I can’t make it—I have a migraine.

I cancel plans. I cancel plans a lot. One of my least favorite things about having migraine disease is my need for lots of quiet alone time, even if I don’t want it. I love being social; I love spending time with friends, going to shows, grabbing a beer, or sitting around having craft night. But the migraines often get me down.

Sometimes I just don’t commit to something I would love to attend. That late-night party down the street, the one that’s sure to be fun and full of dancing and friends? “Maybe–if I don’t feel bad.” The movie I’ve been wanting to see is playing the night before my period is to arrive–most likely I’ll have a migraine then, so going to a movie is just ruled out before I even consider making plans.

Other times, I bail in fear of a migraine. Big events like weddings, funerals, holidays, and other much-anticipated events are almost sure to be accompanied by an attack. A couple of years ago, I got an invitation to a good friend’s wedding. I took some factors into consideration: 1, most weddings entail my pretending to have fun and socialize when really I have throbbing pain behind my eyes; 2, going to an old friend’s wedding doesn’t guarantee you’ll actually get to talk to that person; 3, The venue was nearly two hours from my home–and I didn’t have the inclination or money to spend the night in the same town as the wedding–that means I would have a long drive there and back–more triggers.

Out of fear, I wrote a sweet note to my friend and declined the invitation. Turns out she was hurt and disappointed–she’d really wanted me there; I was one of the first friends she’d met as a seventh grader in a new town. So I went. And I had fun. And I got a migraine on the way home.

Mostly I cancel plans at the last minute when I have an attack coming on. Even if the meds I take do work, the postdrome means I’ll be sleepy and out of it and not in the mood to socialize. A few years ago, I’d pop Imitrex or Relpax while at a busy rock show at midnight, sure the headache would be gone in a few minutes so I could continue dancing and rocking out. I was usually right in my judgment then and ended up back up to par an hour or so later, ready to continue to the night. I don’t feel that way anymore. Now I skip out when I feel the migraine coming on and head straight home, realizing that if I push myself I’ll feel worse.

Canceling plans makes me feel terrible; my guilt merely compounds the pain and nausea I’m feeling, and that simply doesn’t help anyone, the friends I’ve canceled on or myself. My friends and family are extremely understanding: they know of my health condition and their first priority (and usually mine) is to take care of me. But I still cannot get over the feeling that maybe, just maybe, they think I’m flaky. That I’ve let them down. That I can’t be counted on. And I can’t seem to figure out how to get over that.

I read others’ blogs, read mantras about taking care of myself, read stories about people going through similar things. Maybe one day soon all that will click. Logically, I know the the choice I make to go home and try to relax is the only healthy choice I can make. Emotionally, I continue to feel like I’m undependable, and that feels pretty rotten.

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.

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