What I wish people knew about my battle with migraine. Now that is what you call a fully loaded statement. Where do I begin?
I wish people knew to show more compassion.
Migraine warriors are not purposely trying to get out of hanging out with you or attending your event. Migraine episodes are out of our control, like food allergies.
For instance. I'm always triggered when someone says, "Oh, she doesn't eat seafood." Correction: I can't eat seafood because I'm allergic to iodine. It causes intense breathing problems, and I could go into shock and die.
I'm not a picky eater. I am not bougie because I don't want to eat at that seafood restaurant. The circumstances are beyond my control, just like a migraine episode. Words matter and many people invalidate the effects of battling a silent illness. Someone should hold a workshop on an exercise in compassion.
I’m very good at appearing to be OK.
In the simplest terms, managing migraine episodes is a full-time job. However, migraine warriors are excellent multitaskers, because we must prepare for the unexpected. I have learned to listen to my body and act immediately on warning signs.
Migraine creates tremendous feelings of guilt and loneliness.
Thanks to a migraine episode, how much of my life have I missed? More than I care to count. If you have never experienced a migraine episode, you will never fully understand, but you can empathize with those living with the condition. Each person experiences migraine differently.
If I could cure myself, I would in an instant.
When I'm having a migraine, I can’t always just "take something" and go on with my day! Wouldn't it be nice if it was only that simple? Want to know another secret? Each episode has multiple stages, so I am still in a recovery state when one “phase” or extreme pain ends. Brain fog and not being able to think, form thoughts, or concentrate are all extremely difficult to manage.
I wish doctors knew more.
This is not meant to be a diss against the medical community. On the contrary, I am beyond thankful for their service and care. Since there's no cure for migraine, the condition forces you to become resourceful in managing pain. Unfortunately, migraine remains a poorly understood and undertreated disease, especially among minorities. Finding the right doctor can also be a challenge. I always trust the energy in all facets of life. If something or someone feels “off,” they usually are. With time and patience, you can find the right specialist for you.
Migraine episodes show you how resilient you are.
You don't just get the title of “migraine warrior.” You earn it. That's right, you are a warrior; never forget that. Our pain and our struggles are valid.
Your mental health matters; protect it at all costs. You will learn what it means to take care of yourself. You will learn how to breathe through your darkest hours. And you will learn how to ask for help when you need it.
Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community.
Photo Credit: Granger Wootz / Tetra images via Getty Images
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