Acting Like I Don’t Have a Migraine: Having to Push Through the pain to Follow My Dream

Amy’s Mom

When I was growing up, I had a good friend Amy. I was over at her house all the time. Her mom was really sweet and she kept chocolate chips in the freezer because she new I liked them. Amy’s mom had migraines. I did not know anything about them and I did not have anyone in my family who suffered from them. Her mom was often in bed in the dark when we came home from school. She could not get up to make dinner. It was really sad. When I was little, I did not understand the problem and I just thought there must be something really wrong. I’m Jewish and my mom is what we describe as a ballabusta, she did everything in our house for all of us every day and was amazing! And by everything I mean our house was always perfect and she made the most incredible food constantly and nothing, nothing was out of place. In contrast, Amy’s house, which still was full of love, was a mess, and her mom was suffering so that she could not handle the most basic of tasks.

Well, since I have had my twins, I too have been afflicted with migraines. According to https://migraine.com/migraine-statistics/, I am one of 38 million people who suffer from migraines and “Some migraine studies estimate that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraine sufferers are chronic.”  Unfortunately, I am not my mother, and I think those clean and cooking genes might have skipped me. Thankfully I have been able to get medical treatment and function better than Amy’s mom. Even on days that it is hard to pick my head up or it would not be safe to drive, I have to go into the booth and sound like an upbeat, cheerful, and conversational functioning person.

Short Commute

Thankfully I don’t have to drive to work, my recording booth is in my house. As a full time, professional voiceover actor, I am one of many in a growing trend of solo-preneurs who work from home. According to the New York Times, in an article by Niraj Chokshi  from February 2017, “Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults.” My recording booth, filled with broadcast ready equipment including a Neumann TLM 103 microphone and an Avalon M5 preamp, is in my house. When I decided to work from home, it was based on my desire to be available to my children. I did not want to miss out on school events like science fairs and art shows that I never would have made it to if I were commuting to New York City. I now realize that with chronic migraines, working from home is the best choice for me. I often do not feel safe driving when I take migraine medicine prescribed by my physician. I also do not have to exacerbate my migraine suffering with the stress of the commute. Working from home has so many benefits!

Pursuing Wellness

The healthy lifestyle that is essential for success in voiceover is also necessary if I hope to prevent migraines.  According to the American Migration Foundation, they advise “Eat a carbohydrate with a protein or a good fat to stay full longer. Don’t eat or drink anything that you KNOW triggers your migraine. Some common food ‘triggers’ are alcohol, aged cheeses, caffeine, and chocolate. Drink water through the day instead of sugary drinks like soda or juice.” I typically avoid gluten, dairy, and eggs. I maintain a low sugar diet. I do Pilates and walk a lot. Sometimes I go two or three weeks without a headache and sometimes I have one or more a week. If I new what the magic recipe was, I would do it consistently forever! All I can do is try my best and stay calm when the headaches come.

Pushing Through- The Headache Doesn’t Win!

I did not choose to get migraines. They stink. But, I love my family and I love my job. I would be devastated it I had to turn down work or change my bookings because of a headache. As a voiceover professional with years of experience, I have persevered through live commercial sessions and long eLearning jobs while I have a migraine. I have completed rush jobs for clients and edited large narrations. I try to take it one job at a time and not think about the discomfort. I am thankful for the work that I have and I will not give in to these darn head aches. At the end of the day, the head ache does not get to win!