Step 1: Curtains. For real. Curtain every entry point that sunshine can leak through. The sun is enemy #1. Be proactive. I've thought about stapling the edge of the curtains to the wall but that's crazy....
Step 2: A well stocked freezer. This is exactly as important as step 1. I would die without my ice packs. I don't travel anywhere without them.
Step 3: Bengay. I'd name my firstborn "Bengay" if that wasn't the worst name in created history. I literally have four tubes of this within a thirty second walk from where I'm sitting right now. A thing I said about Bengay: "...so I grab some Bengay and spread it on my temples. It is so cold and numbing I could marry it." And I would marry it too. But don't ever buy another kind. Only cold therapy is good. I don't even understand why they make another kind.
Step 4: Naps. Naps are the greatest under-utilized tool of my generations, heck of all generations. I take a nap most days. There are few things a three hour nap can't fix, except for when it actually makes my headaches worse. But you win some you loose some. I'd go crazy if I wasn't able to nap anymore.
Step 5: Coke and Tylenol. So what do I do when things get bad even after steps 1-4 haven't worked? I drink a Coke and take some Tylenol. It's absurd that this is my rescue protocol. Rescue protocol is what you do to abort a really bad headache. Rescue drugs are the nukes of your arsenal. So it's absolutely laughable that I expect Coke and Tylenol to do anything. But when you've had nothing, you'll take what you can get. Sometimes it helps, most times it doesn't. But it helps to keep the panic down. So that's something. And Coke makes me happy. I shouldn't really take either of them but I like to be a rebel. As a strange man told me just today "Hey, I like your hair. It makes you look like a badass." *Best compliment ever*
Step 6: Heating Pad. This one is a maintenance tool more than an emergency tool. But I use it every day. My back is stupid and hurts all the time but it's nothing compared to the rest of me. So I give it a heating blanket and tell it to shut up. But my heating pad is really nice and takes the edge off.
Step 7: Take a bath. I love baths. Having bright hair does complicate things, since the color leaks out in warm water. I like to listen to movies while I'm in there. Usually Decoy Bride or New Moon. It has to be something I know well and can listen to instead of watch. But I really don't take too many baths since I'm not allowed to make them scalding lava temperature which is the only way it's worth it.
Step 8: Audible. This is what saves the day when everything else has failed. When I've been at a Level 9 for hours and I can't take medicine and I can't think the pain is so consuming, listening to an audio book saves me. It pulls me out of my pain prison and takes me to another world. It also keeps the panic down and keeps me calm as I wait out the storm. I've listened to the Book Thief 4 times. Jane Eyre chapter 27 a million times and On Writing by Stephen Kind 2 times.
Hope this gave my headache friends some tips and my loved ones a look into my life. What I really probably need is a Step 9: Fluffy baby kitty!! But all good things to those who wait.