The Monster in My Face: What the Pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia Feels Like

had pain medication for my other health conditions so I decided to try that but it gave no relief, not even a little. I placed ice packs on my face thinking maybe if my face was numb enough, the pain would go away. It didn’t. I tried to think to myself, “What is happening? I have a medical background – what the heck is happening to me?! Is it a stroke, a brain aneurysm… I don’t think so… it is in my face… but what can cause such severe pain like this?” Every minute that went by felt like an eternity. The pain was absolutely petrifying.

Pain really is an interesting phenomenon. People handle pain in different ways. Labor and delivery nurses will tell you that some women will scream in pain during labor while others will barely make a sound. That does not mean one’s pain is less than another. People just respond to pain differently. For me, I tend to get very quiet when pain is extreme. When I am in severe pain, I will sometimes just shut down. During this attack, tears poured silently down my face as my body began to shake uncontrollably. I wasn’t screaming or yelling for it to stop. Actually, I almost completely lost the ability to speak and could barely think. Finally my spouse said, “I think we need to go the hospital,” and I agreed.

As many people with chronic illness do, I tend to avoid going to the ER at all costs. I would much rather treat my health issues at home whenever possible. However, on this night, I knew I needed help and quickly. This pain was exactly what I would imagine the worst pain in the world would be. I still, to this day, cannot imagine a level of torture that could possibly exceed the absolute agony of this experience.
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