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 missed work days or the inability to work at all.

Migraine is ugly – swollen eyes, bed head, vomiting, messy houses, wearing the same clothes for three days and teeth that go unbrushed.


Migraine is kids having to care for themselves all day when mom is in bed.

Migraine is cereal for dinner again.

Migraine is cancelled plans.

Migraine is your child explaining what “chronic” means to his class, using his mom’s headaches as his example.

Migraine is fear of leaving the house.

Migraine is dark rooms and closed blinds.

Migraine is wearing a hat and sunglasses all the time.

Migraine is “Please don’t walk across the floor because your footsteps feel like nails in my skull.”

Migraine is strange side effects from medicines that were never even intended to treat migraine.

Migraine is genetic, which doesn’t seem matter until your kids are struggling too.

Migraine is wearing out the elastic straps on all your sleep masks.

Migraine is feeling like you depend on your husband too much.

Migraine is an intense hatred of the perfume counter at the department store.

Migraine is buying all unscented products for your home.

Migraine is pretending to be fine, because discussing pain makes everyone uncomfortable.

Migraine is fear of fluorescent lights.

Migraine is lonely.

Migraine is observing, rather than participating.

Migraine is hearing, “Have you tried ______ for your headaches?”

Migraine is repeated phone calls to see if your insurance company authorized your treatments again.

Migraine is avoiding the emergency room at all costs.

Migraine is expending all your energy on surviving pain and having no energy for anything else.

Migraine is watching the healthy people around you and longingly remembering your former pain-free life.

Migraine is thinking, “Is this new symptom migraine-related?”

Migraine is praying a ton because of the great amount of time with your eyes closed in the dark.

Migraine is ice packs – sometimes several at a time.

Migraine is massaging your head so much, you rub off all the skin in spots.

Migraine is cursing, because even though you don’t normally use those words, they really do help relieve pain.

Migraine is being impatient with your kids and then feeling guilty about it.

Migraine is missing out on making memories.

Migraine is hell.

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Thinkstock photo via cyano66.

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