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Thor's Hammer


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You can just be sitting there, reading a book or relaxing, as I was a bit ago.

Without warning, a sensation flows from the top of your head to your heart. It is as if someone has just poured ice cold water into your body, but it doesn't feel cold. Rather the sensation of a negative energy source flowing through you and downward, between the blood vessels, around the brain, over the eyes and into the neck and chest. A heart stopping, sinking feeling.

Instantly, your body reacts. The heart starts to race, nerves stand on end as all fight or flight reflexes kick in, but honestly, where are you going to run to?

Your mind races. Was it just a pulse? Is it a shadow, come to say hello? Or, am I a breath away from agony?

When I get these sensations, I picture a mighty sledge hammer, perhaps Thor's legendary Hammer, smashing a walnut. Only it's not a walnut. It's my head, and Thor's Hammer is a cluster headache.

Then the worst thing possible happens.


Pure, unadulterated, straight from the source; pain. It's not like putting your finger into a power socket in your home. No, not like that AT ALL. It is like throwing your whole body onto a power generator, and getting it raw, 100%, right from the source. That is how the pain of a cluster differs from other forms of pain. And trust me, I know.

The pain consumes your thoughts. It shakes you, it rocks you to the core. It starts like a punch in the eye, before a red hot poker is jammed into the socket, right between the eye and forehead.

Time no longer exists. How long have I been slamming my fist into my skull? Is there anything harder? That book? A bat? Anything to distract me from the THIS pain.

Now someone has attached a drill to the red hot poker. It is spinning, ripping, tearing at my flesh, piercing my mind. My nose is running, my eye streaming and drooping, but I'm not crying. Not yet. It hurts to much to cry. Besides, the time for crying is later.

Then the pounding. Pulsating. Hammering on my forehead and temple. I can see the demon in my mind's eye, the beast that terrorises my life. It is dancing its way from my eye socket to my temple, laughing and singing as it goes. Its feet leaving swirling burn marks in my brain.

I gasp for breath. I walk, I pace, I toss and turn, I bang my head on the wall.

The demon merely laughs.

People in the world could have been born, grown old and died for all I know once the pain finally subsides. It takes a moment to find myself again. To remember where I am, what day it is, and if I really care.

All I know is that it's over. The pain has left virtually as quickly as it came. And I feel a massive vacuum has taken its place. A void sucking all sensation back into place. An emptiness and relief nearly as intense as the pain.

Then the tears come. In great waves they come. My body shakes, my thoughts turn into a bizarre mixture of panic and relief. Fear and anger. I can honestly say, I long for death.

Eventually, my body quiets. My mind calms. And I begin to wonder, when will the next attack come? 5 minutes? An hour? A day. A week? How long do I get to enjoy sanity for, this time.


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Excellent description...now I know I'm not alone in this world of sore noggins! Thank you for writing this...mine isn't exactly the same as it never fully leaves ~ at least it hasn't since December ~ but it does flare up...thanks for putting it into words when I couldn't :)

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You're very welcome ann.

And actually, this description only fits about 20% of my attacks. They are often so very different from each other, I'd have to write a book to catalog them all. But I wanted to write a piece that protraid the general experience.

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DB, you're not alone in this feeling ~ I agree that CH is hideous, but the fact that you're on this forum is a positive thing...dealing with this is unfair and exhausting, but know that others around the world stand with you. Hang in there...

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nice description MoxieGirl

yes, the worst in that story is that there is not an end to it... might be worst than the pain.

...imagine the soldier who comes home with PTSD... takes a while to get through it... maybe he (or she) won't...

Now imagine that soldier knowing the return on the front could be in a couple hours, and again later... tomorrow, next week... actually, I'm not sure soldiers could take that.

I wish more of the general public could read this

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What a vivid description, amazing.  Thank you!  I have migraines so have not experienced what you describe but my heart aches for everyone with CH, especially those without the help offered here. 

I am bookmarking this page so I can share your description with any of my friends or acquaintances who do not know the hell of CH.   

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Thanks everyone,

HeadacheRelief - I have migraines too (I think we've talked about them at some point).  Once, I had a really bad migraine, one of those that last 3-5 days. During which time I got a bad cluster attack. The cluster was so strong, that it shut down the migraine for about 2 hours. So, right in the middle of days of pain, I had a burst of really bad pain, then was pain free for 2 hours before it started again.

Big hugs

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