Patient Blogs | Migraine
What Only Migraine Warriors Know About Migraine
photo of woman with headache on sofa

How often have I said, “Where has the time gone?” One day I’m walking the halls of my high school, and the next thing you know I’m cruising through a midlife crisis.

Along the way, my migraine illness has evolved from an unnamed ailment to an official diagnosis. Preventive and abortive treatments have helped me in trying to figure out how to live life with an incurable disorder.

We all have our crosses to bear. Though I feel compassion for those with disabilities and diseases, I can only imagine what they are going through. Much like any other illness, there are elements of living with migraine that only a migraine warrior can fully understand.

Everyone knows a little bit about the primary symptoms of migraine such as head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. What they may not be aware of is the isolation, the guilt, and the loss of time that affects a migraine warrior before, during, and after an episode.

Lying in a dark room waiting for my medication to work its magic, I wonder if I’m doing this life thing right. Alone and disconnected, I envision other people unburdened by pain and filled with a sense of purpose. Other people who are achieving personal and professional expectations, followed by showers of appreciation, fame, fortune, respect, and happiness.

I tend to fall a bit short of success. I’m one of the extras filling the stage around the stars of the show. I tell myself every contribution to society is important no matter how small, but amid a migraine episode, this notion is difficult to believe.

Guilt is another consequence of migraine illness that is surprising to many, but not to someone with migraine. Though we may feel isolated at times, the reality is that we don’t live in a bubble. We have relationships with many other people at home, school, work, church, etc.

My illness touches the lives of the people I care about the most. When planning a night out with friends, working on an important project, or mapping out our next big vacation, migraine hovers in silence above me. When will it strike again, and who else will feel the disappointment of shattered plans because of me?

I know, I know. My problems are microscopic compared to those of so many others. Most days I know this and I’m thankful for the life I’ve been blessed with. On other days, the sadness of isolation and the impact of guilt knocks me a little off-kilter.

There’s one other aspect of migraine below the surface of familiar symptoms. Where has the time gone? Time is a valuable thing to lose. The quiet sound of granules of sand dropping through the hourglass of time sneaks up on us, unnoticeable in day-to-day life. For migraine warriors, the loss of time is different.

We don’t wonder where time has gone because we see time escaping from us in the present. We experience the missing out on normal life. We know it’s happening, and we hate it. Far too often we retreat to silent darkness and watch the world move on without us in it.

Ordinary tasks and special events sit on a shelf just out of our reach. That shelf is getting lower though. With all the recent advancements in preventive and abortive medicine, that shelf is within reach a lot more often than it used to be.

My participation in the world is growing more regular. My impact on the people I care about the most is becoming more manageable. Perhaps it won’t be long before missing time is a thing of the past. Fingers crossed!

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




Photo Credit: Ekaterina Goncharova / Moment via Getty Images

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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.

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