Migraine personality

I wrote this in another thread a while back but thought it would be interesting to see the connection between our personalities (if there is one). When I was a child I had anxieties of having my cuffs the same length on my cardigan and glass of squash had to be in the same place at night. I was quite a shy child (blushed easily) but wanted to achieve. In employment I wore myself out to make the work perfect and finished on time, often in a state of burning cheeks syndrome, highly stressed but always wanting to please and nearly always met targets.
Double checked work for mistakes etc. If I start on a mission, I will persevere, through hell and high water to get to my goal.

I push myself to go into situations where I know I will be highly embarassed, tense and nervous, but still go there and put on a face of confidence. If I get angry with someone, while I am trying to reason with them calmly, my stomach is churning and my heart racing.

Nowadays I have to do lists and have to work my way through them, sometimes 4 things happening at the same time, my head feels scrambled and I am in top gear. This often makes me flap and leave bags in shops etc.
Soon after we adopted our daughter, I left her in the shopping trolley and left the shop :shock:

All this is going on inside, but on the outside I come across as confident at interviews, calm and efficient.

Well theres my story, I would be very interested to hear yours as I am slowly beginning to feel that my attitude and the way I am is part of my constant migraine state.


Christine you sound a bit like me. Always seem to be trying to get stuff finished. Not happy to ‘just leave it’. People think I appear calm when inside I’m exploding. I’m a perfectionist too, and a bit obsessive I guess. I actually think I may have female Asperger’s - women with Asperger’s tend to compensate well and can learn social norms, so it’s not as obvious as in men. (Not saying everyone here has Asperger’s!!!) I like things to be logical and orderly. I think people with Asperger’s may be hypersensitive to their environment too. I prefer watching a documentary on quantum physics or seismology than ‘going out with the girls’ - now I sound well weird! I store reams of trivia in my head from song lyrics of the 80s to capital cities of US States. However I would definitely draw the line at trainspotting (although I’m fascinated by planes…) :lol: and hopefully I’m saved by the fact I love clothes, shoes and literature and cuddling my kids (but not other people!).

However, I would caution against terms like the ‘migraine brain’ or whatever. It can make some people think we are to blame for our migraines and if only we relaxed we’d be ok. I also think having this thing somehow shapes the way we are - it must do. When I’m feeling relatively well I feel I have to do everything to ‘catch up on lost time’, as I don’t know when it will strike again.

I think I’m at least as much the way I am* because* of the MAV as much as the other way round.

D-I (having a really bad day today and needing to stop hanging around this board for a while!)

Hi dizzyizzy,

I dont like cuddling other people, but used to love cuddling my cats. I hate it if I am out shopping with a friend and they link arms (are we odd!)

I also know every tune and lyrics to all the advertisements from the TV from way back (I mean decades), yet dont remember faces of people I know, in the street :?


This is interesting. I do have similar personalities as you guys. I would say I have a type A personality. I always want to please people and I get upset if I don’t get something done or if it is not done right. I have always been shy and I have gotten a little less shy as I have gotten older. I defeinitely get stressed out easliy and I like to plan out my day just in case something goes wrong. I am a really clean person and sometimes can be a little obsessive. I never really have had anxiety issues until MAV started but now I just get anxious sometimes when I am in a public place and start to feel dizzy. Besides that the only anxiety-related thing I have is an irrational fear of throwing up. If anyone is sick or starts to feel sick I stay as far away from them as possible. It can take over my life sometimes. I don’t know if this is all related to having MAV or what? I think that fear is also another reason why I am so hesitant to take any type of medication. Does any of this sound familiar?

I mean you take any group of people and ask if anyone out there has a similar personality…of course some are?

Your attitude may have something to do with how you feel (it always can) but I don’t think your generalizing has any basis, and for what it’s worth I don’t really relate to what you’re saying and I have the same ‘condition’ (or at least family of conditions) as you (I think). I mean, I get the brainfog when I feel super crummy and I can’t think straight, but organizationally I’m no different than I was 6 months ago when I was ‘normal’. Yes, I put a face on sometimes. That’s no different than most people.

Or maybe I just misunderstood you and am way off base.

Just FYI…
People with naturally low serotonin are thought to be “perfectionists” and “high performers”…this was told to me by my doctor and I think I’ve read about it in a few books re: serotonin. We usually can deal and do well with our low levels,
but when we start aging, the sero drops to below the baseline and these differing symptoms surface…

Hi bkk,

I see you have just joined our site. I hope you are finding it of help to you. I cant even remember what it felt like at the beginning when I had only had this condition 6 months having had it now for over 20 years.

I think you may have misunderstood. I wasnt saying you are different now to what you were 6 months ago before the condition started, I was talking about how my personality all my life, even as a child has been the same and could have contributed to the condition. In fact, I got stressed out the other day trying to sort something out and instead of giving in, pushed on and ended up with a full blown vertigo attack that night. Proof that the way we approach things can bring on an attack.

I think it is important to realize that you cant completely separate mind and body. I have quite a few friends with migraine and we are all similar personalities, that is why I felt it might have been of importance to find out if this was a contribution to our condition. After all, we are all here to try to find a solution to our MAV and anything that might help should be discussed, hopefully in a friendly manner :slight_smile:


(and I hope I didn’t come across rudely, i was merely not understanding and it didn’t seem to make sense to me)

so you’re saying that like people who don’t listen to their bodies and just push through things with kind of a hard head? Like “pff I’ll be fine I’ll get through this” and then wham a big migraine? I was like that for a long while but lately I think I’ve been too much on the ‘wussy’ I don’t wanna get a full blown nasty attack I’d rather just take it easy route to see how it treats me for a little bit before my mayo appointment.

Hi bkk,

Well just a little, but you are male :lol:

I think you are taking the right approach, if you can change and be more laid back than you used to be. This is what I was saying, I cant seem to change this side of my character. I work through lists of stuff throughout the day, which I could leave, but I dont and I can feel that familiar “cheek burning” that I get before a nasty head comes on, but I still keep going. Trouble is, if I leave it, I cant relax, get bored, and then start again


Yeah until I developed this condition I wasn’t very good at ‘just relaxing’. That’s one thing that I’ve definitely got better at. I saw a psychologist a few times who told me I was burning my brain out with the constant ‘gogogo’ state and how that might be playing a factor in all of this. Since then, I’ve been getting a lot better at being a worthless couch potato :lol: I mean before I pretty much couldn’t ‘just’ watch tv, I had to be on the computer or something in addition…I just need stimulation but I’m working on this.

Some anxiety probably comes from this too as I’m a problem solver with a very active brain so I’m always trying to analyze every little thing and do lots of research. It definitely helped get me the proper diagnoses (the first ent said probable menieres which didn’t make sense to me given all of my research) but overall probably has a negative effect in the healing process.

I am the same. I have spent hours and hours searching through medical stuff. I was diagnosed with menieres at the beginning as well. I had 54% parasis in one ear on the first calorics test. Had several more calorics since then, they said menieres, then not, then inner ear lesion, then basilar migraine, then vestibular migraine. Then when
I said I got the fatigue and fluey feelings when exhausted, they threw in ME. I am still not sure about the last one, I think its just a “we dont know whats wrong” diagnosis.


I know that my first experience of the mysterious malady that eventually has led to to the MAV diagnosis started in response to a combination of stressors that involved my pushing myself rather harder than I had to capacity to handle. I had been finding a career shift a bit challenging (electrician and masseur to structural integration practitioner), took on a task that was unexpectedly exhausting (clearing out the residue of a ton of ready-pour cement), and then tried to focus very closely on another person (somatotherapy) in my exhausted state. I blanked out briefly, a behavior that was not tenable in the context.

Now in retrospect I realize that I could have sloughed off the unexpectedly exhausting task, and taken the minor hit this would entail. But I didn’t recognize the risk associated with pushing my limit that hard–and I was in my early 40s by then.

Previously, I had left a career (counselor) because I tried for a year and a half to handle a difficult job for which I had no specific training (running a non-voluntary alcoholism treatment group), doing the best I could without supervisory guidance, and finally ended up in the hospital with my gut in a spasm.

So I’d say that while I don’t have a classically Type A personality, in addition to being a bit of a workaholic I too sometimes have had trouble taking things in quite as balanced a way as might be good for me and mine. And yes, even for those I try to serve in my work.

Hi guys,

I’m a bit cautious about linking personality type with migraine - especially as something like 10% of the population are migraineurs. To suggest that 10% of the world have similar personalities is too much like astrology for me. Anyway, I don’t know about you guys but my personality is to a degree situationally based - that is, I’m different depending on who I’m with, what I’m doing, where I am, how I feel, the phase of the moon ( :wink: ) and so on. And do we measure personality based on preferences, behaviours or the perceptions of others? I’m rambling a bit here but in short, I think the personality link may be a bit of a red herring.