Holiday Migraine Management: Accepting the Limits of Family & Friends
Coping with and learning to accept friends or family who don't understand our limitations, and sometimes don't care to, can be one of the most difficult aspects of the holidays for people living with migraine disease.
Almost nothing is more painful in life than the realization that people who are supposed to love and care for you are of such limited capacity they don't know how to show empathy or understanding for your situation. While the holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year when your family and friends do show understanding, they can be downright miserable if your family and/or friends can't. It's not hard to imagine why so many people living with debilitating chronic illnesses dread the holidays so much.
Fortunately, while you cannot control how people handle your situation or treat you, you can control how you react to their attitudes and lack of empathy. It takes practice, but with time and patience with yourself, you can come to a place where they no longer have the power to crush you with their lack of understanding. It may sound overly simplistic, but it helps me to remember their attitudes are about them, not about me. I haven't done anything to deserve their mistreatment, and I can't control it.
Furthermore, one of the best things about being an adult is that you get to choose who you spend your time with. Even at the holidays. You're in no way obligated to maintain friendships with people who criticize or judge you. Nor are you required to spend much, if any, time with family members who treat you that way. Limiting your time at family gatherings can be a great way to put in an appearance and keep the peace without sacrificing your own stability.
The biggest obstacle for many of us who face these situations is the loneliness of feeling misunderstood and cut off from those important relationships. Something as simple as connecting with other people going through similar situations online can be incredibly comforting. If a group of you find yourselves alone and feeling lonely on a holiday, why not band together through social media and be there for each other? Volunteering in your community is a great way to combat loneliness, too.
How have you learned to cope with and accept the limitations of family members and friends who don't meet you with understanding? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
How much has your migraine disease changed or evolved over time?