3 Comments People Often Make About My Migraines

How do you talk to someone with a chronic illness, like chronic migraines? What do you say?

First and foremost, I don’t always have to talk about it. While it’s a part of me, it’s not all of me, by any means. Sure, I’m practically a freaking expert by default on the disorder, but I am so much more. I love having fun with friends, talking about our mom jobs and children and my passion for my at-home business. I also love empowering women, traveling, learning new things, current events, movies, home projects, family and so much more.

Sometimes I feel down, discouraged about the never-ending nature of my illness. Sometimes I want to use my twisted humor to deal with it. And it’s OK to laugh about it. I do a lot of eye rolling, sarcasm and laughing. It is so therapeutic.

One comment I get a lot from others is, “I get migraines sometimes but they’re nothing as bad as yours.” This makes me sad; don’t ever play down your migraine disorder just because you’re episodic and not chronic.

If you’re a migraineur, I view you as a fellow warrior, whether you have one migraine every three months or you experience 15 or more a month. I’m no different from you – we both have a neurological disorder that has no cure. I’d love to talk with you about your treatment…Maybe there are some options available you or I haven’t heard of? And I’d be interested hearing how you cope. I’d to share with you, fellow warrior.

Don’t downplay your migraines! Even one migraine is one too many for any human to experience. We deserve more research, we need more treatments, we need better medical care, we need less social and medical stigma. We need more understanding, we need more discussion and awareness, and we need a cure.

Another comment I get from well-meaning peeps, “Are you still getting those migraines? I thought you were getting the botox?” Or, “I saw you this morning and you looked fine!”

Yeah. These are tough.

First, as of 2017, there is no cure for migraine disorder. There are three types of treatments to help:

1. Preventative

2. Abortive

3. Rescue treatments

For chronic migraineurs, usually a combination of all three treatments are required to manage your neurological disorder. So first and foremost, the word “chronic” means simply – it doesn’t go away, it doesn’t end or stop, but it can be managed. So, yes, I get the Botox and yes, it helps. And yes, as disappointing as the reality is, I still get the migraines.

To the second question, darn this can be a tough one to explain. I can look “fine” even when I’m migraining. I am so used to pretending and pushing through the symptoms just to get through the day. It would be embarrassing to me to “look how I feel.” Although, there’s a good chance that when you saw me and I looked fine, I actually might have been fine.

The devious part about chronic migraines is they are sneaky and can be creepy or instantaneous. The nature of the disorder makes my nervous system as sensitive as a toddler with PMS. I can wake up “fine,” run a couple of errands and then – bam! A change in temperature, a startling noise, a fluctuating hormone, or basically anything in regular life can trigger a migraine. And then I’m canceling on you because my little migraine monster is demanding my full attention. They are predictably unpredictable and sly ninjas just waiting to ambush. It’s frustrating making plans with me? You betcha. While I am reliable, my health is not. And it never fails to disappoint me. I feel awful letting people down and I feel awful missing out.

I do hope some of my lengthy essay can end the awkwardness around migraines. Wanna chat about it? I’m always up for discussion.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: CamiloTorres

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Migraine

black and white photo of a woman sitting on her bed and holding her head

What Life With Migraine Really Looks Like

June is Migraine Awareness Month, but simply sharing facts about migraine doesn’t offer a clear picture of a life lived with migraine. I offer my experience with chronic migraine to help others understand what migraine really is. Migraine is lost days, weeks, months and years. Migraine is expensive, both to treat and to prevent. Migraine is [...]
Black and white woman with a flower design on top of her head.

13 Emotions Caused by Having Chronic Migraines

With June being Migraine Awareness Month, instead of focusing on my physical symptoms, I am going to share some of the emotional symptoms. 1. Fear The pain is so intense…Is something else wrong? Is my brain being permanently damaged from the constant attacks? Are the medication side effects going to make me feel worse? Will [...]
couple sitting and hugging on couch

To the Loved Ones of Those With Migraines: Please Be There for Us

Yesterday evening, while enjoying a quiet afternoon of watching TV with my long-distance partner and his daughter, I suddenly didn’t feel so great so I went and laid down. I got worse and worse. I didn’t want to get up in case I was sick and I had a feeling my medication wasn’t working, so I sent [...]
female patient talking to a doctor

What I Wish Neurologists Knew About Patients With Chronic Migraine

I understand I’m just a file. I’m a face and a file amidst hundreds of other patients. I’m a mere a blip on your radar. Your day is busy, full of befuddling cases and complex mysteries that delve far beyond my comprehension. I cannot dream to do what you do. If you’re a neurologist, you’ve [...]