Everyone is bound to experience a headache or migraine at some point in their life.
However, Luke MacDonald, 33, explains that even if you imagine the worst headache of your life, it doesn’t compare to the ordeal he is suffering from.
He has been living with cluster headaches for decades but was only diagnosed as an adult.
The 33-year-old said that the pain is nothing like a migraine or a strong headache.
He compared it to a “hot poker” being driven into the back of your eyeball.
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Luke, from Hertfordshire, said: “The problem with it is people say, ‘Oh I have migraines too’ but it is a world apart from that.
“It is completely debilitating; I live in constant fear of the next attack.”
He explained that the headaches always strike exactly at the same time – 11:44 pm and 2:30 am.
Luke, who now lives in Cambodia, where he runs a burger van, is keen to raise awareness of the excruciating condition
He said: “I get them at 11:44pm on the dot, until 12:44am. I then get another one at 2:30am.
“It starts with what we call in the community a shadow, it’s like pain shadow which creeps from behind your head to your right ear.
“It is always on the right side of the head. Then once it fully starts, it is the worst pain imaginable.
“It feels like a red-hot poker is driving into the back of the right eye from inside your brain or like something’s dragging the back of the eye into your brain.
“The pain gets increasingly worse, until you literally resort to trying to knock yourself out because it’s so bad.
“You are sensitive to light, sound, everything – it’s like someone has set a bomb off behind your eyeball.
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“I would take any other pain over it, there is nothing that compares to it.”
While Luke suffered from his first cluster headache aged just six, he didn’t get a diagnosis until much later.
From the age of 18, he has been travelling around the world, spending time living all across Asia.
It was only when he was in Thailand and he had an attack that a doctor diagnosed him with cluster headaches.
Since then, he managed to live headache free for three years, which he attributed to taking “a heavy dose of psilocybin mushrooms”, until the attacks returned two months ago.
However, Luke isn’t the only one struggling with this extremely painful condition and he found an active community on Facebook which is a big comfort to him.
He said: “We basically, try and stop each other from killing ourselves.”
“There are some people who have it chronically, and for them, they have headaches for maybe ten hours of the day.
“For people like that suicide is very common, and I do not blame them for it. This illness is killing people and there is so little research into it.
“I just want to raise as much awareness of it as possible so more research can be done to reduce the suffering, we all have to go through.”
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