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Gambling, superstition, and bad luck

Gambling, superstition, and bad luck

Having migraine is like drawing a really bad hand in the poker game of life. If I play my cards right, I might not lose my shirt, but I’m certainly not going to win the pot.

Like a gambler, I try to rationalize those terrible cards by placing blame somewhere, anywhere except where it belongs. How do you exact revenge on bad luck? There is nothing and no one to take the blame. You can’t yell at it, hit it, or punish it. It’s like trying to strangle thin air. So I cross my fingers, knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, jump over the cracks in the sidewalk, cross my heart and hope I don’t die. Maybe if I wear my lucky shirt, don’t change my socks for a week, or walk backwards down the hall, that lousy hand of cards will magically transform into a full house.

Although usually quite rational, I must admit that when it comes to migraine, I can be just as superstitious as a gambler. In my imagination, I create a boogie-man on whom to project all my anger, blame, resentment, and bitterness. I often say things like…

  •  “I’ve angered the migraine gods again.”
  • “I don’t want to jinx it, but…”
  • “I swear that migraine is out to get me.”
  • “I’m going to pay for this tomorrow.”
  • “That’s what I get for bragging about not having a migraine.”

When a migraine attack hits for no obvious reason or a week of thunderstorms sends me into hiding, I can picture an evil beast and imagine it plotting my demise. That vision makes it so much easier to summon the courage needed to do what is necessary. By getting angry at an imaginary tormenter, I can avoid all the self-loathing that comes when there’s no one else to blame.

Have you ever imagined migraine as a person or monster that is out to get you? Do you have any migraine superstitions? Share your ideas and explain how they help you cope.

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.


  • Jani8
    4 years ago

    I didn’t know that I was the only superstitious migraineur out there! I don’t say things like, “I don’t want to jinx it.” or, “That’s what I get for bragging that I don’t have a migraine.” It does seem to happen again and again. I’ve discovered that I use the same plan with other physical problems I have. For example, I have a rare auto-immune disease that causes falls. When I’ve been doing good now, I say, “I haven’t met the floor abruptly lately,” I don’t know whom I am trying to kid. Obviously not the Myasthenia Gravis! But it works sometimes.

  • Krystolla
    4 years ago

    Sometime in the last few years “a migraine” became “the migraine”, which may be more realistic with a chronic migraine that never really goes away. It’s still become a personification — planning anything ends with the phrase “migraine permitting” and instead of saying, “I’m having a bad migraine day” it’s “the migraine is kicking my ass today.”

    But the superstition gets to me too. I know it’s silly, but I don’t wear bright colors on a day I expect a greater risk (for light sensitivity purposes). On a particularly risky day I won’t open the bedroom curtains or remove the light blocking panels.
    I’m not generally a superstitious person (I’m hanging out with a black cat next to a ladder right now). I think tricking myself into believing I have some control is better than admitting the only thing I can do with the hand I’ve been dealt is bluff.

  • Pam
    4 years ago

    I can’t remember the last time I opened my blinds in my house even at the office. I am very light sensitive and never walk outside without my sunglasses glasses. I never realized I am living a life of a vampire. I’m also always reminding my ten year to use his indoor voice. All the noise and chaos can bring on my migraine. Of course with chronic daily migraine a change in the wind can too

  • Pendragon
    4 years ago

    I know how you feel about “the migraine” and it “kicking your ass today”. When people ask me how my migraine is doing, I’ll usually tell them that “it’s doing really well” rather than telling them about how I’m coping with it.

  • Luna
    4 years ago

    “I’m going to pay for this tomorrow.”
    There are things that have to get done that set off migraine attacks. Mowing the grass. The lawmower exhaust gets to me but it has to be done. The smells in stores when shopping or going just about anywhere. It is all up to me to get it done. I have no superstitions just reality in knowing that many things I have to do cost. It is just a part of life. Happy day to all.

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