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School-Based Health Center Helps a Child Overcome Migraines
*Photos reflect the spirit of CFA and are not of any individuals associated with these stories
In September of senior year in high school my headaches began. They were splitting headaches, the kind that make you double over and clench your jaw. My vision would get blurry, I’d get sick to my stomach, and nothing but sleep made them subside. So I’d sleep for days. Unable or maybe unwilling to get out of bed, I’d miss school weeks at a time. My absences were so bad I began failing classes. I’d loved school, everything about it –seeing friends, learning new things, having conversations with the teachers. But, once the headaches started, all of that seemed to disappear.
The principal became worried, so the school filed a report implicating my parents for educational neglect. They were angry, which made the headaches worse. I knew things needed to change, so I listened to what the grown-ups were saying and went to the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at my school. They examined me and referred me for medical tests, but the tests didn’t show anything wrong.
Things began getting better when I talked to the mental health clinician at SBHC. I told him about family money problems that started after my dad lost his job. My mom wasn’t able to work, because she had to take care of my grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s. He was living in our house, and caring for him was becoming physically difficult. My parents were running out of money, and I could sense their stress, which made me anxious. I helped with my three younger siblings and my grandfather when I could, but it was never enough.
The counselor helped me realize that my headaches were caused by the anxiety I was experiencing. He met with my parents and me together a few times, and we talked about sharing responsibilities. They discussed adult issues privately, and together we figured out how I could make up my missing assignments and get back to attending school.
I feel like a new person now. My headaches have gone away, and I’m back at school on a regular basis. Things feel calmer in my house. My parents are less stressed, and they handle more of their adult issues privately. I brought my grades up and will be graduated in June!
I really believe that I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for the SBHC.
Child & Family Agency operates thirteen School-Based Health Centers providing physical and mental health care in New London, Groton, Stonington and Waterford schools. To learn more, click here.
*At Child and Family Agency we respect everyone who comes to us for help – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, client names, identifying details, and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.