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Hold On – Migraine and depression

June marks Headache & Migraine Awareness Month, an annual campaign to make people more aware of the impact of migraine and headache disorders on everyone’s life. Lots of bloggers out there (including several of us from are responding to HMAM Blog Challenge posts this month. We’re using Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge prompts as a way to spread awareness of all the intricacies of migraine disease.  June 24th’s topic is focused on the famous Wilson Phillips song “Hold On.” 

Migraine is tough on migraineurs and their families and loved ones.  It can be a vicious, unrelenting disease one week and a persistent annoyance the next.  For those of us who get migraines frequently, the illness can really start taking a toll on our mental health.  I know several chronic migraineurs who have told me that they “want to give up,” “have run out of options,” or “don’t know what to do anymore.”  Some readers of this blog lament that they are at their wits’ end, unable to figure out how to live life happily with this beast on their backs.

Once I get past the extreme nostalgia that kicks in when I listen “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips, I can begin to extract some words of wisdom from this 1990 radio staple.

Living with a debilitating chronic illness can really wear you down. When you don’t know which moments are going to be stolen by sickness, when you don’t know what plans are safe to make because you never know what you’ll feel up to, your sense of independence and autonomy might begin to dwindle.  Even if you thought of yourself as a generally happy, high-energy person, you might notice your spirit starting to sag the longer you find yourself having to cope with migraine disease.

Let me just tell you that this is totally normal.  In the short term, feeling beat down and/or temporarily hopeless is completely understandable.   Having a few hours or days of migraine-related depression is to be expected when you are suffering so and finding that you can’t live the life you had planned for yourself.

What isn’t healthy is to feel this way for an extended period of time.  A huge number of migraineurs suffer from depression, so if you are feeling hopeless, you are not alone.  Click here to explore some resources on the link between migraine and depression on

Please check in with yourself day to day and take note if you are starting to lose interest in activities you once enjoyed (even if it’s migraine that’s preventing you from engaging in these activities).  Look for the signs of depression (start with this great article by Sarah Hackley of and reach out for help if you notice these signs in yourself.

Hold on. Hold on for one more day.  Please reach out to your doctor in order to take that first step of asking for help if depression is affecting you.  

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.


  • katy
    6 years ago

    I recently had a check-up with my neuro and he said mild depression is “normal” with migraines. If someone is in pain almost every day, it can get depressing.

    I am unfortunate because I suffer from chronic depression along with migraines. At the beginning of my treatment, I just sat around, waiting for my next migraine to hit. All I was doing was avoiding life.

    I know how hard it is to go out and try to carry on with everyday activities, because I never know what may trigger my attacks.

    I still am finding myself holding back when it comes to certain activities, but I’m also trying to go out and live a little more. I take short walks with my dog, do more stuff around the house, and rest as needed. I know an attack may happen at any given time, but now, I no longer feel as if I can’t live. Some days, I still find myself down and out, but that’s when I fight to just do a 10 minute chore that I’ve been putting off.

    I know that we all probably feel depressed and don’t want to do anything because of our migraines and pain. But just remember, there is hope (I know how corny that is).

    The advice that my neuro gave me was to make small, reasonable goals to works towards. I offer the same advice to all of you. I know how easy it is to just give up, but don’t let yourself do that! It is hard trying to think of things to work towards, but if I can do it, you can to!

    **Sorry if this is a little scatter brained.

  • Angie
    6 years ago

    What an appropriate song, especially today. Thank you

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