MY first, earliest memory of it, is of being on all fours vomiting in the playground.

In my recollection, I'm looking down at myself from above and all the windows of all the classrooms round about are packed with faces, looking down at me too.

It was, although I didn't know it, my first migraine and I would have been six. The teacher, who had sat me on her knee as I whimpered, sent me swiftly off to the nurse's office as I turned ashen and began to heave

I never made it.

Although I know, intellectually, that migraines are common, emotionally my relationship with my migraines - as if they are a living, independent thing - feels deeply, uniquely personal.

Always, the same pattern. My vision starts to go, I am eventually almost entirely blinded for around 20 minutes to half an hour, and then my sight comes back, bringing with it the headache. The headache I can handle, even when it lasts for three or four days. The headache makes sense. It is pain, nothing more or less.

The vision thing though. I can't hack the vision thing. Sometimes it is starkly obvious - like the bright residue left by a camera flash. It dots around, glinting silver, and very, very slowly expands into incredible shapes. Star-bordered flashes, zig zags. All rainbow coloured and distressingly beautiful.

There's nothing in the middle of these shapes. Not white light or colour, just... nothing.

Other times it's like a heat haze, a gentle, vague wavering in my peripheral vision that creeps round. My hand will be the first to go. I know it's still there, at the end of my arm, but I can't see it. It's like a curtains being drawn.

Colleagues as are though sketched by a malevolent Picasso - this one's missing a nose, that one has only half a mouth.

You must get in quick with the medicine. Once it's underway, nothing can touch it.

Migraines, for me, are associated with a succession of rows for never managing them properly.

Lining up to go in to class, primary seven, and the migraine hits. I don't faint, I just can't stand up and so sit myself despondently on the floor. The teacher tells me off for giving her a fright.

My gran comes to take me home and the GP pays a housecall. "She's doing it for attention," I hear him tell my mum as I lie on the sofa and worry I won't recover, "Just ignore her and you'll find the headaches stop."

Sorry there, pal, but the headaches have never stopped.

The headaches have been blinding and glorious and life-altering. The headaches, the headaches.

A primary school trip to Oban began with a migraine starting on the bus. But I'd been consistently told there was nothing wrong with me so I carried on. I ate a slice of lemon meringue pie. I went on the Waltzers. I vomited six times in various locations around Oban town centre and have never eaten lemon meringue pie since. If you think it's tart enough going down, let me spare you the details of it coming back up.

A kind lady in a shop gave me a soluble Disprin.

God knows how anyone found out, but the next year before the school trip there was a whole school assembly where we were warned not to accept drugs from strangers. Queue much whispering as my peers tried to work out which degenerate took drugs.

As a teenager, migraines were every other week and crippling. I went to my GP. "I had a brain haemorrhage," he says. "Just lie in a darkened room and ride the storm."

I used to lie awake in the night as the aura sparked and think I was dying. Sleep was really the very thing for it but I couldn't sleep, on the off chance I never woke up again. It wouldn't be a nice thing for my mother to discover in the morning.

At a GP appointment another doctor prescribes me a fancy wafer to slip under my tongue. "Try not to use them," he says, "They're very expensive."

Migraines mostly affect women. They are associated with neuroses and hysteria and treatments so far are also treatments for depression and wrinkles.

They are also not taken quite seriously by non-sufferers. A study found one third of people who work with a migraine sufferer believe they use it as an excuse to skip work. Yet, the World Health Organisation ranks a migraine as disabling as a day with quadriplegia, psychosis or dementia.

"What's your trigger?" is a common, well-meaning, infuriating, patronising question. It implies there is choice involved.

I don't have a trigger. If I could prevent them by avoiding cheese or red wine or chocolate, I would. Would I? Give up cheese? Let's not kid ourselves.

But would I really give up my migraines? At long, long last, a new drug, Erenumab, will be available privately from this month. Manufacturers say it is the first drug to prevent migraines, with trials showing it can halve the average number of days patients suffer from a migraine in a month.

An end in sight. But who would I be without my migraines? For me, a migraine is forced pause. I would never make time to be kind to myself without them. With deep pain follows deep euphoria.

I am a migraineur. Always have been.

Is a nonsensical fear of obliterating something one has always known a good reason for calling in sick? My boss might not be sympathetic but I'm not ready to part with this part of my brain quite yet.