Cleo Alexandra McGee
Aged 27, from London
I work as a beauty intern for a busy magazine and being on-the-ball is crucial. You just can’t afford to have a bad day. Photo-shoots have to happen on schedule and magazines have to go to print!
Unfortunately I’ve suffered with migraines since I was 14 and they can strike at any time. It’s so frustrating when I know I have big day ahead and need to be in work but I’m forced to stay in bed with a migraine.
When they strike, I have to lie in a darkened room for at least a day and afterwards I’m totally wiped out for the next 24 hours. They are agonising and make me feel so nauseous that I can’t even stomach a glass of water. I also get hallucinations and blurry vision. So, as you can imagine they are pretty debilitating!
What’s more, I can never predict when a migraine might strike. I have phases of being much more prone to them and when this happens work stress can trigger one.
So many people seem to think migraines are just bad headaches, so I often worry what my colleagues think when I’m off sick and the impact on my career.
It’s not just my work life that suffers, so does my social life. I’ve missed out on many events or get-togethers. To add insult to injury, I usually end up apologising to my friends because I’m forced to stay in!
In the past, my male friends and previous boyfriends have been particularly unsympathetic. Luckily I now have a boyfriend who’s a doctor – so he completely understands!
I’ve also discovered a migraine treatment called Imigran which I get over-the-counter at my local pharmacy. As soon as I get the first symptoms of a migraine and my vision starts to blur, I take one tablet. It treats the symptoms pretty quickly so I can just get on with my day. Now when I know I have a particularly stressful week ahead, I make sure I have some in my bag!