Patient Blogs | Migraine
How I Ask for Help With Migraine
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If you’re like me and you don’t love asking for help, you can have a tough go when it’s migraine time. As much as I don’t like it, learning to ask for help before, during, or even after a migraine is often the difference between a management experience and one that’s not. 

These are the four ways I’ve asked for help as a person with migraine.

  • At work: If you’ve lived with migraine for years, you’re bound to get one during the workday. Sometimes a stressful workday can even trigger one for me. I have a few close colleagues at work who know I have migraine. (Some of them have it too). We have each other’s backs. I’ll ask for help with projects here and there. Or I’ll request a meeting be rescheduled for a time that I’m feeling better. Not much at work is that serious to me that it can’t be adjusted. 
  • While traveling: A migraine mid-flight is no fun. Thankfully, I’ve flown with some amazing flight crews who were sympathetic to my needs. Some have made me a strong cup of coffee when I forgot to pack my medicine. Others have made me a cold pack with ice for my head. Still, a few have just said they were sorry and that they hoped I feel better. It’s cliché, but true.  A little kindness goes a long way -- including coast to coast. 
  • While socializing: My close friends and family know I deal with migraine. They’ve helped me out quite a bit during some awkward social outings. I’ve had to ask a friend to drive me in my car home when a sudden migraine made it difficult to drive home. (Of course, I offered her a place to crash for the evening.) I’ve had friends go on medication or ginger ale hunts when I was nauseated -- even if it means a slight detour from our party plans. No one has made me feel embarrassed or bad for asking for help. 
  • While helping: Believe it or not, I’ve been helping others when I was struck with a migraine. I do a lot of work with community groups and nonprofits and sometimes I’m in the midst of rolling up my sleeves for others when I’m sidelined. I don’t want to throw in the towel, so I’ve figured out how to keep my commitment, but adjust. I’ve asked groups to move me from hands-on work (like building a house for Habitat for Humanity) to something like working the registration table or taking photos. This way, I’m still helping, but able to do an activity that’s easier on my migraine.

Tips for Asking 

Decades of asking for help can help you fine-turn the art. Here are some tips if you find yourself needing help.

  • Be nice. When you’re in pain, you can be a little grouchy. I’m a little more curt and overall not as happy and outgoing when it’s migraine time. That said, when I need help from others, I keep my manners in mind. I say please and thank you. I try not to be demanding. My Southern mama taught me you can get more ants with honey than vinegar or however it goes. 
  • Be specific. Even if they have migraine themselves, people can’t feel exactly what you’re feeling. That’s even more for folks who don’t have migraine at all. I’ve learned to be specific when I need help. This comes into play with my husband a lot. I moved from “babe, can you help me,” to “babe, can you turn the TV down and please bring me an ice pack.” When I have a lot on my plate,  I’ll delegate a few tasks to him. He’ll run errands and any number of things that I know will buy me time to get on the other side of pain. 
  • Be a helper. I try to pay it forward whenever I can. When someone needs my help, and I can do it -- I do it! I never know when I’ll have a migraine and need help, and I want to be known as someone willing to help when others need it. Asking for help is not easy. Helping can also be difficult when you have your own life and responsibilities. I consider it tossing up kindness dust and hoping it rains back down on me when I need it. 


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




Photo Credit: Cecilie_Arcurs / E+ via Getty Images


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Michele Jordan

Michele Jordan

Diagnosed since 1992

Michele Jordan, a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, was diagnosed with migraine in 1992. Her writing background includes magazine and online journalism, grant writing, and now screenwriting. She is passionate about both physical and mental health and is the author of the book, Thanking Your Way to Joy: Daily Gratitude Journal. When not writing, Michele enjoys traveling with her husband, trying new, healthy recipes, and cuddling beagles. Her latest passion includes exploring and discussing issues around equity in housing, health care, and the justice system.

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