Being able to talk to others about what we’re going through is a very human need. But not every person is our lives is equally equipped to hear about our experiences with Migraine in the same way. So while I highly encourage opening up, doing so strategically is important.
I recommend starting out by making a list of what you need and want to get out of a conversation about your life with Migraine. Some examples to get you brainstorming might include:
- To be better understood by someone you love or value.
- To feel less alone.
- To get your feelings out.
- To improve your relationship with your health care providers.
- To get advice and/or help brainstorming challenges.
- To receive practical support, such as help with day-to-day tasks.
The next step is to start matching the needs you’ve expressed with people in your life. Some people may be great at helping you brainstorm solutions, but rather terrible at just listening without inserting their own opinions when you just need someone to listen. Others may feel uncomfortable with what they view as vague conversations that leave them frustrated as to how to help you, but respond well to specific requests for help with errands, household tasks or transportation for you or children.
I think some examples of how I’ve learned to categorize people in my life by their ability to meet different needs might be helpful.
- To feel less alone, I rely on the online Migraine community and friends I’ve made through it.
- To get my deepest feelings out, I rely on my husband, very close friends, brother and mom.
- For advice & brainstorming, my dad is my go-to guy.
- And for just about everything else, my psychotherapist is a godsend. She’s also great at helping me strategize ways to better manage relationships and communication when issues come up.
Please keep in mind some people you love and value might be unable for any variety of reasons to meet any of your needs. This doesn’t make them bad people, just limited. Try not to take it personally. After all, we all have strengths and limitations in our interpersonal skills.
Who serves what need in your life? Do you think this two-part approach might help alleviate some frustrations the way it has for me? Please share your thoughts in the comments.