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What You Can Do Instead of Apologizing Because I Get Migraines

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More often than not, when I tell someone about my battle with chronic migraines, I hear the same thing.

“I am so sorry. It must be so difficult to live your life with that condition.”

While the latter statement is completely true, and chronic migraines invade every part of my life, making it difficult to do even the most basic things, I don’t want you to be sorry for me. You may think that by apologizing to me you are making me feel better, understood, and cared for. However, it just makes me feel like you pity me. I imagine what you must be thinking when you say you’re sorry to me. It usually goes something like the following:

“Poor girl. She is in pain all the time.”

“How can she go on? She has been suffering from this for so long.”

“It limits her so much. I feel so bad.”

I think these things, because I have overheard them being said about me. So, when you apologize, I assume it is a cover for one of the above comments. And, while your thoughts of feeling bad for me may be true, I don’t need you to feel bad for me. Instead, try to understand me.

Understand that I may have to cancel plans or reschedule. I may have to take breaks or naps that could interrupt our activities. There might even be activities that I cannot do at all because I know I will pay for them in pain later. But, don’t feel bad for me or guilty. This is the hand I have been dealt. I deal with it the best I can, and I want you to, too. So the next time you hear about my condition, instead of apologizing, try to understand how this condition affects and changes my life and accept me for who I am and the limits my illness places on me.

In addition to your understanding, I value your support. You may think that throwing your hat into the, “I’m sorry you’re sick,” ring is showing me support, but, again, it just feels like you pity me. Instead, try thinking of things you might appreciate if you were experiencing a severe headache. Maybe a dark, quiet room. Ice packs or some water. Offer to take a break if we are out and about and I look like my energy is fading. Find a nice bench and grab some water with me to let me recharge. Offering these small things or encouraging me to take a break if needed is an amazing way for you to show you not only understand what I am battling, but, also that you support my efforts in trying to maintain a social life, job, etc… Your understanding and support mean more to me than any apology ever will.

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Thinkstock Image By: Poike

Originally published: November 10, 2017
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