Just Because I Do Things With Migraine Does Not Mean My Pain Is 'Lesser Than'

My migraines are better managed than they have been for over a decade. Not great by a long shot. They still pretty much happen every day, with no-pain days snuck in there every once in a while. But the intensity is better, so I cope with them better. And I have to function to work. So I am not going to apologize for doing things with migraines.

First of all, I have a level of acceptance about the pain I have. I understand I will be in pain if I do nothing. I will be in pain if I do something. Might as well do something… and be prepared, of course.

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So I do work – in a job I can handle in the capacity I can handle it. Sometimes I’m working with high intensity migraines… and those times are when I utilize the triptans.

I do go online with a migraine. It is a great distraction technique and I use Flux on my computer and my FL-41 specs to make the light soft.

I do socialize with a migraine. I don’t go to rock concerts or excessively loud places, but I do play cards with friends, have fires in friends’ yards, go to karaoke with my karaoke friends and go to coffee with my mom.


I do exercise. I generally want to do this when my pain is low or before a migraine begins, but I do do it.

I do read with migraines. This is something I can just do – I tune out the pain when I read. Like I tune out so many other things.

So when people comment they can’t do these things with migraines… Well, they can’t. When they imply your pain must be lesser because you can? It doesn’t mean my migraines are lesser because I can. It means: a) I have different distraction methods for when in pain. b) I work because I need to work and many people with chronic migraines do need to work. So we make it work in some way or another. c) We all have different ways to cope with pain. d) Socializing is something I didn’t used to do with pain, but my psychologist, rightly, said it would help with mood so I made an effort to do things I could do with lower pain on days I could, making sure I was prepared though.

Worst are the people who say if I do these things we do not have a migraine at all. I am sorry, I am not apologizing for doing things when I have a migraine. Intensity of them can vary with treatment. If I holed up in my cave and slept off every migraine, then I would spend my life in bed. I simply cannot do that. Not with work. Not with just life overall. I will not apologize for having a life with pain. Why would I? Nor would I apologize for having a level nine migraine and being laid up from it all day long. No guilt there either.

I am not apologizing for all the things I do to manage my migraines, or the self-care I need for working with them, but certainly not for living with them. I have no option but to do so – they are chronic and daily. I have to live with them.

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Thinkstock photo via Strekalova.

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