Migraines aren't pain. Migraines aren't bad headaches. Migraines aren't "oh, yeah, everyone has headaches" or even "yeah, everyone has migraines sometimes"
Migraines are being trapped.
They're the exhaustion of watching, searching, finding every trigger you have, and knowing no matter how hard you look you'll miss them. They're the exhaustion of trying, time after time, to find safe activities, but instead finding more places that are neurologically unsafe. They're the exhaustion of needing to rely on others, because of not being safe to drive and public transit being inaccessible. And cities in general being inaccessible, so not being able to so much as live somewhere with public transit. They're the exhaustion of trying. And the hopelessness of failing. They're the trapped of knowing that people say they care and don't. The trapped of knowing that every mistake you do costs. The trapped of knowing that every time you go anywhere you are weighing the cost over the otherwise trapped of never leaving. The trapped of wanting to do things. The trapped of making things not happen and knowing it is because of you.
Migraines aren't pain. They're the work of trying to manage.
They're the knowing how it doesn't matter how much you do, you'll still end up in migraine anyways. They're the knowing that if you don't try it'll be so much worse than if you do, so that statement of "it doesn't matter" is wrong. They're the knowing that more of your energy goes to trying to manage trigger avoidance than actually manage activities you enjoy. They're the burnout when you've run out of spoons simply by trying to manage, not by trying to do. And they're the trying and trying and trying and trying and trying too long and too hard to the point you hurt yourself in the process.
Migraines aren't pain. They're fear of unknown.
They're needing to be prepared for every situation. They're needing to know that migraines might, and will, occur, in the least expected times. They're needing safety plans. And plans for simple things. Like what do I do when my brain will not see. They're needing escape plans. And to always plan everything to the last detail in order to have a chance they might be safe. They're needing to carry so much that people watch suspiciously. They're needing to train yourself to react appropriately to your body's own reactions. They're needing to know what to do when because the unknown means not prepared.
Migraines aren't pain. They're work. They're exhaustion. They're misunderstandings. They're flailing around trying to catch anything to hold onto in order to get through a situation when you are both cognitively struggling and needing to escape. They're people telling you that everything happening isn't real. They're hearing that you're over-reactive, faking, none of what bothers you really exists.
And they are pain - but the pain they are isn't just physical. It's pain of trying and failing, and just wanting to curl up and cry because how many times can you go out and fight a world to simply exist in it.