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Just another manic MIGRAINE Monday

The phone rang at 10:01 AM, according to my clock radio. Startled and surprised, I turned over in bed and reached for my cell. “D.H.,” the screen read. I wonder why he’s calling me. Hmm. A full five seconds later, my brain caught up: “Oh, sh**!” I cried. “What is it?” Jim asked, sounding worried. “This is the guy who’s supposed to be attending our meeting today—the meeting that started a minute ago!”

I hate letting people down. I hate missing deadlines, and I hate being late for meetings. Luckily, I don’t think I do this too often, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier when it does happen. I vividly recall picking up the phone one day last March, wondering why my babysitting charges’ dad was calling me. “Hey, A.!” I said cheerfully. “Hey, Janet, um…” And with that “um” I realized why he was calling. I was supposed to have arrived at his house thirty minutes before. CRAP. In that case, I was perfectly healthy and awake and alive and not at all busy—I’d just forgotten. To date, I’ve babysat hundreds of times and have been seriously late twice. Just twice. Yet I can’t let it go.

In this morning’s case, I was sick (with a stuffy-headed cold and a migraine all at once—what fun!), sleepy and totally out of it. And guess what? I felt just as guilty. This time I had a totally valid excuse—I literally can’t walk more than a couple of steps without feeling dizzy, and that combined with the fact that I’m not allowed to drive while taking Lortab means I’d have needed to skip the meeting even if I had remembered about it this morning when I first awoke at 6. But I still feel bad.

I felt my face flush red as I picked up the phone; felt embarrassed and unprofessional as I told D. that I was feeling ill. Felt ashamed and sneaky when I called and then texted and then emailed the rest of my board to tell them that I couldn’t make it to our monthly meeting.

I find it interesting that this all happened just a day after telling my sister how good I’ve gotten at saying no to people, how I can usually feel guilt- and stress-free when I tell folks I can’t make it to their party or fundraiser or what have you.

You know how at a middle school dance you’re petrified of hitting the dance floor because you simply know that everyone is staring at you, ready to point and laugh? (And no, I don’t know why I have been bringing up the school dance theme this week.) Well, I am feeling the same way right now. I feel like everyone on the board is rolling their eyes, dismissing me as unprofessional and lazy and flippant. That they think I’m a faker who is lazing the day away in bed on a rainy day. Truth be told, they probably read my email, felt bad that I was sick, and moved on, not giving me another thought. Not analyzing my “excuse” and not gossiping amongst each other about how I’ll never make it as an entrepreneur if I can’t even commit to a monthly meeting.

Sometimes I feel like I’m fourteen instead of thirty.
Thankfully, just writing this post has made me feel a lot better. So thank you, loyal computer friends.

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

  • Malinda Sutherland
    7 years ago

    The same thing has happened to me. People would talk about me behind my back or email each other not realizing that I was on a team email. of course after, I used up my FMLA time, they decided to bet on when I would be let go. It did wonders for my self-esteem. And when I went to supervisor, she would tell me that I didn’t have any migraines then people would stop tlaking about me.

  • Suzanne Johnson
    7 years ago

    Daily migraines for the last 10+ years lead to losing my dream job and permament disability. I no longer feel bullied by an employer but I doubt I’ll get over the constant feelings of letting down family & friends. The ones that haven’t already written me off that is.

  • Deborah Yoder Jones
    7 years ago

    I used to call my boss at 4am a leave a message to let him know it was going to be a bad day. Sometimes I could sleep it off and go in late, others, I would lose the whole day. That led to my Perm disability. Headaches every day for five years.

  • Jessica Smith
    7 years ago

    I know how that can feel. I slept thru the alarm after the 4 am wake up to the migraine. I took my meds went back to sleep hoping when y alarm beeped in 3 hours I’d be ok to go to work. Yeah 4 ours later I woke to my phone ringing & my alarm shutting down after beeping for an hour. I was late for work. A job I was still in training at. Lucky for me the boss got migraines & understood. She told me to go back to bed & call her in the afternoon to rework the schedule so I could catch my training back up.

  • James Alberino
    8 years ago

    I can relate. I had to get the FMLA approved for my migraines. Employers do not care. Been dealing with employers all my life! Thank God for the FMLA it backs them down a little bit. Nobody understands.Only migraine sufferers understand.As I type right now I have one. Then they even question if you take too many Mondays. Sorry I cannot control what days I get migraines. All I can say to everyone hang in there. Do your best…that is what I do. Can’t wait till its time to go home!

  • Sarah Scott Blankenship
    8 years ago

    I understand. I have forgotten to cancel meetings, or been so out of it when I attended that it wasted everyone’s time. I frequently think if I were on chemo or had something very obviously wrong with me, people would be more likely to forget and forgive than when I show up in sunglases, turn off the florescent lights, and ask the lady with too much perfume to sit on the oher side of the room. Not that I want a health problem more likely to be fatal…..this is bad enough.
    Thank you for putting into words how I think so many of us feel.

  • Sandy Monette
    8 years ago

    Wow, this is exactly how I have felt many times too!

  • Sandy Zarembski
    8 years ago

    I can sympathize. I spent my youth being accused of all sorts of things at work, from being a drug addict to merely being lazy. Finally I opted for a lesser career, only to find that the attendance pressures there are as bad as they are in the corporate world. This society does not understand migraine sufferers.

  • Crystal Sanderson
    8 years ago

    I have the same problem and I’m on disability for them. It sucks and I feel like I’m letting my friends and family down, ALLTHE TIME!

  • Melissa Tharp Tessmer
    8 years ago

    I have been suffering from migraines as long as could remember, but just in the last year they have progressively gotten worse. I have had countless CTS, MRI’s, tests after tests, have tried all medication to try to help or prevent my migraines from occurring. With no prevail no help what so ever! I now take no medication, see 3 different neurologists, go to a pain clinic, and physical therapy twice a week! I have been fighting depression for many years now and they are starting to say that depression maybe causing the problems! I feel that is not the case what so ever! I know depression causing many problems, but if this was the case my migraines would have been unbearable years ago, not just in the past year! They are using my depression for a cover up and I’m getting very frustrated with all of this! Not sure what way to turn any more! Any one with any advice?

  • caradrouin
    6 years ago

    I feel that depression is only a disease when it goes beyond what is normal under the circumstances. If your mom dies, you get to be sad. For a while. If you get fired from your job, you get to be depressed. For a while.

    Chronic pain and the constant small losses, from time with friends to not enjoying something you feel that you should…. the depression is not a disease in itself, merely a symptom. You wouldn’t expect a runny stuffy nose to go away before the flu does.

    It’s a drag to be in chronic pain and miss out on so much. I have SO many doctor appointments (I have a couple of other disabling or chronic conditions) that I say my hobby is going to the doctor. Do I want to add one or two more appointments each week to a therapist to talk me out of being in pain? No Way! I want a life!

  • Maureen Baxter Douglas
    8 years ago

    I so understand. I used to be out and about doing all sorts of things for other people and now feel guilty because truthfully most of it is too much. As far as forgetting things day planners help with that but in the midst of pain I might not look at it. On another note I have to say once again how much this site means to me because I was at the very end of my rope when I found it. It is such a blessing. Thank you

  • Susan Cleveland
    8 years ago

    After throwing a fit about how my employer wants me to work opening, swing, and closing shifts all in the same week, he cut my hours. I had told him that I suffer from migraines and needed a regular sleep pattern (along with gobs of other restrictions). I capitulated because I cannot afford the cut, but suffered a migraine on the closing shift. I went to work anyways because I thought no one would believe that I really had a migraine after throwing said fit. I was unproductive, but I was there! I always feel like no one believes I really suffer and am using it as an excuse to get out of work. I slink back to work the day after feeling guilty like I’ve done something wrong. I can relate with your blog, especially the guilt. P.S. isn’t his action against the FMLA for not accommodating my medical condition?

  • Angela Reisinger
    8 years ago

    I saw a chiropractor who did give me the idea that it may be food but with all of the doctors that I have seen not one of them have thought of this. Thanks for sharing… this is somthing that I will bring up at my next doctors visit.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Hi caradrouin,

    Identifying and managing our migraine triggers is an important part of a migraine plan. A good way to do this is to keep a migraine journal which may help identify migraine triggers and patterns and it’s wonderful that you know what some of yours are.

    But here’s the thing about triggers; not everyone with migraine has food triggers. We all experience migraine and our triggers differently. This may be part of the reason why migraine is so difficult to treat.

  • caradrouin
    6 years ago

    You can try an elimination diet. Look up how to do that. I would have a migraine every day if I had not identified trigger foods. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it. I don’t know why doctors are not familiar with this. Can’t hurt, might help.

    This may be a lot to do at once. The major migraine triggers are Chocolate, fermented spirits and MSG. Try just taking these out of your diet first. That might give you enough relief to go for the full elimination diet.

    Alternately, you could keep a food diary. It’s not as effective but can help you a lot.

  • Teresa Tindal
    7 years ago

    they’re just going to tell you to see the allergist and get allergy tested. Orphenadrine worked best for me before I discovered my aspirin allergy. It’s a large dose of aspirin with a muscle relaxer and caffeine.

  • Karen Stanley Haack
    8 years ago

    Sami can’t function at all when she has her migraines…Dizziness, vomitting ear buzzing, fainting, extreme low bloood pressure. It’s horrible..Thank god we found out that her allergies to food was causing them…..she is on an anti-histamine diet, anti-fungal, anti-mold, no fermentation diet. She was diagnosed recently with ulcerative colitis also. Only being 18 it is hard but she knows if she eats those foods she’ll be in agony.

  • Linda Barham Nabors
    8 years ago

    I’m not alone and I’m not crazy! So glad to know that there are others out there who struggle with this same issue. I feel like I swim in the guilt lake everyday. Between Fibromyalgia which has caused 27 years of migraines, my pain level is high and my confidence level is nil. I feel worthless and very unproductive as a human being. I hear the terms lazy, uncaring, stupid, incapable, etc. running through my mind everyday. I am my worst enemy and all I end up doing is make my self feel worse. Between pain and fatigue I am able to do very little anymore. A small job feels like a great victory. As hard as life has become, I know there are others who struggle more than I. I will never give up hope that I will be better one day and I will never give up pushing and doing what I can. I try to treat myself as I would a friend or my child if they were sick. It helps to take the pressure off. My faith in God is the only peace I have in my life, plus the love of an understanding husband, family and friends.

  • Beverly Hamilton
    8 years ago

    Oh Dear Linda, I posted something through FB about Fibro & Chronic Fatigue and my Sjogrens through a forum (discussion) one time and it went out on Facebook and was not well received. I was so embarrassed as that was supposed to be private…..my feelings, etc.Have been getting E Mails from the forum asking how I am doing and don’t want to go there again because I don’t want it out there for all to see if I need to vent. I don’t think it was supposed to go on our wall, but when I found out about it, I deleted it immediately. The mostly women were just adding their comments and I chimed in. It was helpful knowing that I was not alone and also, what meds, etc. they were using to help them. God Bless You. Of course you know how I am feeling…………it is not fun at all.So happy we met and do wish you were my neighbor for real and we could sit and talk and vent all we want on my porch. Right now it is so humid and makes me sick to step outside my door. Going to send you an E Mail. Need to tell you something. Too bad we have to apologize for this!!!!!

  • Shelly Burgan
    8 years ago

    venting to friends is always ok. glad you have a pain mgmt dr. xoxo

  • Linda Barham Nabors
    8 years ago

    Thanks so much for the comments. I made a mistake and posted to FB instead of the migraine community only. I did not mean for all to see. I have been struggling lately and sometimes I need to vent. I saw my Pain management Dr. today and he always makes me feel better. He understand people with pain and he knows it is real. He makes me feel validated. Again, thanks for the kind words. I love you all.

  • Ann M Maloney
    8 years ago

    Linda, I agree with Carol. Know you are a wonderful, giving, caring person and we are all pulling for you. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

  • Carol McCartney Russell
    8 years ago

    Listen to these people, Linda. You are a warm, caring, wonderful woman. Wish I was there to give you a hug!

  • Gail Nabors
    8 years ago

    You are none of those things you are a very wonderful person and I’m proud to call you sister.

  • Shelly Burgan
    8 years ago

    linda, i pray those things out of your mind and your body. really, i do pray for you lots. my list is long, but everyone on it is deserving of prayer. i cannot imagine what you feel or go through, but hope your emotions (and body) improve. struggling is hard, but you are not worthless. did you know that you bring me joy when you comment on my facebook stuff? so here are more love and hugs!

  • Angela Reisinger
    8 years ago

    I have two comments for this. One- thank goodness I’m not the only one out there. I feel like so many things get overlooked, left behind and forgotten. The number one priority? MY Migraine. Two- Pain management has been a major issue for me lately. Ive tried loratab and it seems to just make my headaches worse. when I tell this to the doctors they look at me as if I’m speaking another language. Most “made for migraine meds do not work either. Any advice out there?

  • Julie Shissler
    7 years ago

    Angela, loratab makes mine worse too for some reason, any of the hydrocodone family does, and they all keep me wide awake. I’ve had some success with Fioricet (butalbital with acetominophen) but it doesn’t work all the time. if you have neck and shoulder stiffness with your migraines, as I sometimes do, a moist-heat heating pad for neck and shoulders can work wonders for your comfort level.

  • Karen Stanley Haack
    8 years ago

    see an allergist…none of the meds helped Sami either until she found out that she was allergic to tons of food. NO Mold, fermented, histamine and fungal foods. fungal foods are mushrooms, citric acid(yes it’s made with fungas) bananas grown in fungus material, all juices are fermented, all cheeses are made from mold. Fresh baked bread one day only. Her diet is very limited however we have not ha a migraine emergency in months…Her migraines were emergencies because she would pass out and become paralysed for hours and her blood pressure would drop dangerously low….Those dumb ER doctors should have figured out a long time ago that it was allergies.

  • Gina Marie Johnson
    8 years ago

    I can totally relate to this! Thank you for posting.

  • Val Milo
    8 years ago

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this same theme lately too. I feel as though I’ve lost myself somewhere along the way. When faced with total bulls*** as a 25 yr old, I would told someone to go screw themselves. These last few years……well I’ve been swallowing it.

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