitchen: my pressure cooker.

A pressure cooker is a truly wondrous device: by capturing steam, it can defy the boiling point of water and so drastically reduce cooking times. But it does have its limits. It is best used with certain foods and techniques. A fast release of pressure can obliterate delicate tissue. And if used improperly, it can blow a gasket.

Kind of like my brain.

So if my brain is like a pressure cooker, how do I vent my frustrations about living with migraine disease? Slowly, very very slowly.

When I was first diagnosed, I was probably a fast-release migrainer. Some days, I was easily irritated and would fly off the handle at things that would normally never bother me. I eventually went on daily medications for chronic migraines, but certain triggers, especially food triggers, could break through the meds. It took a long time, and a lot of self awareness, for me to get it, “this would never normally bother me.”

I learned that frustration was actually the early warning sign of a migraine episode. And the quicker I let it out, the more likely I would blow a gasket and have a full-blown attack. So instead, I’ve worked hard to maintain an equilibrium, recognizing that for me frustration is an expression of the disease, not a reaction to it.

Do I still get frustrated? Yes. Sometimes I think that I have let my disease define my life, how at its worst it led to the end of a marriage and a career, and how it can still addle my brain to the point that I can’t grasp the simplest recipe, much less a chef’s knife. But then I think, that’s a migraine talking…slow release, slow release, slow release.

close up of pressure cooker valve

And eventually, if I’m patient enough, like when that little yellow button on my pressure cooker goes down, “click” the pressure is off and the world is right again. I remember that I have redefined my own life, found a loving and supportive partner, and am exploring a new career path that gives me pure joy. I remember that I can cook, and I can cook food that actually helps me feel better and hopefully other people too.

A big thanks to Katharine Hope of Healing My Migraines for hosting this month’s carnival. Be sure to check out all the other great stories at

One Comment on “Venting about migraine disease: the slow-release method”

  1. Rogers Tahir
    6 October 2012 at 13:34 #

    Reblogged this on World Churches.

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