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  • Iris Epple

My (migraine) story

I am going to take you on a journey - I share with you my life's major milestones and my personal path of healing. I tell you about where I come from, and how I managed to get where I am today. I hope my story will inspire you to always believe in yourself, to go after your dreams, and to pursue a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life.


This morning, I tried to remember the very first time I had a headache or a migraine, and one image appeared in my mind. I was in school, maybe in second grade – so I was about 7 years old – and I think I had forgotten my glasses that day. (Site note: I got glasses when I was three years old, and after 10 years, my eyes got so good, that I didn’t need them anymore.) I tried to see what was on the board and I realized that there was some kind of white or grey speckle at the exact point I tried to focus on. Weirdly, everything next to that speckle I could see without any problems. And a couple of minutes later, my head started to hurt.


Today I know that that was one of my first migraine attacks with an aura. But I am sure that this is not the first time I had a headache. I can’t remember how frequently, but they already occurred before that incident. I even went to a neurologist to do an EEG – and to get the diagnosis: childhood migraines.


Today, I am not surprised, because my upbringing was anything but easy. Mostly, it was hard and painful, literally and figuratively – not least because of my migraines. I grew up with three younger sisters, and sadly physical and emotional violence was a big part of my childhood. Also, as the eldest, I had a lot of responsibility from an early age.


I did anything to get love, attention, and appreciation from my parents, and to compensate for the lack thereof. I tried to “be a good girl”, put a lot of effort into studying for school to get praise and recognition for my good marks. I continued this destructive perfectionism and overtaxing myself during my studies at university. Throughout my bachelor’s and master’s, I think I had at least two or three minor mental breakdowns and/or burnouts. But if I remember correctly, my migraines weren’t that bad at that time.


My upbringing was anything but easy. Mostly, it was hard and painful, literally and figuratively – not least because of my migraines.

When I wanted to start university, I struggled a lot with picking a major. There was so much I was interested in – the classic scanner personality you could say. Of course, languages and linguistics are my great passion, but I was also very much interested in business & economics. And then, I have always been fascinated by psychology. To help others and to actually make an impact and a difference in other peoples’ lives.


Only a couple of days ago, I realized that today I am actually doing all of that. I can live my passion and interest for languages and technology in my new job as a Technical Writer. And I am building and running my own business as a holistic health coach, which includes a great lot of both, economics and psychology.


Believe in yourself – you can do anything you want! Sometimes it takes some detours, but when you follow your heart, eventually, you will end up where you are supposed to be.


Believe in yourself – you can do anything you want! Sometimes it takes some detours, but when you follow your heart, eventually, you will end up where you are supposed to be.

During my bachelor’s studies in Regensburg, I felt that I struggled in many parts of my life and that I couldn’t deal with my past alone. So, I went to see a psychologist. And during these three years of therapy, two very interesting things happened.


The first thing was that my migraines got worse at first. The attacks became more frequent and more severe. Before, I got them about once every couple of months, and usually, one ibuprofen worked – or keeping very still and/or going back to sleep.


I am convinced that behind every disease, and especially migraines, there are one or several topics and issues on a psychological or even spiritual level that manifest as physical symptoms in the body. This is the general notion of psychosomatics. And for me, I felt that the somatic aspect moved during that time. Usually, when I got upset, I got sick to my stomach and it was not unusual, that I threw up when for example a social situation caused me distress. But during the therapy, this symptom moved, so I didn’t get sick anymore from a GI perspective, but my migraines became more frequent and more severe – now they occurred about once a week and regular OTC pain killers didn’t work anymore.


I am convinced that behind every disease, and especially migraines, there are one or several topics and issues on a psychological or even spiritual level that manifest as physical symptoms in the body.

The second big transformation that occurred during that time I went to therapy, was my re-emerging interest in spirituality. I was brought up religious – my father is a pastor actually, but at some point, I didn’t see how it all applied to me and why I should care. So, when I was a teenager, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.


But during therapy, I somehow got in touch with the idea of a bigger power again. With spirituality in a broader sense – this force and energy that is in everyone and everything and that connects us all. Call it what you want… mother nature, the universe, god? Regardless, I started to include this spiritual practice into my life – meditation, yoga, and this belief that we as human beings are so much more than just our flesh and our thoughts.


I got in touch with the idea of a bigger power… this force and energy that is in everyone and everything and that connects us all. Call it what you want… mother nature, the universe, god…

Around that time, I started to eat a gluten-free diet. This was highly beneficial to my overall health, but unfortunately, didn’t do much for my migraines. So, I went to see a holistic health practitioner, and he helped me a lot. He diagnosed me with leaky gut, histamine intolerance, and also hemopyrrollactamuria (short HPU), which is a metabolic disorder where the body excretes huge amounts of vitamins and minerals due to an error in the synthesis of blood. I followed a strict diet to heal my gut, gut osteopathy, and acupuncture, and my migraines did get better. The intensity decreased a lot and sometimes I went several weeks without an attack.


I was diagnosed with leaky gut, histamine intolerance, and also hemopyrrollactamuria (short HPU).

Then, after I got my bachelor’s degree, I decided to follow my long-standing dream to live in Scandinavia and moved to Sweden to study my master’s degree there.


And the migraines got much worse again.


I have to mention here. I was quite burnt out before I even started my master’s. I didn’t really take time off after my bachelor’s thesis, which was also characterized by my tendency to perfectionism and overtaxing myself. I worked several side jobs, prepared my move to Sweden, etc.


Additionally, moving to a new country, learning a new language, starting a new program is already a lot to take in for a highly sensitive person.


But now, two years later I am a lot better! I have finished my master’s degree and settled down in Sweden in my own apartment. I made some more changes in my lifestyle, my diet (vegan and now also LCHF), and my mentality. Furthermore, I’ve been solving several underlying issues related to my migraines on a psychological and even spiritual level. Today, migraines don’t determine my life anymore.


Today, migraines don’t determine my life anymore.

Almost exactly one year ago, I talked to a friend who had major problems with severe migraine attacks and menstrual cramps. I started giving her some advice and told her what I did to solve my migraines. That moment, I realized how much I know and how much I love to share that knowledge. The idea of my coaching business and my migraine relief program was born.


I then hired a business and life coach to help get started and I did a training as a life coach myself.


Today, I help women to identify and transform the underlying causes for their migraines and to make the necessary lifestyle changes that benefit a healthy, pain-free life.


Drop me a message and let’s find out together how I can help you achieve your dream of a healthy life. I am looking forward to e-meeting you!


Here on my website, you can find more information about my migraine relief program. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to get more valuable information about migraines and holistic health – and to get glimpses of my everyday life.


What about you? I am curious to get to know you and hear about your story. Could you discover any parallels? Let me know in the comments or on the Instagram post!

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© 2020 by Iris Epple