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Contradictions in Coping With Migraine

Contradictions in Coping With Migraine

How many people…

  • Look forward to visiting their families then eagerly anticipate the end of that visit?
  • Enjoy their careers and also resent how much time work takes from their time with loved ones?
  • Love their partners, but want to strangle them sometimes?
  • Think their newborn is the most amazing creation in the world, yet hate the exhaustion of having an infant?

These contradictions don’t mean that a person is hypocritical or wishy-washy. They show that a person is human. Anything that we care about deeply, we can also be frustrated by.

The same goes for coping with migraine. I can…

  • Enjoy a trigger food (or drink or nap or late night with friends…) and still dread the migraine that will ensue.
  • Feel utterly defeated and wonder how I can possibly get through another migraine, yet still see myself as courageous.
  • Want to be doing anything but lying down with a migraine, while appreciating that a migraine attack lets me read. (Yes, I know how lucky I am that I can read during a migraine, I couldn’t for four years.)
  • Hate having migraine and also be grateful for the lessons it has taught me. (This doesn’t mean I’m grateful for having migraine — I’d happily gain insight some other way!)
  • Accept that I have migraine and will for the rest of my life while continuing to seek treatments to reduce its severity and frequency.
  • Be angry about the countless ways migraine has altered my life and still refuse to call myself a sufferer.
  • Declare a “hear me roar” attitude toward migraine, then wonder how I’m going to make it through the next day.

All these thoughts and emotions exist within me, sometimes simultaneously. They are not a sign of weakness or uncertainty, but a reflection on the very nature of being alive. Through them, I’m able to see that while migraine is undeniably horrible, a life filled with migraine doesn’t have to be. That doesn’t mean there’s always a silver lining or a positive spin, just that nothing is ever all good or all bad.

There is no one truth for me or for anyone else, and there is not a right way to cope with migraine. It’s all messy and complicated and everyone does the best they can. Kinda like with life.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • peeperview
    4 years ago

    Once again you’ve written a piece that puts everything in perspective. Also you have a way of reminding us not to be too hard on ourselves and not to think of ourselves as crazy. That, I rEalLY nEEd!

  • peeperview
    4 years ago

    Hey, I got cut off. Anyway, I just concluded with thanks so much and please keep writing!

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    5 years ago

    Kerrie – as usual you’ve expressed my thoughts eloquently. Thank you!

  • Ellen H
    5 years ago

    I just consented to allow my Neurologist / Migraine Specialist to put electrodes into the back of my head and attach them to a battery pack. I think it’s a battery pack. Sometime this summer. I broke down crying at his office because I no longer have the energy to cope with the migraines. I have to see a Psychologist first, then we run trial electrodes, and then if all goes well, we implant the permanent electrodes. I am tired and I am frustrated. I am not trying to be hopeful because we have tried so many medications that didn’t work or just about killed me. I have no conception of what it might be like to be pain free. I saw the dentist today for a regular checkup and shared the news and broke down crying all over again. Anyone else out there in internet land who has tried the electrode implants????? Would love to hear from you. Ellen H.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    5 years ago


    This can be a scary and overwhelming time as you look for new options. And when you don’t have enough energy to even think about what to have for dinner, it’s almost impossible to comprehend a new procedure.

    It sounds like you’re going through a trial period to see if you will benefit from an occipital neuro stimulator. I don’t have one, but it still may be an option. You may want to read this article about the procedure. In our forums area there’s also a great thread about this procedure too. I hope you find relief soon!

  • bluesguy
    5 years ago

    I appreciate your determination and conviction. I am certain that all who read this article will relate to something you have said. Most recently, my Aunt, who is in her late 70s came to visit the family, just a few miles away. She was here for one week. In that time, I only felt well enough to cook a real Gourmet dinner for her and the family once, and visited her once. I live with the guilt that I should have done something more to be there, as one never knows when they will see a loved one again. She lives over 2,000 miles away. I love my aunt: we have always gotten along so well. I hate migraines!

  • Steelmagnolia
    5 years ago

    Sorry about a typo in the previous comment. That should say for around 15 years not 5 years.

  • Steelmagnolia
    5 years ago

    I would give anything if I could get people to understand that there are alternatives to prescription meds for migraines, I have been taking feverfew for around 5 years now and it is a miracle for me. II was told by my mother I had the first migraines at around 6 weeks old and had to be taken to the hospital because they had no idea what was wrong with me and why I was so violently throwing up. The doctors had no idea an didn’t until I was 2 years old and could tell them my head hurt horribly. I would have an episode every time the weather changed or I ate one of the trigger foods. As a child bananas are a staple food and fruit that is easily eaten, but for me they were poison after more than 1 in a week. Chocolate was another major trigger that I had no idea was a trigger and cheese!! Cheese was a big part of my every day diet as it was in my entire family. I knew nothing about “trigger” foods until I was grown and they got even worse. At one point I was having them 2 to 3 times a week and that meant I was virtually unable to function in any capacity. They would last 2 to 3 days and sometimes I would wind up at the ER. Feverfew has all but stopped my migraines and if I take 1 every day as I should I don’t have them. Of course I don’t eat many bananas or milk chocolate any more. I try to eat only dark chocolate and only very minute amounts of milk chocolate. I call it a miracle because for me it has been. At one point in my life I had to stop driving my car they got so bad. Diet drinks or foods made with aspartame are a very serious trigger and should never be ingested by anyone for any reason, but especially those with migraines. I just wish more people would try it. It isn’t going to hurt and it really does help.. If it could help me with all the problems such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia and all the things that go along with those 2 diseases plus a host of other problems…it can help anyone. I’m no “wimp” when it comes to pain, having had migraines all my life and pushing myself to not give in to the pain because I had children to take care of until sometimes I would just pass out from the pain and the migraine. It happened one day in particular when my parents and my husband all were out of town working. My sister-in-law just happened to call to check on me and I couldn’t answer the phone so my then 4 old daughter answered and told her she couldn’t get me to talk to her. My sister-in-law called an ambulance and got there within 5 minutes herself to get in the house and get my 2 children in the playroom. My fingers and toes were black from lack of circulation by the time the EMTs got there. I was rushed to the ER and given the usual 2 shots of pain meds and an anti nausea drug. I slept for 3 days. My little girl was so upset and I made a vow then to do everything I could to get them under control. That took another 30 years to do, but I didn’t stop and I didn’t give up. Please do your own research because there is nothing on the prescription meds market that will really help you and if it helps temporarily you are in danger of dangerous side effects.

  • NannaLinda
    5 years ago

    I completely agree with Kerrie post and your replies. I can feel a weather front migraine coming on so soon I’ll make my cat very happy. I’ll get set up in my recliner, pull my ball cap over my eyes, drink coffee and listen to NPR radio. Yes, there are things that I need to do, or so I think. However, I will just accept what is and enjoy my cat’s company.

  • Allison
    5 years ago

    Thank you Kerrie! Migraine disease seems to be full of contradictions. Currently I’m struggling with how to let myself continue to fight for relief and be hopeful, while learning to accept the way things are and make adjustments in my life to accommodate for my “new normal.” I’ve been chronic daily almost 2 years now and making those accommodations felt like giving up, and hoping for it getting better seemed like setting myself up for disappointment. I’m learning I can both accept it, and continue to seek health and figure out how to live in what’s real for me right now. The key for me seems to be staying in the present and not getting bogged down in predicting the future. Like that kid in the viral video after the dentist “am I gonna feel this way forever!?!?” Ha ha.

  • Traci
    5 years ago

    Great article. Another big contradiction for me is that it makes me sad when family and close friends hardly ever ask how I am doing but when I am asked, on a rare occasion, I don’t know how to answer. I want to give a positive answer but things really aren’t going well.

  • kimberly borg
    5 years ago

    My contradiction is: I hate living with chronic migraines and how I have not been able to work for more than 10 years, but I thank God everyday that I have been able to be a stay-at-home single mom for my 9-year-old daughter!

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