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Highly sensitive people & migraine brain


I was reading this article about highly sensitive people and was struck by the similarities with the migraine brain — sensitive to sensory stimuli such as bright lights, noises, etc. I’ve always considered myself as a (too) sensitive person and received a fair amount of criticism on it from my ex-partner. It’s only now that I’m starting to love and learning to like this quality in myself; the article also underlined the positives of being sensitive, highly empathic and attuned.
The reason I’m posting it here is that I wonder if this is maybe the emotional / psychological component in the migraine brain? Does anyone else recognise themselves in the description of a highly sensitive person?
Even before having a balance disorder I’ve always defined myself as sensitive — emotionally but also to stimuli. Then when I started to be dizzy I just saw it all as being a part of the disease called migraine. But I guess I’m trying to say that I’m trying to love the good parts of having a migraine brain? That if you treat the migraine brain well, being very sensitive can also be good, (especially if you’re not getting too ill with it …!)?


Hi Lucy. I read the link you provided and could also relate. As the author says, we are often singled out as being weak because we are sensitive. However, a sensitive person has clear strengths. I would not alter this part of myself.

I definitely have a sensitivity to external factors - noise, motion, light, crowds. It is more distressing at different times. I also think that I process emotions deeply (again, not widely appreciated) and am compassionate towards others. I’ve only just established a link between weather shifts, barometric changes and my migraines. Motion has always been a trigger.

I really like that you are learning to love and nurture your migraine brain. I know that some people are too ill to be able to do that, but kudos to you for being able to do it.

All the best to you & thank you for sharing that very interesting piece of writing.


There probably as many reasons for migraines as there are people, but i believe that our emotions are component or in some cases the reason for an ailment. Someone once told me the mind (brain) and body are one. Why do doctors disconnect the two? Or not consider emotions and psychological health in a diagnosis. It’s up to each individual to try and determine how it affects them and it is not easy.


I bet. In fact ‘all’ we share is a selection of symptoms. In fact even those vary considerably although they share a central core. I’ve had a feeling for some time now that sufferers must all have some predisposition towards a balance problem which becomes activated into a hypersensitive statr when some other trauma, ie fluctuating hormones, a virus, damage to an ear/neck injury, occurs.

With regard to being HSP it could surely be a migraine predisposition. I’d always heard migraineurs were generally workaholics, perfectionists, over diligent sort of ‘Supermen/women’. How true that might be I’ve no idea. It takes all sorts I guess but I was unable to recognise me as being HSP. Always independent, never saying yes when I meant no. Well certainly not from the age of about nine at least. Certainly not oversensitive to external stimuli. I’d never experienced any form of light/sound sensitivity until MAV hit me. Wouldn’t have understood the concept at all. Since chronic MAV I’ve rather caught up though. Since then I’ve often thought had I had the MAV experience years ago I’d have been more empathic but for the HSP migraine types It’s all good stuff in terms of adding to the Life Skills so don’t knock it! Helen

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I agree with you that doctors traditionally don’t take into account to what extent mind and body are one.
And with MAV, where is the separation between mind and brain? I remember Dr S saying that MAV is chronic irritability of the brain stem, which is also responsible for the fight / flight response, and this explains why there’s so much anxiety with MAV… it really makes me wonder what the connection is between the emotions and the illness.


Interesting Helen how you’ve changed over the years, and that you didn’t have any hyper sensitivity before becoming ill with MAV.
I drfinitely had a migraine brain before, if I exposed myself to too many stimuli I would get a headache and if it was a lot of stress, I’d get a classic migraine, maybe 3-4 a year.


Now that may prove the theory. You are HSP. You experience the migraine headaches. Stress gets to you and you are a ‘go along with the crowd girl’. I don’t get the headaches. I’m not HSP and certainly not ‘a go along with the crowd girl’. But we have got the same thing. Different root causes maybe. Helen



I can relate to your post. I am a Highly Sensitive Person and an empath. I get easily overwhelmed by many public situations, and I feel others’ emotions as my own. Put all of that on top of MAV, and some days it just feels like too much to handle. I’m also an introvert with high anxiety… I’m pretty sure it’s all related.

I love your positive outlook! I’m still trying to learn ways to block my oversensitivity, but I am also trying to view it as a gift. You have inspired me to try harder to see the positive inside the negative. Thank you for your post.