Patient Blogs | Migraine
How I Deal With Stress, Anxiety, and Migraine
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Stress is the perfect word for the free space in the center of a buzzword bingo card. Whether as a noun or a verb, stress is everything from a legitimate cause of illness to a convenient, plausible excuse for bad behavior.

I’m not sure if my cynical take on the idea of stress and anxiety comes from being born a baby boomer or from dealing with life’s experiences for nearly 6 decades. No matter the reason behind my opinion, I can tell you with extreme certainty that stress is not a migraine trigger for me.

Having spent 30 years of my adult life as an accountant means I had to live within the parameters of unwavering corporate and regulatory deadlines month after month, quarter after quarter, and year after year. If stress were a migraine trigger for me, then I would have had a migraine almost every day for 30 years.

Can you imagine me telling the IRS I missed a due date because I was stressed out at work or experiencing anxiety in my personal life? Me either.

I agreed to perform accounting functions in exchange for a paycheck, so that’s exactly what I did to the best of my ability. I’ve always held myself responsible for that which is my responsibility.

Living up to my own expectations isn’t without stress. On the contrary, I’ve cried myself to sleep at night, binged on ice cream, lost myself in a favorite TV show, or decompressed with a nice nut-brown ale from time to time. We all have our own way of dealing with stressful situations and to each his own.

For me, the stress and migraine tables are turned in the opposite direction. Stress doesn’t cause my migraines. Instead, my migraine episodes add stress to my life.

Fortunately, my episodes usually tend to hit in low-stress times. Even so, it’s difficult to focus on numbers with a churning stomach and pounding head. Migraine’s intrusion into my daily routine is annoying, stressful, and infuriating. I hate how it steals time from my personal and professional life, but it happens, and it will continue to happen.

Sometimes you just must face problems head-on until you knock them down or figure out a way around them. Probably not the advice you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.

My parents and grandparents instilled within me a strong work ethic and the reality that life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Bad things happen from time to time. Disappointments are out there.

I can’t tell you how to manage your stress. Only you can figure out what releases your anxiety and calms your nerves. Maybe it’s meditation, going for a jog, laughing with a friend, or losing yourself in a good book.

When it comes to the stress created by a migraine episode, I suggest having a plan in place before the episode occurs. Make sure the people around you are aware of your condition and help them understand the role they can play in the management of your illness.

Whether you have migraine-inducing stress or are like me and have stress-inducing migraines, you’re capable of coping and living a good life. Having a plan of attack and a few understanding people on my side is how I control the pain and problems of my reality.

I don’t think my life can be lived without stress any more than my life can be lived without migraine.

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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