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Migraine Management Essential 7: Support

A solid support system is essential to effective Migraine management. Even the best medical care and treatment will fall short in keeping a Migraineur going during periods of chronic or especially severe Migraines if their support system is inadequate.

In addition to the physical havoc Migraine wreaks on the body, it messes with our lives in other ways. Many aspects of life that are often taken for granted are impacted negatively:

  • relationships with family, friends, and coworkers;
  • working, continuing or building a career;
  • accomplishing every-day tasks such as cleaning, laundry, and shopping;
  • continuing our education;
  • engaging in intellectually stimulating activities such as reading.

Migraine can also negatively impact our self-esteem. It’s difficult to feel confident when our ability to function is so impacted.

A support system can have elements or branches of many types in many places:

  • family
  • friends
  • coworkers
  • medical support staff
  • church
  • neighbors
  • online or face-to-face support groups
  • web sites and online forums (discussion boards) and chat rooms
  • nonprofit organizations

An important thing for us to remember is good “care and feeding” or our support system. When we’re not well, it’s easy to lose touch with people. We have to cancel social plans, may miss holidays and other events, and don’t even manage to mail out the greeting cards we’d like to. So, it’s important to let the people involved in our support know that they’re important to us and to thank them. One way to address this is by preparing greeting cards in advance so they’re ready to send at the right times. For more on this, see Staying in Touch with Greeting Cards Despite Migraines.

What type and how much support we need varies from person to person. Still, the importance of a solid support system shouldn’t be underestimated. We have an online forum where you can post comments and questions in discussions for support. If you’d like to find a live support group in your area, ask your doctor or call local hospitals to see if they can refer you to one. Another good place to look for one is on the web site of the National Headache Foundation.

The elements of an effective Migraine management system work together to help us improve both our health and our quality of life. If you’ve missed the posts on the other six elements or would like to review them, here are links to the other posts in this series:

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

  • Cathy Ashenfelter Christensen
    7 years ago

    Thank you Teri for your fountain of information and connection we all feel towards you. In this migraine cocoon we can end up in, because no one else in our circle (unless we have extended family who also got the “M” gene) can comprehend the physical and emotional effects of all that we endure with Migraines. Just as we can’t with someone who has cancer or another diseases. So in an essence this has helped me become much more empathic to others. One of my sisters goes with me to my Neurologist appts and has for quite awhile. My 22yr old daughter always wants me to let her know what went on at the appt too. My Mom asks, yet if it’s not a quick cure, then well….yet she asks. My older sister, she has a daughter who suffers from Migraines, she berates me for taking same medication as she (different dosage, but she knows ALL right?) yet it knocks me out and I have to sleep it off. Her daughter can’t take the time off work, so must continue with her workday. I really wish she could, yet don’t try to put a guilt trip on me for being able to. We aren’t close as you can tell. A couple friends understand my smell sensitivity, as it’s my biggest trigger. This is a huge help. Then there are others that have sort of just drifted away because well…..I know, it’s not easy, it’s a big pain. Isolation is no fun though.

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    Cathy, you’re very welcome. I know what you mean about the “cocoon” and how isolating Migraine can be. Migraine can make you redefine the word “friend.” I think all of this is one reason the online community is so important. It lets us find people with similar experiences, people who understand. Hang in there!

  • Karen Farmer
    7 years ago

    One thing that is very difficult is when people become “tired” of your chronic migraine condition. Not having experienced the awful pain and days without sleep, they just don’t get it. They become “irritated” that you miss holidays and events. It is very easy to soon feel and actually be alone. Trying to learn to live with the pain and through it, and have somewhat of a life on days when you aren’t ill can be seen by some as “giving up” or not doing enough to try to find a cure (despite numerous doctors in 3 states and just about ever medication out there) – suggesting that you are “complacent” – hint “lazy” – despite continuing to search and hope for some new medication and discussing it with my neurologist. I am truly grateful to the several people who are supportive and kind. No matter how many times I tell them, I don’t think they really know how much they mean to me.

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    Karen Farmer You’re welcome!

  • Karen Farmer
    7 years ago

    Thank you Teri!

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    I hear you, Karen! Share this with them… http://migraine.com/blog/10-things-i-want-to-share-about-migraines/ I’m going to be at WVU tomorrow to see my new Migraine specialist, Dr. Watson!

  • Karen Farmer
    7 years ago

    I agree, support systems are essential!

  • Debbie Dobbins
    8 years ago

    It’s so difficult to get support from spouses that have never experienced a migraine. They think it’s “just a headache” and that we are “over reacting”. How can we better educate spouses on this issue to gain their support?

  • Janis Nilson
    8 years ago

    It IS difficult for others who do not suffer, to truly understand the enormous impact this condition has on not just the “medical” portions of our lives. The social ramifications listed above have undoubtedly touched each and every Migraineur. I can nod my head “yes” to all of those negative things listed above. When you have a loving support system….whether it be a spouse, partner, parents, siblings…who TRULY understand and don’t expect justification of your condition…well, it makes it a little bit easier to tackle on a daily basis.

  • Steve Maley
    8 years ago

    Hope there is a cure soon…love you Jan…

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