Hello hello!

How do you all deal with restaurants? I’ve started trying to meet my girlfriends for brunch here and there but find it a bit… terrifying. First there’s the whole menu manic panic, then there’s the whole wait staff / back-of-house jig. Then there’s everything else. So far, I’ve found that if I can meet my friends for brunch at a bright farm-to-table spot, I’m kind of OK because I can order fresh spinach with fresh fruit. Maybe an English muffin if I’m lucky. I have to research the menu in advance and know what I’m going to order. Brunch is OK!

Dinner is pretty much a disaster. Dark, crowded, noisy restaurants with candlelight are difficult - the flickering lights are v provoking and the noise makes my ears want to burst. Just navigating the space is wild - typically I just close my eyes and paw my way through. Plus getting to/from anywhere at night is a funhouse disaster! I spend a small mint on Uber. Good gracious I get dancing lights up the wazoo. Fortunately some Brooklyn spots have soda water on tap… So there is that. ((must stay positive!))

I’ve never gone into the extent of how debilitated I am by my migraines (it’s more fun to make light of it) – but I qualify for disability & handicaps if I wanted it. Going out (particularly at night when lights reflect off water and other reflective objects) is very, very difficult.

But restaurant culture is such an intrinsic part of New York and I miss hanging out with my friends, particularly now that it’s getting warmer and patios will begin opening up. To be safe I keep snacks in my bag, because skipping a meal can provoke a classical migraine and I’m actually getting control of those… well, kind of. I had 10 hours without! I sit with my back to the crowds so the motion won’t drive my motion sensitivity up the wazoo. I wear sunglasses indoors - I’m that person! I even extinguish candles if necessary. But still… my peripheral vision takes over - nasty little bitch!

My friends are incredibly patient - we’ve come up with picnics (I cook!) & other ways to hang out in lieu of our city’s celebrated restaurant culture (craft classes!) but I thought y’all may have some tricks up your sleeves. Restaurants are very provoking for me (motion, lights, noise… on top of the light anxiety that what I’m going to eat could provoke a classical migraine) and I’m still on the waiting list for my vestibular psychologist - SO! If you have any tips or tricks and care to share, please do :muscle::muscle:

Hi Primer,

sorry you are having a bad time with this (though the 10 hour migraine-free window is a start :slight_smile: ).

Well, I have no problem with restaurants in terms of the environment is concerned b/c they are usually dim-lit, and I like the dark :). It is the lights that bother me. Crowds don’t get to me either, so that’s not an issue.

In terms of what to eat, I call in advance, if I can, to ask if they use MSG. If they do, we simply don’t go. If I can avoid the MSG, I know the rest of the ingredients by reading the menu, so I pick something that I can eat.

So, I guess, in my case, restaurants aren’t a big problem (besides, I live in boring NJ, and the scene here doesn’t compare to what it is like in NYC, with the colored lights and the mania of the crowds :wink: ).


Hey Primer,

I know EXACTLY what you mean about restaurants. My kryptonite. So many stimuli for the MAV :frowning: But I went out to a restaurant last night and for the first time enjoyed it (and even had 2 glasses of wine!!!) because I’m taking 400mg of magnesium glycinate (KAL brand) per day and 400mg of CoQ10. Try it!! I’m not on any other meds and able to function so much better. I feel so much better that I actually get anxiety about it because I can’t believe it - after three years!

Liv xx


what’s the CoQ10 brand you have?


The whole foods “everyday 360” brand (400mg in one pill) I was using since it had some vitamin E in it too- seems very helpful. But I think I was having some digestive issues from that dose all at once - so I’d recommend getting 100mg CoQ10 and supplementing like 3-4 times a day with it, spaced out. I don’t think the magnesium glycinate causes me any digestive upset. Spacing out the CoQ10 seems to work. Gotta stay away from the darned coffee too. :slight_smile: But I am doing so much better. Give it a go! xx

Thanks, Liv.

Thanks guys. I’m also on nutraceuticles and take all of the big guns daily. @liv85 - like you I once was determined to live without prescriptions (so incredibly determined, you have no idea) and then found myself in my current situation - so before making any big decision, please discuss it thoroughly with your neurologist. You really don’t want to end up in my shoes.

Regarding the topic: restaurants, I’ve tried calling in advance. Once a restaurant (a big foodie one) laughed and told me to eat beforehand and enjoy being with my friends because that was the best I was going to get. Some waitstaff are quite kind and will do the whole back and forth jig.

Candlelight really bothers me, as can sound (sometimes EDM base can get to me) and - being New York! - they like to bring in DJs and flash around the lights and snazz out the place on a Saturday without warning! Those places are inherently lame and I already avoid them but… still.

I’m coming to terms with living in the most provoking city in the us (my VT reminds me of it on the regular). I can be provoked before even getting to the venue which is agonizing in itself. And because I’m provoked by motion, light and sound (and these aren’t even my standard migraine triggers!), restaurants are a strange, strange dance for me.

SO. Back to the drawing board. @Fussyfussy, I like the calling ahead and asking about MSG. That’s a good blanket Q. Honestly, this is New York! You can spit and hit a restaurant. I CAN do this!!!

Hi guys, Yeah I don’t know if I can manage it but I’m trying. I do feel that the natural supplements are just as good as the medicines I’ve tried so far… BUT that said, I was overconfident today about how I was feeling and had two big cups of coffee at work and now I’m crashing a little bit. Pressure behind the eyes returns, then the dizziness/sense of movement. No me gusta. So no coffee or MSG + magnesium glycinate + coQ10 and hopefully I’ll be OK. Best wishes to you guys too - I know exactly what you mean about going out. it’s always a lot more ‘exciting’ for MAVers since we don’t know how lights will effect us in each place! Thrill a minute… :wink: xx

HI Liv,

sorry about your mini-crash. I was going to tell you - don’t overdo it to soon. Dr. S in England says that is a big mistake ppl make once they start feeling better.

You need to baby your brain until it is healed, only then it could take some abuse ;). Like a wound on your skin - if it is an open wound, it doesn’t take much to keep it agitated and unhealed. Let it scab over, heal the tissues underneath, then you are ready to deal with the pokings and irritations of everyday life.


Thanks so much, Asli. You are so sweet - I’m pulling for all of us!! I definitely agree about not overdoing it once I feel a bit better. The magnesium has helped loads with the light sensitivity - or maybe it’s the CoQ10. I confess I wasn’t brave enough to abandon it today since I am on a trip by myself and I don’t want to feel dizzier at all. The coffee was a big mistake though! Never again, seriously. My brain spazzes out whenever I have it. I don’t know what caused this honestly but I do know that ‘natural flavors’ (masking MSG in tons of foods) and caffeine are the worst triggers for me. Yogurt also seems to do something as do foods high in tyramine. Fingers crossed for a good day tomorrow sans coffee! Hope you’re feeling better too - give the mag. glycinate & CoQ10 at 400mg both a shot! xx

Yup, coffee and MSG (as well as aspartame) are my worst triggers, it seems like (even decaf coffee). Yogurt seems to do it to me, too.

Have a good day :smile:
Keep us posted.

Hi you! Yes, the best I’ve felt is on an Atkins-like/low carb diet, which avoids most triggers and keeps me relaxed since it’s low sugar, but it also is necessary to eat carbs to get serotonin produced, so that’s the catch-22! Keep me posted too - I hope we’ll all feel better soon. I am doing pretty well with just magnesium and CoQ10 today. I’m working under intense fluorescent lights at my laptop so that’s a good sign! Still have some odd sensations but nothing like it used to be. xx