Patient Blogs | Migraine
How I Ask for Help With Migraine
photo of woman looking out door

I’m complicated. I enjoy companionship and solitude. I appreciate the freedom of choice and the comforting structure of rules and routines. I’m honored to be approached by friends and family in need of a favor, but I hate asking for help in return.

I’m not sure if my motivation for shying away from help when it comes to migraine is more about not wanting to be a bother or about the nature of migraine relief. Being alone in a quiet, dark room relaxes my breathing and eases the waves of pain and nausea.

It’s hard to think about asking for support from others when my body craves peace and quiet during an episode. Where I really need the support of friends and family is in migraine prevention, but it’s difficult to educate people about an invisible illness.

The fear of rejection is at the forefront of my thoughts any time I even think about asking someone to help me avoid exposure to one of my triggers. Thanks to many misconceptions surrounding migraine illness, it’s hard to know when someone is going to be sympathetic to my situation or roll their eyes at me.

Asking a co-worker to tone down the perfume or refrain from using scented candles is often countered with a defensive attitude. I assure you my triggers are not the result of my choice.

If I ask a cigarette smoker to move away from a window or door to keep the migraine-inducing secondhand smoke from entering the room, my intent isn’t to infringe on your rights. I’m standing up for my own right to good health and trying not to miss out on enjoying life with you.

Even something as simple as going to dinner with friends can present a dilemma for me. Changes in eating patterns are my first known trigger. Lunch must be before 1 p.m. and dinner must be before 7 p.m., or I risk consequences.

For many years through many friendships, I tried to explain that eating late is risky for me. Eventually, I’d give up and eat a light meal at home before meeting at a restaurant for lunch or dinner with friends.

It took many years, but I finally found a few people who get it. I agree to eat at any restaurant their more selective tastebuds require, and they agree to eat at a time that keeps me away from my migraine medicine drawer.

The simplest gesture can restore faith and lighten the load of a burden too often carried alone. Asking for help is hard to do, but the risk is worth the reward. Mutual respect and support will lead you to the best of friends.

At my core, I’m a problem solver. Figuring out a way to deal with migraine management on my own is often the easier route to go. I find strength in owning my responsibilities and for many years I believed migraine illness was my cross to bear. Alone.

I’m not sure when or why my perception tilted. Maybe it was the product of maturity. Decades of life’s experiences can bring clarity to the cost of isolation and the value of connection.

It could be because I’m less fearful of rejection than I used to be or perhaps it’s the result of experiencing a simple act of friendship. An act of understanding at the exact time I needed to be understood.

It takes courage to ask for help and compassion to extend a helping hand without judgment. Much like me, life is complicated. We could all use a little help from time to time.

Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community.



Photo Credit: Ascent Xmedia / Stone via Getty Images

WebMD Patient Blog © 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Tammy Hader

Tammy Hader

Diagnosed since 1986

Tammy Hader has been a migraine warrior for over 5 decades. A staunch proponent of migraine management, she has developed the knowledge base to help her navigate relationships, an accounting career, and many lifecycle changes. Hader lives with her husband and cat in southcentral Kansas and enjoys writing, cooking, hiking, and football season. Follow her on Twitter, Medium and Bizcatalyst360.

Latest Blog Posts From Tammy Hader

Managing Your Mental Health With AS

Managing Your Mental Health With AS

Our mental health is something we should all be aware of. It has the ability to affect every part of our life -- physically and emotionally. Our mental ...

Read more
How I Figure Out My Migraine Triggers

How I Figure Out My Migraine Triggers

Migraine is a sly enemy, waiting in hidden silence for the right trigger to set it off.

Read more