Hi out there.
Woah I've been blogging a bit over the holiday break. It feels good to write. My mission over the next few months is to finish up my holistic nutritionist certificate so I'll be buried in books.
Another month has passed by and it's time for me to check in on the process of weaning off my migraine-preventive medication (amitriptyline). If you're just jumping in, visit my initial post, month one and month two. Also, I recommend reading the book Heal Your Headache to gain a better understanding of the migraine-preventive medication often offered to those struggling with migraines (vestibular migraines in my case) and why.
Although it's happily been an uneventful month as I slowlyyy wean off the medication, I think the emotional component is something that I'll slowly need to work through. The medication has been a security blanket sort of speak. At 21 months in with the vestibular stuff I started the medicine to tackle the spontaneous attacks that would happen. As I've mentioned in the past, in my mind I was 90% better at that time, but the random vestibular migraine attacks were crushing my soul. I'd be riding high at my 90% better, so thankful for the progress I'd made, and then BAM- the symptoms (see below) would reappear and intensify. The first 18ish months had been constant symptoms (with great improvement over that time) so the feeling associated with each of these attacks was deep and it hurt.
As someone who believes in the power of holistic wellness with all my heart, going on a medication for migraines was a big decision. It's one I discuss more in my book.
Below are the vestibular migraine symptoms I experienced most intensely during episodes:
DISSOCIATIVE SYMPTOMS- this was my biggest symptom and the worst; it included derealization (disconnected from my environment) and depersonalization (disconnected from my body)
ANXIETY- this spike was often my telltale sign of what was to follow
LIGHTHEADEDNESS- feeling like I might faint (this is a symptoms I experienced throughout my twenties along with derealization)
PHOTOPHOBIA- sensitivity to light or intolerance of light; big box stores and/or florescent lights were the hardest to handle
VERTIGO- feeling like my world was spinning even though I was still
VISUAL ISSUES / DIMINISHED EYE FOCUS- difficulty focusing my eyes and my world appearing skewed (although I could completely see)
SPACIAL DISORIENTATION- suddenly needing to make sense of where I was; feeling unaware of my body's position
NAUSEA- this symptoms made a strong appearance at times causing vomiting
NECK PAIN- this would often happen before other symptoms made a strong appearance; turning my neck would become difficult and painful to the touch
As I've reduced my dosage this month, I've been keeping up with my holistic support (full routine here). I'll give you a glimpse of what my days (with my natural toolkit of oils) looks like as well as some of the other blissful things that fuel my soul. It has provided me peace of mind as I reduce the dosage, using oils to support my mind & body as well as following my vestibular migraine diet plan. Although, with the holidays I've certainly indulged in plenty of chocolate. Chocolate (vegan) has never been an issue for me and for that I'm thankful. Coffee on the other hand has certainly not always been a friend of mine.
Ok, onto the holistic goodness! [visit my favorite oils for Vestibular Warriors to get yours]
ADAPTIV OIL BLEND:
-I apply this blend on my wrists and back of my neck throughout the day, and it smells dreamy!
-WHY: the oils' properties help boost mood, assist in centering, increase feelings of tranquility, soothe and uplift, and reduce feeling of anxiousness and tension
-I take a few drops of this oil in a veggie capsule morning and night (or use the softgels); I also will apply this oil to my temples if I feel any migraine pain trying to break through
-WHY: the oil's properties support the health of the cardiovascular, immune, and digestive systems when ingested, powerful antioxidant benefits when taken internally, internal use helps calm, soothe, and support the nervous system, and it promotes clear, smooth skin and reduces the appearance of blemishes
-I apply this oil on my temples and dab underneath my nose to wake up in the morning. I'll also apply it to my temples throughout the day, as needed.
-WHY: It is cooling and soothing and its properties combat migraines. Woohoo.
And I talk all about the supplements I take in my Vestibular Warrior e-book and on this page.
I've been starting my days with a matcha latte which is pure fuel for my soul. I've been using Good Mylk Ceremonial Matcha Latte powder + oat milk. I confess that I have quite a love for going to coffee shops on my work lunch hour and treating myself to a matcha latte, but my goal is to make them more at home. I think my wallet will appreciate the effort. I try to make green juice (this recipe) during the workweek and drink that before the latte or midday. It's a way for me to get a punch of goodness.
So the fear piece- weaning off the medicine means that I really need to be in touch with triggers. The medicine took me from 90% to 100% most days, and I've had very minimal vestibular symptoms the last 1.5 years. I do get migraine pain here and there, but the vestibular storm has been quite quiet. Man that's a beautiful thing to be able to say. In no way am I looking to disrupt that. I want to do what is best for my wellness and ultimately I do not want to rely on a medication for life. I want to figure this out. As I write this I very much feel like I'm confessing something to a journal, so I hope it comes through the emotion I have wrapped up in this decision.
I don't have any set plan for what officially getting completely off the medication will look like. I'm going with the flow and reducing by no more than 5mg each month. Of course we're all different, so check in with your doctor before making any changes. There's a variety of migraine medications/dosages and our bodies react in different ways. I wish I knew exactly what it will look like, but that's impossible, so my plan is to be intentional with my wellness routine, listen to my body and keep plugging through it.
Onto another month! Also, a new episode is up on the Bliss Out Vibes podcast. It's about time, right?