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Fake it til you make it

How putting on a friendly facade can actually make you feel genuinely good

Thirteen years ago I returned home from college after my freshman year, determined to find a fun summer job. I’d looked for barista work in New York City, but the manager at each café I visited gently (or—let’s be honest—sometimes not so gently!) told me that there was no chance I’d be hired without café experience, let along NYC café experience.

So, despite my wanting to work in a hip, indie coffee shop in Greenwich Village, I knew my best bet would be to get hired at a national chain in Georgia during the summer and then transfer to a store in NYC.

Off I went to Starbucks, where I was hired and got the hang of making drinks fairly quickly. Several days a week I worked at the popular coffee shop, slinging drinks and getting to the point where I recognized customers. I was a couple months into the job when I realized I was very often in a good, social mood. And it took a few more days after that to realize why.

I was in a good mood because I had to be. Granted, I’m often in a fairly pleasant humor, but working at a coffee shop it behooves you to provide good, friendly customer service. So even on days when I walked into work feeling blasé, I had to act happy and approachable. And—what do you know?—soon I started to feel genuinely happy and approachable.

Years have passed since that first of three coffee shop jobs, and I’m now running my own shop. Before opening my store, I worked mostly at home for several years. True that I nannied and tutored and went out into the world now and again, but for the most part I worked alone in my home, not interacting with people at all some days. I can’t say I was in a bad mood all that often, but I can say that my outlook on life has brightened significantly since opening the store and seeing many people each day.

This afternoon I walked from the bookshop to the post office and then to the bank. I caught myself automatically saying, “Good afternoon!” (our bookstore greeting) to passers-by, most of whom smiled back and said hello. At long last I realized yet again that much of my happiness is due to my deliberately sunny perspective. Even on days when I wake up sniffly with a cold and want to stay in bed all day, I end up having fun talking to customers and working with books.

And feeling happy and positive of course has a great impact on my stress levels. Being in a naturally good mood helps me temper the stresses of business ownership and the day-to-day frustrations I face, not to mention that ever-growing to-do list! And having better control of my reactions to stressful situations and working from a healthier, calmer baseline means fewer stress-triggered migraines.

So maybe you should try the whole “fake it til you make it” approach with your mood. See if it helps you improve your attitude and improve your migraine frequency as it did me.

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

Comments

  • tucker
    7 years ago

    I have to agree with this – even the going to work part. I work PT and even if my head is hurting (though not with a severe migraine or severe nausea – with those I’d much rather sleep!) I usually find that I can get thru the day just by being around my coworkers that I like so much. I really need that social interaction in person. Work can be stressful at times, but if you do what you can to lighten the mood when appropriate, it helps!

    When I stayed home with my kids for 4 years, I was so stir crazy that I’d talk to any stranger in the grocery store, at the park, anywhere – even let them hold a crying baby. Even though my migraines didn’t become chronic until I went back to work, I still look forward to the social interaction work brings as much as I like the freedom being at home allows me.

    LOL, I love that you are in GA where everyone is so friendly. I grew up there but had relatives in PA and NJ. It was always such a culture shock to visit “up north”. I spent a summer interning in NJ while in college and people acted like I had 2 heads if I said hello on the streets. Now I’m in VA and it’s a mixed bag, so if I’m in a rush or feeling yucky, I can be impersonal, but people are still responsive if you are polite and friendly too.

  • Kate Kopasz
    7 years ago

    please excuse the repetition after my last sentence. Somehow my phone copied a partial phrase and I didn’t realize it until reading the posted comment.

  • Kate Kopasz
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com – I just want to say ONE simple little thing in your most recent response to Catherine Charrett -Dykesand that is: There are so many of us out there that are NEVER WITHOUT PAIN. And that is the simple reason why this advice is so difficult to process and try to put into use. We try our very best to survive each and every day to the best of our abilities and yes, er do smile and laugh and joke and appreciate many things in our lives. But if this advice is for the NON -migraine, pain free days…what is the advice for those who NEVER EVER,EVER, EVER have one? Not even 10 minutes free from pain?

    Episodic is totally different from chronic as we all can agree but there are even different levels of chronic…..what about the many, many people out here that NEVER get ANY break at all?!?!?
    ent from chronic as we all agree, but you can even be chronic and not have

  • Kate Kopasz
    7 years ago

    True – Migraine.com – I was only trying to explain from my perpective “why” you are getting such a strong reaction to this blog post. If smiling and being happy is what you’re supposed to do when you are having a pain free day – there are so many that never have that pain free day….and are trying to simply stay alive. No one would ever suggest a women in late stage labor without medication or passing a kidney stone or dealing with severe exposed nerve dental pain, or 3rd degree burn abradement or any number of other painful experiences put on a happy face. “Faking it” is offensive to those that are fighting for their very lives through the horror of their present existence.

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    HI Kate, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and we definitely agree with you! As we’ve mentioned before, we fully recognize not every article will apply to every reader – with 37 million migraineurs (2-3 million who are chronic) there are many different issues that need to be addressed. Just as we have posted several articles on chronic migraine that may not be as useful to the the 34 million people who are less severe, there will be articles that may not apply to chronic sufferers or those with daily symptoms. We’ve published articles on specific migraine triggers, symptoms, & comorbidities – these also vary greatly from person to person and we never expect that every article will be useful to every reader. As you already noted, you (the reader) are ultimately the only person who can determine which articles are useful to you and which ones are not.

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    I just want to say that I appreciate what migraine girl is trying to say….i believe that what you put out into the universe you get back, so being positive and having a good attitude makes life easier to deal with……when it comes to being chronic, and I think that is the difference here, that things like this just don’t apply.

  • Michelle Carey Chaffin
    7 years ago

    I guess most of the negative remarks are because we feel like the writer is talking on a migraine web page. She really does not address faking it during severe attacks. I guess those of us that have the daily migraines/headaches that have little life anymore feel like once again someone is telling us that it is “in our heads.” I am guilty of having those feelings when I first read the article but after reading it again I am kinda changing my mind. Are we looking at it from the perspective of a person in severe pain and it is on a page that is for migraine users, or are we looking at it in a truly objective way? Let’s think way back to a day when we were kinda on a less painful day or put this article on a page somewhere else…I bet how we see it will change.

  • Michelle Carey Chaffin
    7 years ago

    Nicole Bielecki-Geyer yep…that is where I am at. people always say “i couldn’t tell you had a headache.” I believe in keeping a positive attitude and always try to smile through the pain. now, it is getting harder to smile at all

  • Michelle Carey Chaffin
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com isn’t that what i said? I was kinda agreeing with the writer and sorta defending them. oh well, things get lost in translation I guess.

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Michelle – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s also important to keep in mind that while this IS a migraine website, severity and frequency of migraines will vary greatly from person to person. This doesn’t make them any less real for those with less frequent/severe attacks, just different. This is precisely why what works for one person will never work for the entire population (the same rule that applies to identifying triggers, treatment regimens, etc).

  • Nicole Bielecki-Geyer
    7 years ago

    I totally agree with you! Way back in the day, when my headaches were less severe, I could try to give a smile, even though I had my headache, but since the headaches have gotten worse throughout the years, you can’t just sit there & put on a smile when your headache is at a 10+, it’s just not possible!

  • Maria Bio
    7 years ago

    I fake it a lot… until I have no choice but to let it knock me over for the day.. I don’t think it makes anything go away.. but its a coping mechanism for when its not so bad I have to stop functioning I can almost pretend to be fine. this week alone.. I faked it for 3 straight days until it just got too bad.. it sucks..

  • Nicky Pearson
    7 years ago

    You can only fake it until your pain becomes so severe it overtakes everything. I’m glad her pain is still low enough she can pretend to be well and hold down a job. I was able to do that prior to 2000. Usually these conditions are degenerative though and sometime in the future she will realise what a sham this is.

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago
  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com thanks i will check them out

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Catherine Charrett-Dykes, We have posted a few articles on this unfortunate topic because we agree it is important. Perhaps you felt these didn’t address your specific concerns, in which case thoughts are welcome:
    (1) http://migraine.com/migraine-and-mental-health/migraine-and-mental-health-suicide/
    (2) http://migraine.com/blog/moments-with-marie/
    (3) http://migraine.com/blog/migraine-crisis-help/
    (4 )http://migraine.com/blog/news/pain-from-migraine-severe-headache-increases-suicide-risk/
    Also, doing a quick search for “relationships” you’ll find several articles outlining the challenges with maintaining relationships with friends, family, and colleagues: http://migraine.com/?s=relationships

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com i appreciate that……perhaps the issue is that it is acutely chronic like myself…….i would like to see things to show the seriousness of this disease, it has driven people to commit or attempt suicide……this week 4 of my friends have begun to think that ending it would be better for their families

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Catherine Charrett-Dykes – We appreciate the feedback and understand that not every website will be appropriate for every one of the 37+million sufferers in the US. Although we have posted 15+ articles specific to chronic migraine (http://migraine.com/migraine-basics/chronic-migraine-overview/) and legal rights of chronic migraineurs (http://migraine.com/migraine-basics/social-security-disability-insurance-benefits/) it sounds like they are not meeting your needs. We also have blogs written by advocates who suffer from chronic migraine, including recent posts by Kerrie Smyres: http://migraine.com/author/kerrie/. If you have specific recommendations for topics or areas these articles have not addressed, we welcome your thoughts. We strive to address the needs of ALL migraineurs, ranging from those who are chronic to those who may not even have a formal diagnosis yet.

  • Nicky Pearson
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com
    Nowhere in the article does it mention that this woman is suffering from occasional migraine. We, as daily chronic sufferers, get the rhetoric all the time, often sourced from places like this, and I’m sorry to say that it only causes a bigger rift in those that don’t understand what it’s like. It’s been 25 years for me, I managed to tough out over 17 of those years, and I was told to go on disability despite it breaking my pride in my belief in my ability to work, by all the professionals working with my case. I’ve done the office thing, and the retail thing, the call centre thing, and specialty jobs in my field of expertise, and I’m still fighting, I’m doing distance education on my Masters, but I am finding that even an incredible challenge as the pain robs me of short term memory and concentration.
    So when I see people gong “just put on that happy face” excuse me if it makes me want to roll my eyes. It will be handy though, to be able to quote from your magazine that things like this article don’t apply to chronic sufferers. That should have been in the first paragraph.

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com i think this is where the confusion starts…..if w/in our own community can’t get it straight how can we expect more from the rest of the world……..we as members have to remember that this site is not geared towards the chonic sufferer, but those that are recently diagnosed looking to educate themselves…….we look to places like this for validation and support but possilby we should be looking elsewhere

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Nicky Pearson – Thanks for sharing your comments. We’re sorry to hear you are suffering daily and understand that this article may not apply to you…. just as the section on chronic migraine, disability benefits, etc doesn’t apply to individuals who suffer from less frequent migraines. We never expect that articles specific to certain triggers, comorbid conditions, symptoms, or treatments will apply to all 37 migraineurs in the US- there is no one size fits all approach to migraine. In this case, The Migraine Girl found that being happy helped her manage migraines typically brought on by stressful situations, something which is frequently discussed among our members.

    While migraine can be progress in severity for many people, we certainly wouldn’t wish that on The Migraine Girl or any other members of our community.

  • Nicky Pearson
    7 years ago

    This kind of platitude is just hurtful They are saying fake it when you don’t have a migraine, well theres those of us where it just doesn’t stop, ever. They are saying (after the article) “fake it when you don’t have a migraine” but for those of us with chronic daily pain, it’s a triumph just to get through grocery shopping without losing it.

    I’m just glad for her that she isn’t yet at our stage. She can frame this article up and write the date on it so she can remember the time she was poster child for people with occasional pain.

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Nicky Pearson some people are able to look great while suffering…i’m not one of them…lol……but yes, my family knows by looking at me when i’m suffering, they say i look drawn…i’m usually upbeat and laughing, but i can’t fake it anymo

  • Adrianna Stiemsma
    7 years ago

    Jackie & Nicky I completely agree with you. I did what she did for years, but chronic is chronic and when you can’t function due to pain levels so high so often a job makes everything worse. We do everything we can to be normal and would love to be able to hold down a job, no matter how much we smile it doesn’t help, maybe it worked for her but its insulting to the rest of us that want to work but can’t. Hope she never suffers as much as many of us do, if she does she’ll see that there comes a point nothing helps and all you can do is try to make it through a day, miss out on important life events all due to extreme pain. Smiles and laughing helps keep us sane, but truly doesn’t do anything for our pain frequency.

  • Nicky Pearson
    7 years ago

    Yeah you work and work as much as you can, but when your pain is so bad that strangers are asking if you are ok and that you look tired, contrary to popular belief that pain is invisible, it is clearly visible. Employers discriminate against that. Some employers discriminate against you using your medicine while at work. The job market narrows and narrows. Currently I’m doing my Masters in Digital Media so that I can work from home as an artist, that way I can lie down when I need to. We do what we can to get by.

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    i don’t think it is a sham, i do believe that your attitude does effect your body….in this case tho it isn’t the case…..or maybe it is just that she isn’t chronic…..it seems the most that are bothered by this article are those that are chronic…….we have tried this for so long and we just can’t anymore…….i wish i could fake it, and like you said hold down a job, i haven’t worked for 3yrs……it was incredibly difficult to make that choice, but i knew that i couldn’t pretend anymore

  • Kristin Dieng
    7 years ago

    I think it’s a good approach to life. And it makes perfect sense that you would be much happier being in an environment where you’re interacting with people on a regular basis, than an environment where you would be alone at home (how many studies have they done showing that the more social circles you’re in, the happier you are?). However, I don’t in any way see the connection to this approach (i.e. increased interaction with people, and being kind to them, and therefore receiving their kind reaction back to you = being happier) having any relation to “faking health” making you feel better when you have a serious medical condition. Perhaps if you have a passing, non-serious medical condition. Maybe if you have episodic migraines that respond to migraine medications. Or perhaps if you get migraines that are manageable (i.e. on a pain scale of 1-10, they would be a level 6 or below). But IF you consistently have to live with severe migraines on a daily basis, or if you have chronic migraines, I don’t understand how this approach would apply at all. Being who have chronic migraines are usually isolated due to their medical condition. They often cannot work, and spend a lot of time in their bedrooms by medical necessity. So they cannot (not by choice) have the social and human interaction you mention in your articl that is CRITCAL to such a happy outlook. It’s hard to create, and keep ceating, that positive outlook when you’re alone. Add intense and consistent pain to the picture… and how would “faking” you’re happy help you? Put you in a better mood, help your health? I actually think it would be an obstacle towards you pursuing the medical healp you need from your doctors. Taking your medical condition seriously enough to get the adequate help you need. Physically and psychologically. Ensuring that your family provides the help you need (financially, around the home, with your kids, etc.). Faking it (i.e. pretending your happy in an attempt to make yourself happy when in truth you have a serious illness), sorry, I don’t understand how this would apply to people who have a LARGE number of migraines at a high level of severity. So I’m just trying to understand the *audience* of this article. Who is it directed towards? Which migraine sufferers?

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Kristin, Thanks for your post. With over 37 million people who suffer from migraines in the US alone (of which 2-3 million have chronic migraine, with a smaller percentage experiencing daily migraines) we never expect that every post from our contributors will apply to every migraineur who reads it. As you have noted, migraine severity, frequency, treatment success, etc varies tremendously from person to person – which is why it is virtually impossible for any migraineur to expect that their experience will apply to the rest of the migraine population. In the past, we have posted several articles specific to chronic migraine (including a dedicated section on the site) and comorbid conditions. While articles like these may not apply to the entire migraine population, we hope this does not decrease their value to those who can benefit from the information.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    Thanks Migraine Girl for telling us about your experience and making us think seriously about how we choose our moods and how that might help make a difference in our pain. This Vanderbilt University paper http://bit.ly/HzbZdQ is full of references and reminds us of many aspects how this might be helping us physiologically: we know smiling increases endorphins (feel good neurotransmitters http://bit.ly/nhd3gl ) and serotonin (implicated in Migraine pathogenesis). It reminds me that when I smile, my breathing changes, and sometimes I will laugh or chuckle, even when I’m alone here at the computer. We know these things change neurotransmitters as well. I think however, that it’s also wise to remember the chicken and the egg: You noticed you felt better while working a job that you enjoyed, had you out of your house and busy moving about while talking with others (this changes breathing patterns and oxygen saturation levels). This made it easier for you to smile – maybe because you were changing your neurotransmitters before the smile? We know exercise itself http://bit.ly/yz6CdQ is a terrific Migraine preventive – one of the most natural things you can do to help yourself balance those pesky neurotransmitters. Even exercising our vocal cords by singing is an excellent way to balance those neurotransmitters! I guess I think of smiling as exercising too. I’m exercising the muscles of my face and eyes, and my emotions and personality. Each person has different Migraine triggers. Certainly what works for one is not going to be effective for another. This gets us thinking about our triggers though, and about how we try to live our best lives despite Migraine Disease – or don’t. How sometimes small things MIGHT help make a difference for the better. I am a very smiley happy person and I love to laugh and be positive. Yup, I’m definitely a glass-half-full girl. However, when I am Migraining really bad – you know, the kind where you honestly don’t care what makes it go away, just that it does – smiling is really an effort. If I have trigeminal neuralgia or allodynia, it is actually excruciatingly painful! I believe in the power of a smile enough that even when I feel lousy, I try to do it anyway. I don’t feel like I’m really faking it, it’s one of my coping mechanisms. Some days it makes me feel better and the rest of the smiles of the day come more naturally. Other days its an epic fail, but at least I tried. I think the best thing to do is to at least try it. I’m chronic – I have more days with Migraine than without. Even if it just makes my family feel better and worry less about me, I’m okay with that because it helps to make their lives better.

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Catherine Charrett-Dykes – The Migraine Girl’s intent was to communicate how what she did on non-migraine days influenced the frequency of migraines brought on my stressful situations. Similarly, we’ve posted several articles outlining studies showing that moderate exercise and hydration can help some people reduce migraine frequency/severity – No one is suggesting exercise or water would actually ease migraine symptoms during an attack, just as The MIgraine Girl is not suggesting anyone should smile while having a migraine (you’ll see that she specifically mentions this in her reply to your comment below). Of course nothing will be interpreted the same way by every reader, so we’ll simply have to agree to disagree on this one!

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com “So maybe you should try the whole “fake it til you make it” approach with your mood. See if it helps you improve your attitude and improve your migraine frequency as it did me.” ….a quote from above….”.nor is she suggesting that acting outwardly happy can actually help with migraine symptoms.”…..from migraine.com

    these two things seem contradictory to me

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Nicky Pearson – We have a section dedicated to disability benefits for chronic migraineurs and ADA accommodations in the workplace that might be helpful. Take a look at the first few articles listed here: http://migraine.com/?s=employer

  • Nicky Pearson
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com I would like to know how she deals with her employers (or an article about dealing with employers) when you are sick. There is a lot of discrimination against those with migraine or other health conditions.

  • Tracy Pidd Smith
    7 years ago

    Jackie Foxman You are definately not alone, been chronic for 7yrs now and I agree with what you’ve said. I have epilepsy & migraine, my disability is migraine, epilepsy is controlled, but of the 2 people jump on epilepsy !! I can honestly say that smiling would do sweet all for my pain as my mig’s like many are not mainly stress related – smells / chemicals – hundreds of triggers 🙁 So please migraine.com will you read these articles before posting, many of those who are chronic are already dealing with prejudice and a huge guilt complex, letting something like this through could just be the final straw for someone suffering from depression and feelings of inadequacy 🙁

  • Jackie Foxman
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com According to this article she implies it, as you can see from the many comments.Is she chronic? I don’t think so. This article may help those that have eposodic migraines but NOT chronic migraine sufferers. I have read your articles on chronic migraine & to be honest they are a joke. By the time a person becomes chronic, we arlready know this stull. What you need is someone to address those needs. I understand there are many migraine sufferers, so it stands to reason you should have people on staff who are not only aware of these sub-types but who actually live that life. Many claim that a migraine could never be a 10 on the pain scale. Trust it does & happens to many of us. I have suffered from daily migrainies for over 25 years. MY pain ranges from an 8-10, never lower. I have lost out on life due to chronic mig…raines. I have a masters degree that I cannot use, I have missed out on family & social events due to them. I have had depression, anxiety & panic atttaks due to thte stress of always being in pain. I have never had the opportuniy to catch my breath & recover from a migraine attack. I would love nothing more that to live life like a normal healthy person, but I’m not. I have a disease that is getting progressively worse. I WILL NOT HIDE MY PAIN ANYMORE! I have been to many drs & specialist over the year & no one can help. I know I’m not alone in this catergory.When I tried to put on a fake smile for the world, it was so draining, pyshically & emtionally. I wind up making the pain worse & pay for it for days.Try living the life of a true chronic migraine sufferer & then tell me how easy it is to “fake it til yoyu make it” I garantee you would find this article as offensive as most of do. It is very discouraging to read articlies like this from so called experts in this field.

  • Jackie Foxman
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com According to this article she implies it, as you can see from the many comments.Is she chronic? I don’t think so. This article may help those that have eposodic migraines but NOT chronic migraine sufferers. I have read your articles on chronic migraine & to be honest they are a joke. By the time a person becomes chronic, we arlready know this stull. What you need is someone to address those needs. I understand there are many migraine sufferers, so it stands to reason you should have people on staff who are not only aware of these sub-types but who actually live that life. Many claim that a migraine could never be a 10 on the pain scale. Trust it does & happens to many of us. I have suffered from daily migrainies for over 25 years. MY pain ranges from an 8-10, never lower. I have lost out on life due to chronic migraines. I have a masters degree that I cannot use, I have missed out on family & social events due to them. I have had depression, anxiety & panic atttaks due to thte stress of always being in pain. I have never had the opportuniy to catch my breath & recover from a migraine attack. I would love nothing more that to live life like a normal healthy person, but I’m not. I have a disease that is getting progressively worse. I WILL NOT HIDE MY PAIN ANYMORE! I have been to many drs & specialist over the year & no one can help. I know I’m not alone in this catergory.When I tried to put on a fake smile for the world, it was so draining, pyshically & emtionally. I wind up making the pain worse & pay for it for days.Try living the life of a true chronic migraine sufferer & then tell me how easy it is to “fake it til yoyu make it” I garantee you would find this article as offensive as most of do. It is very discouraging to read articlies like this from so called experts in this field.

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Tracy Pidd Smith – We often discuss ways community members have found to manage their migraines when they are NOT suffering from an attack – keeping a regular sleep schedule, trying to stay active, meditation, etc. While there is no one size fits all approach to migraine management, we welcome everyone to share their own experiences. In this post, The Migraine Girl is sharing how being happy helped her manage migraines typically brought on by stressful situations. She isn’t suggesting that you should pretend to be happy while suffering from a migraine attack or other types of chronic pain, nor is she suggesting that acting outwardly happy can actually help with migraine symptoms.

  • Karen Klein Crow
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com – It may not be out right stated, but it sure seems to be implied: “So maybe you should try the whole “fake it til you make it” approach with your mood. See if it helps you improve your attitude and improve your migraine frequency as it did me.” (Very end of the blog)

  • Tracy Pidd Smith
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com I was under the impression that she was experiencing migraines , is this not the case ? I’m most curious as I have a number of friends and family who deal with chronic pain on a daily basis – Fibromyalgia, MS, Arthritis, M.E. and of course Chronic Migraine. I wonder does the happy disposition help with brain fog as well as the other symptoms or is it just the pain aspect ?

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com this is a migraine site….i thought that was understood

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Jackie Foxman – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As you will see in the post, The Migraine Girl is NOT suggesting “faking it” when you are suffering from a migraine (she does not mention having a migraine during any of the experiences noted in this particular article)

  • Jackie Foxman
    7 years ago

    That’s great it works for you but I need to be MORE concerned about my health & well being, not my families. When I did it was an epic fail. Our main priority should be ourselves & our health, not others. They don’t have to live w/ this disease WE do. I tried “faking it” & like I said above it did more harm than good for me. Plus I didn’t feel any better, my pain didn’t lessen, it got worse. I’m not a negative person, I’m a realist. This is my reality & I won’t pretend to NOT suffer just so my family & friendds feel better. It took such a toll on me & the energy it took to do so. What works for one, does not always work for others. I feel this post does such a disservise to us. Tell your family & friends how hard it is to pretend to be ok for their sake & the toll it takes on us. It’s the only way for people to truly understand the severity of this disease. As an” invisible illness” the only way to get others to believe our pain is to tell them. How else are they going to understand what this disease takes from us. Pretending to be fine is NOT the answer. Awareness & education are. If you keep “faking it til you make it” then we are all stuck in a perpetual hell of ignorance to our plight.

  • Nikki Wills
    7 years ago

    I don’t fully agree with this. I do in the sense that if you smile it tends to brighten your mood even if only slightly. I do not think, though, that this is helpful advice to those suffering from chronic pain. What you are telling us is that we are weak to show our pain, or that we are doing something wrong. Do I think we should let it ruin our lives? Not if we can help it, no. Unfotunately, some of us out there with chronic pain suffer SO badly that it does ruin their lives and this “fake it til you make it” mentality just doesn’t add any value for them. Obviously you are not saying this is a one size fits all approach but I can see why it would offend some people, especially in light of the “dirty dozen” article posted not that long ago. Chronic pain is a touchy subject for us and I see why people don’t like others making light of it. I myself just take it day to day. That’s all I can do.

  • Andrea Thomas Krohn
    7 years ago

    Going day by day is the best we can do, Nikki. Well said.

  • Andrea Thomas Krohn
    7 years ago

    I have “faked it” and pushed through pain for thirty years as a chronic migraineur. Could you please tell me when I am going to “make it”? It is emotionally and physically exhausting to push and push and push through pain to try and live a normal life for our loved ones. I try to put on a brace face, but sometimes it’s hard. Pain sucks. Chronic pain sucks worse. It never ends. It is just there. Day in and day out. It will beat you down and wear you out. It hasn’t made me suicidal, like it has so many people. It has made me jaded, half nuts, and so bitter. I am weird. Ask my friends. They will tell you.

  • Jackie Foxman
    7 years ago

    Sometimes it’s simply impossible to get up & fake it. I tried doing that for a long time & it caused me to have a nervous breakdown. I read the article & yes trying to remain positive is good but there are times when the pain is too extreme to fake your way through it. I think, as someone else above also stated, that it does a disservice to us as people suffering froma very real, very painful disease. It’s hard enough to get people to take us seriously since this is an invisible illness. To fake it just encourages those people to reamin ignorant to our struggle. We need to voice our pain & help others understand this is very severe for some of us. This approach may work you & others & that’s wonderful but I’m done faking how bad my pain is. I WANT people to understand & be educated about the severity of migraines, especially chronic migraine. Some of us don’t get pain free days & life is a constant struggle to just survive. Chronic migraine is a horrible disease. I wish it on no one.

  • Nikki Wills
    7 years ago

    Nicky Pearson Never thought of it like that. That’s a shame. I stand by my statement that no one who is suffering should have to put on a show just for others. It’s good to be strong, it’s great to not “let it get the better of you” but one thing I will never be is fake. Not for anyone.

  • Nicky Pearson
    7 years ago

    Nikki Wills Actually, as I understand it from reading forum posts and blogs from cancer sufferers, the whole “RAH RAH CANCER GIRLZ” thing is doing a lot of harm to the individuals who, like us, are having problems with pain management. Because of this “PINK CANCER POWER” marketing, they are expected to behave in a certain way and they have extremely high expectations put on themselves to pretend it isn’t bothering them.

  • Nikki Wills
    7 years ago

    The problem is that people don’t care. If we had cancer, they would feel some compassion. It’s just like you said, people are just not educated about migraines. They think we “just have a headache”. I always tell people “I know it’s hard for you, because I look so perfect on the outside *cough cough* but on the inside I feel like I literally could die sometimes. I have had headaches so bad I’ve been afraid to fall asleep. I’d like to see half of these judgemental jerks deal with that on a daily basis.

  • Dreama Whatley
    7 years ago

    I’m new to the Chronic migraine and I have to tell you, there are days when I just say “Forget it!” I’m an upbeat, happy person to start with despite the constant migraine, but there are days when you can’t “fake it” anymore. No offense to you, but the faking it has done nothing to get rid of this constant migraine!

  • Nikki Wills
    7 years ago

    I agree with you. I am an upbeat, bubbly , positive person but these migraines steal my sparkle. When I am in severe pain I simply can not fake it. If it’s not a severe attack I will admit I sometimes do fake it only because I find, at work, that my condition is seriously misunderstood. People just don’t get it. So rather than fight I just pretend I’m ok.

  • Shona Graham
    7 years ago

    It won’t get rid of pain, I think, just help you focus on leading as normal life as possible! I’m no expert don’t have chronic migraines but I know your doing your best and that always makes a difference even if you can’t see it at the time.

  • Steph Moreno
    7 years ago

    I most def agree with Catherine Charrett-Dykes!

  • Monika Rich
    7 years ago

    For those of us who suffer with severe Migranes there is no faking till you make it, I wish there was.I would have a Life free of Pain and be able to enjoy my Family and maybe even go back to work.I try to smile at People and make light of the situation, but it doesn’t make my Migrane better, sometimes it makes it even worse because it hurts to smile.And I been in pain all my Life and I tried everything and nothing has worked so far and at times I’m ready to end it all because it hurts so bad….Do you know what a real Migrane is?

  • Monika Rich
    7 years ago

    I didnt mean to imply that the Author didnt have Migranes ,but for the ones that suffer 24/7 with Pain so intense that they want to die there is just no way that you can keep on smiling and pretending like everything is okay.Because after a while it will be to much for anybody . I like to smile and try to make other People feel better and keep pushing thru the Pain ,but you know what it got me?Nothing but a breakdown and it just made everything worse.Maybe this faking works for some,but for most of us it doesnt.And I think that somebody may read this and instead of getting help is trying this and just getting worse and than end up in the Hospital.

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Monika, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Migraine severity and frequency can very greatly from person to person. There are more than 37 million people in the US who suffer from migraines…. some may suffer daily while others experience one attack per year. Migraines that are less frequent or severe are no less “real” than those which are more chronic.

  • Karen Walker Hilton
    7 years ago

    I grew up with a Mom who always (and yes, I really do mean always!) said as I was leaving the house, “I love you, Sweetie! Put a smile on!” My days were always started by her over-flowing optimism! She made up songs to make my brother and I smile….you get the picture. So it was with this type of attitude that I have carried with me into my adulthood. Smile. Be Positive. The Glass is Half Full. It will all work out. Etc. When I was diagnosed with migraine, that optimistic part of me really came to a screeching halt! It was HARD to be happy and grateful and optimistic while I was in so much daily pain. Deep down, in my heart of hearts though I knew that I had to find a way to, as you said ~ “Fake it till I make it” ~ and truly that literally took me a few years to do. And I’m still learning. I know that smiling makes feel good on the inside. It’s good for my soul. And being social is good for my soul too! Thank you for reminding me to do that more! And Thank You for reminding us to smile….on the days that we can!

  • Pamela Mynatt Moser
    7 years ago

    I wasn’t going to post; I don’t want to come off as negative, but it bothers me that readers (myself included) may feel more guilt or inadequacy (than we already heap on ourselves) when they can’t fake it. When I am nearly blinded by “it” & ready to be with Jesus, there isn’t any faking it. Or when I have had days on end of more moderate migraines & I’m just exhausted & my brains feel scrambled. No offense intended, just a reminder for others that we are all doing the best we can with a bad situation.

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    i completely agree…Pamela you sound like you are chronic or close to it….i think it is important to keep in mind that the author may not be……as i stated above, i think we do ourselves a disservice by pushing thru, ….i run a support group for chronic sufferers if you would like to join

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    I think most us already fake it to make it….we fake it so much that people don’t realize that migraines can be chronic and can be severe enough to welcome death, and attempt suicide…..i think we do ourselves a disservice but pretending like nothing is wrong while we are suffering.

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Karen Klein Crow thank you for posting this….this is exactly what i was trying to say yesterday as well….. i was contacted by some of the other authors here and told i was being a trouble maker……i want clarity and to feel that we being represented…..because i disagreed, it was seen as a personal attack on the author…..Janet, so you know that was never my intention

  • Karen Klein Crow
    7 years ago

    Janet Geddis, I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my comment. In general, I DO agree that if we have a positive outlook on life, we can help to minimize the frequency and intensity of those migraines that are triggered by stress and tension. I, too, have found that concept to help, but only those specifically triggered attacks. However, a concern that I have about the blog post is the way in which things are worded. The blog does not mention anything about your need to try and “power” your way through the pain at one point in your life – so for those of us who do not know your personal history, it is very easy for us to misinterpret the message that you are attempting to get across. The other fact that does not help us interpret your message clearly is the lack of mentioning that this is something that we should concentrate on trying to do specifically during those times when we are A) Pain Free, or B) having what is, for us as an individual, a “Good Day” pain wise — ie, minimal pain. I believe that if those pieces of information had been included in the blog, most of us who are having concerns would not be, because then our minds would be able to interpret the message more clearly, and see where you are coming from better — something that we currently are not able to do — probably related to the way that we do currently see ourselves with the chronic severe pain that is in our own lives daily.

    I am aware that this site is still relatively new, and that there are many new people coming to this site daily. If I may offer a suggestion to you and the rest of the bloggers, please (to help avoid future misunderstandings on the part of us readers)? With the blog posts, please give us readers a little insight into WHY you are making the comments that you are making, based on the actual experience that you have had with the pain – share some of the pain with us in the blogs themselves to help us understand exactly where the thoughts are coming from. This knowledge in each of the blog postings may help us better be able to see exactly how we might be able to physically apply the suggestions that are being given to us, because we can see, though the sharing of your own story, how it was applied to the pain in your life.

    Again, Thank You, Janet, for taking the time to reply directly to my comment. I do share my story as much as I can, and I did so as well when I signed the petition that was taken to HOH.

  • Janet Geddis
    7 years ago

    Karen Klein Crow Karen, I feel the need to pitch in here. I have written many posts over the years encouraging my fellow migraineurs to share their stories with friends, family, coworkers, and even lawmakers. (I’ll include a few links at the end of this post.) I do also encourage you to reread what I wrote now that some time has passed and note that I don’t mention going through a migraine attack while at work with a smile on my face. I spent my high school, college, and very early career years trying to “power” through migraine attacks and not let anyone know I was ill. It made me sicker and more unhappy, and from personal experience I will never advocate for people who are in pain or discomfort to pretend they feel great and smiley. The stress of pretending to be happy and NOT in the middle of a migraine greatly influenced the severity and frequency of my migraine attacks. During migraine-free times, if one is lucky enough to have those times, it helps me to remain positive and smile and be kind to others. It reduces my overall stress. I am with you and will never fake my way through pain, no matter how hard that is. Here are the links I was talking about–I encourage you to read more of my writing and see that you and I have a similar belief in the importance of sharing stories. Thanks for listening. -Janet G./ The Migraine Girl
    1. http://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/sharing-is-caring-tell-us-your-migraine-story/
    2. http://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/want-more-attention-to-be-paid-to-migraine-start-by-sharing-your-story/

  • Karen Klein Crow
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com , That is NOT the way that the entire blog comes across, however the intent may be. With the way that I read it, as well as others obviously, it does sound as if we are being told to “fake it” while trying to work through a migraine. When we are NOT in pain, sure, it is easy for us to be cheerful and happy…heck, we ARE because we are not hurting! But the way that the article is written, it does sound as if the suggestion is to try to “fake” being happy / cheerful even when hurting because that can have a positive effect on us. I’ll tell you right now, from personal experience, that it doesn’t. I tried to “fake” my way through my career when in severe pain, and it cost me my career, and almost cost me my family. It got to a point where I was so exhausted from trying to “fake it” through my work day that by the time I got home, I was too exhausted to do anything for my young family. Things also began to catch up with me at work, and I (I was a teacher at the time), had to finally admit that I could no longer “fake it” while teaching…not with the severe chronic, daily pain…I wound up having to quit teaching during the middle of the school year. The “faking it” was literally triggering panic attacks, non-epileptic seizures, making my depression skyrocket out of control, and there was suicide ideation and attempts during this time. I have since learned that I do NOT “fake” my way through pain EVER.

  • Tracy Pidd Smith
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com Actually after reading that more than once, condescending is the word that comes to mind. I have a fairly happy disposition I laugh even when I’m in pain or rather in spite of it, then again I have a very good support network these days. Not everyone is fortunate to have a support network and as a mig sufferer of 34yrs I would never be so arrogant or condescending to anyone who is ill or in pain to tell them to cheer up !? 😮 Not everything is cause by stress, but stress can be caused by chronic pain and the fact that this is the rest of your life no cure. As for faking it ! Great that just brings 1 phrase to mind….ooooh you don’t look ill ! If we don’t talk about this how on earth can we get it across to the general public that it’s not just a headache ??? Migraine is a disease 🙁 and no I’m not a person to take things lying down been a diagnosed epileptic 30yrs and worked with it, Epilepsy in my case is nothing compared to the 4 phases of migraine.

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Migraine.com i’m confused then, i’m not the only one who thought that……when are we supposed to be faking it then???

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Catherine – Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We think it is important to note that The Migraine Girl is not suggesting “faking it” while you are suffering from a migraine (something neither The Migraine Girl nor Migraine.com would advocate for!).

  • Cindi Moyer
    7 years ago

    Susan Porcari-Corrente , I have chronic migraines, and I’m not sure that it’s too weak to ask for help as it is too tired of asking for help?

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    as long as something good comes from it, it isn’t a wasted experience…that is how i look at things

  • Robert Hnizdo
    7 years ago

    I guess I’m a hypocrite in a sense!!! I came so close to this being a bad tumor…I’m doing cancer walks and who knows…I guess this is what it takes for us to open our eyes!!! What ever it takes I guess!!! But thanks, one day at a time, now off to figure out what’s wrong with my neck..well I know, now what can they do about it????

  • Catherine Charrett-Dykes
    7 years ago

    Robert Hnizdo thanks …i’m so thrilled that your medical issues weren’t as severe as you had suspected…now hope they can get you better!!

  • Kristin Dieng
    7 years ago

    That was actually my exact thought.

  • Robert Hnizdo
    7 years ago

    People just turn their backs unless it affects them or some one they know. Unfortanately you have to almost wish they suffer just one migraine to get them to beleive!! I don’t thank god, but there is a reason for everything and I have my own issues!!! But look what you’ve done and the people you’ve met!!! This worlds needs more people like you to stand up and atleast be heard!!

  • Susan Porcari-Corrente
    7 years ago

    So true, some think it’s weak to ask for help.

  • Debbie DiMarcantonio
    7 years ago

    I , too, work in customer service, and found that an upbeat personality with the customers does help me get through the migraines.. unless they are really intense…but then that is usually by the time I go home and no longer have anyone to interact with.

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