Migraine and Headache Awareness Blog Challenge 3 - Recurring Dreams

  • Today is day three of the Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge, and today’s prompt is:

    Tell us about a recurrent dream and what it might say about, or mean to your diagnosis of migraine and/or other headache disorders.

    I wrote a poem a few years ago about a recurrent dream that involved my kids. I wrote the poem about my small daughter, but I never truly knew which child would be in the dream, or indeed if both would be there. I believe my dream recurred because I was afraid my kids would suffer the same fate I have been living. My diagnosis was episodic migraine, until I became chronic in the mid 1990’s. At the time of the poem, I also had a diagnosis of chronic cluster headache, and trigeminal neuralgia. (Please keep in mind that I know nothing about poetry.)

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    Ultimately, my kids are why I am still here. I couldn’t give in to my own pain because I felt the need to find answers that would keep them from my fate. My son was diagnosed with Migraine as an infant and was chronic by age 4, and my daughter received her diagnosis as a small child. Both share autoimmune diagnoses with me as well. I feel responsible because I passed this on to them, so it’s my responsibility to protect them. I couldn’t give up on me, because I couldn’t give up on them. My need to help them drove me online, and an advocate was born.



    My beautiful daughter,

    With golden blonde curls,

    And chubby legs,

    And deep brown eyes,

    Plays among the dandelions

    And the horses.

    She looks at me and smiles,

    Dandelion chain around her neck,

    And I wink at her.


    I am a Lioness.

    I am her mother.

    I will protect her with my life,

    Even to put my own body

    Before hers.


    I know the pain

    Of this invisible disease

    And I will not let it have her.


    I am a warrior.

    My sword is Knowledge,

    My armor is Experience.


    I close my eyes and imagine

    A world

    Where she can live

    Without learning how to

    Smile through the tears,

    Knowing I cannot always

    Be her warrior.

    Her Lioness.


    In my dreams I see

    A Great, Dark, Deep pit

    That opens at her feet,

    And inside it

    Is The Enemy.


    I scream.


    The sound that comes from me

    Is not the scream of terror, or of pain,

    It is the scream of a Lioness

    Protecting her young.


    I claw at its face

    And I strike at its neck

    And I push.

    With everything in my body,

    I push,

    And then

    With everything in my soul,

    I push.

    When I think there is no more left

    And I am empty inside,

    And ready to

    Go into the Pit and

    Take It with me,

    I push once more

    And the Beast



    The Great, Dark, Deep pit closes

    And my daughter turns her face to me

    And calls me her hero.


    I pray...


    That my beautiful blonde haired daughter

    Someday is a Lioness

    Protecting her young,

    And I pray that she never

    Has to be a warrior

    Who her daughter calls a Hero.

    © 2007, Ellen Schnakenberg. All rights reserved.

    Please share these awareness posts with others who may not understand what life is like with migraine and other headache disorders. A spark requires oxygen so it can grow into a wildfire, and you are the breath of this project. With the wildfire of awareness comes the hope of reduced stigma and better, targeted treatments for these misunderstood disorders. If you use Twitter, please use the hashtags #MHAM and #MHAMBC.


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    © Ellen Schnakenberg, 2014. • Last updated June 3, 2014.

Published On: June 03, 2014