They started when I was about thirteen.
I don't really remember the first one, per se. But I remember having blinding headaches that prompted Mom to send me to my grandmother's for her care. She stretched me out on the couch in the darkened living room, no sound other than the rustle of her housedress as she brought me cold compresses for my head. She was a lifetime sufferer, as well, and she knew just what to do to help ease the pain.
And pain is an understatement. They start just over my left eye, a nagging ache. If I take medicine at that first breach, I'll be okay. Often, I am busy and just ignore it, thinking stupidly that it will just go away. Other times, I don't have medicine with me (dumb), and I have to wait until I can get home.
After the initial blossom of pain, there is the explosion. Like a flash grenade going off in your skull. The pain is everywhere, but it centers in my left eye. I won't say that I go blind in it, but I cannot even open it for the pain. (If you see me winking at you with my forehead all creased, I have a migraine.) Light hurts. Sound hurts. Everything hurts.
Then, the worst. If I don't get meds immediately, the nausea hits. I have thrown up from the pain of a migraine, and it's not pretty. (Well...duh...) What I mean is that when I've hit this point, I need someone with me for protection from myself.
Case in point, the first time I ever had a migraine this bad was about twelve years ago. I didn't have any migraine medication at that time, so I tried to rely on over the counter headache meds. They didn't even come close to helping. I ended up crumpled on the bathroom floor, emptying the contents of my stomach from the agony in my head. It was so dreadful that I began to think, If I just bash my head against the tub hard enough, it will knock me out and I won't be in pain anymore. And I was serious. I was going to do it.
So I hate it when people throw around the word Migraine. "Oh, I had a migraine..." and then they go on to prove that they, in fact, did not have one and were just throwing the word around for an excuse or, even worse, a play for sympathy.
If you have real migraines, you don't use them for those purposes. You respect and fear them too much to do that!
So here is my representation of a migraine. Or moreso, the moments when the pain is just starting to subside and you know that relief is on the horizon: