When Your Neighbors Give You a Headache. Literally.

When Your Neighbors Give You a Headache. Literally.

Once again the buzz, buzz, buzz sound woke me from sleep at 5:30am, and once again I knew it was coming from the apartment upstairs. I would never have guessed that a vibrating phone alarm on another floor would be able to wake me, but this was the fourth time it had happened, so these impromptu scientific trials testing the hypothesis had yielded some reliable if surprising (and annoying) results.

As a chronic headache sufferer, maintaining a regular sleep schedule is one of the most important ways I can prevent a painful flare-up. My most reliable headache trigger by far is not getting enough sleep or being forced to wake up earlier than normal. Whenever I’ve had to alter my routine to catch an early flight or go to an early meeting I feel wrecked for the rest of the day. It’s hard for me to concentrate. I spend the day in a mental fog. Sometimes I take a nap in the afternoon, which only makes it harder for me to go to sleep at my regular time that night.

So, I was not only annoyed by my neighbor’s alarm, I was concerned about how the disruption it caused in my sleep would affect me for the rest of the day. I’d tried working with him about the problem. After the first two times it woke me at an early hour I left a note on his door asking if the noise had been coming from his apartment and if so to please do something to prevent it. He came down later that evening and we had a good conversation about it, so I thought the problem would be resolved.


Unfortunately I was woken again a few weeks later at 6:30am on a Saturday, and now a week after that at 5:30am, so the problem had definitely not been resolved. To add to the difficulty, my neighbor didn’t always turn off the alarm right away, but instead let it buzz, buzz, buzz for several minutes. On the second occasion it went on for at least 40 minutes, and even penetrated the ear plugs I tried wearing to block it out. I was only able to go back to sleep by listening to music on headphones, which is not the most comfortable way to lay your head on a pillow.

I decided to finally bring up the problem with my apartment manager, and was incredibly disappointed when he appeared to take the side of the upstairs tenant. In his email reply he said that the vibrating alarm was “a very reasonable way to wake yourself up in situation where you share walls with neighbors.” After I read his email I felt the same way I often feel when I try to explain my life to people. It felt like he was saying, “You are broken. I don’t believe this could happen to someone. Your pain is not real to me.”

I didn’t bring up the issue of my headache with either my neighbor or my rental manager. I don’t like to play the headache card first off the top of the deck. Like many chronic pain sufferers I don’t want to look like I’m asking for special treatment. I don’t want to be pitied. I don’t want to be seen as the girl who only complains about her situation in life. I want to be like one of the “normal” people to whom waking up early is just an annoyance, not a possible trigger for a day of pain.

If the situation continues, perhaps I will feel forced to bring up my health problem, maybe even get a doctor’s note. But I fear that even that will not be taken seriously, that my neighbor and the apartment manager will just roll their eyes and think, “What a crybaby. I hope she leaves when her lease is up.”

But above all I feel sadness that there is such a lack of support from my community, that my neighbor and my apartment manager don’t seem to care about the way this early morning alarm is disrupting my life. More than anything I have always desired validation from my community, acceptance that my pain is real and that they will make reasonable accommodations not to make my pain even worse. True, these two people don’t know the full impact the alarm has on my health, but the lack of sympathy so far makes me wonder if they would care at all. Is it even worth broaching the topic?

Have you ever had a neighbor or friend do something that makes your headache worse? Do you have a coworker who insists on wearing perfume even though it triggers your migraine? How can we communicate with these people so they understand the impact their actions have on our health without going to war with them?

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

View Comments (44)
  • Robyn
    2 years ago

    For 18+ years I’ve had issues with people who don’t have an “indoor voice.” It’s extra painful when they live with you & there’s no escape. Frustrating.

  • Pam<3Tide
    2 years ago

    I have a terrible time with Loud noise (i.e. Fire Alarms, Back Up Alarms on machinery in box stores, etc.)
    Loud Car Music drives me crazy too.
    I had to stop going into one of my favorite grocery stores that sell sushi. It was right by the creamer section. The smell was absolutely sickening, instant migraine. I mentioned it to Asst Managers & the Store Manager. All they would say is it’s just the sushi. I let them know that my Mama was a butcher & always told me, if fish smells that bad it’s Not Good. They didn’t care. :,(

  • Pam
    2 years ago

    My neighbor has a barking dog. Thomas doesn’t only bark at someone passing by. He barks, if we go in our backyard, talk in our house even open a window. I don’t understand why you have a dog if it’s outside all the time. I have a dog, but if she breaks I will bring her in faster. I haven’t told the neighbor yet. I don’t think I could do it without causing her bodily harm 🙂

  • Georgiana
    5 years ago

    The very nasty people on the other end of the building sit outside and smoke like chimneys. Can’t do it in their own apartment, oh no! I haven’t even said anything to my landlord. Why bother? I know him well enough to know he’s a weenie who won’t do anything. I could pull the ADA accommodation card for me AND my SO, who’s asthmatic, but ya know, this place is ticking me off anyway. As soon as I pick up another job, we’re moving.

  • Pat
    5 years ago

    I had to quit choir because members insisted on wearing perfume even though the choir director asked several times that no one wear scents. I am at war with my neighbor because he insists on burning stuff in bonfire creating lots of smoke which always triggers migraine. Now, it seems neighbors all around me burn leaves, yard debris, etc. They are all aware of my distress, but don’t seem to care or believe me. I am thinking of moving to a neighborhood that forbids any type of outdoor fires – even fire pits.

  • HorseAndCarriage
    5 years ago

    I have both Chronic Migraines and Sensory Processing Disorder, so am very sensitive to all the senses, including (and especially) sound, but I have to agree with your neighbor and landlord on this one. Your neighbor has every right to use an alarm clock to wake up for work, play, appointments, flights, anything – just like you also have the same right. He is not being unreasonable. He’s doing something most people do and something that is completely necessary for him to do. It isn’t like he’s banging on walls and screaming at someone at 5:30 a.m. (happened in a hotel I was in once – I guess the lady was mad at her hubby or trying to get in the bathroom while he was in there or something!). So, what do you do about it? Here are some choices:

    — Listen to music with noise-cancelling earbuds (or just use the noise-cancelling feature alone)
    — Use a white noise or nature sounds noise maker
    — Change your schedule to wake up at 5:30 or whatever time the alarm goes off
    — Move to either a single-family house so you have no neighbors or a better-insulated apartment where you don’t hear neighbors
    — Deal with it/get used to it/get used to the sound. Everyone wakes up many times each night as part of the sleep cycle, you just don’t normally notice it, so being up for a few minutes due to the alarm likely won’t cause too many problems of lost sleep. Many dog owners have to get up to let their dogs go potty, but their body gets used to getting up for a few minutes and then going back to sleep.

    If you do nap during the day, do it early (not at night) and do only a 15-20 minute power nap.

    Remember, respect goes BOTH ways, which includes you knowing you’re going to have some noise from neighbors in the apartment you’re in as they need to live, just like they have to deal with your noise as you live. Alarm clocks are part of daily living. Just be glad he doesn’t have a pet rooster to wake him up! 🙂

  • kischrjo
    5 years ago

    Like the rest of the posts, i too have a a disrespectful neighbor. We have lived in our neighbor hood a long time and have seen many come and go, but about 5 yrs ago we got new neighbors behind us. They seemed like a regular family at first and then what appears to have been a divorce and the wife got the house with the 3 kids. My spouse had gotten along fine with the husband but the wife had never been friendly.

    Then we saw a huge change with any respect for us. The smaller children were constantly outside screaming and making as much noise as possible. They also have a pool. So very late hours. Then more and more people all the time in and out at all times of day and night. Then they got a dog and they have never owned a dog. They got a husky puppy- a pack dog and left it enclosed under the deck with chicken wire every day this poor dog howled. As the puppy grew he howled for hours. We tried to call animal patrol and they got ticketed but refused to pay the fines. Other neighbors called too but that didn’t seem to change it either. Then they decided they needed a second dog to keep the husky from being lonely. They got a boxer! Are you kidding? This breed needs a ton of exercise and are high maintenance. My family has had several over the years and I am a dog lover so I don’t blame the animals but i suffer 15 to 25 days per month and between the pool, the kids, the hours they keep, the dogs in a 10 X 10 foot space for them and the son who drives a very loud truck and now the parent leaves town frequently and the kids have a huge party right outside my bedroom every time she leaves. Aaahhhh! Thank God, literally, as I pray a lot for Jesus to help me through and I beg him to help me ‘love thy neighbor’. A few more years and the kids will start going off to college and maybe I might get a considerate neighbor. In the meantime, I hope all of you are able to resolve your situations and can truly empathize with each of you. It seems the world is slow to understand migraineurs and the our disease. It is not a club you want to be in. Good luck

  • The Migraine Girl moderator
    5 years ago

    We live in a college town, and most of the little houses around us are rentals. Thankfully, we have had a mostly good batch of neighbors in the last few years, but at certain points I’ve thought about selling the house entirely due to the neighbors’ behavior–namely their late-night noise. I always attempted to talk face-to-face with first the neighbors, then–if that didn’t work–the landlords, and finally resorted to calling the non-emergency police number. My neighbors were mostly having parties, though, and so could be cited as creating a public nuisance. I’m not sure what I’d do about that obnoxious vibrating phone. Are there city ordinances about apartment/condo living that dictate how much noise can go from one unit to another? I hope in the last couple of months things have gotten better, Jennette.

  • Jennette Fulda
    5 years ago

    Fortunately the guy upstairs was more empathetic than the apartment manager and he’s turned off the vibration on his phone entirely. There haven’t been any more incidents since then. I feel rather lucky compared to what other people in this thread have gone through!

  • Carol F
    5 years ago

    I’ve had migraines for 58 years. In the early years, I had them twice a week, each one lasting 3 days. After some years went by, was trying to attend university. What a nightmare! I was living with my parents and a brother. My family would have the TV on from midday until 1 a.m. They had zero understanding how the noise affected my slee

  • Carol F
    5 years ago

    sleep, pain and ability to study, nor did they care. I even endured ridicule from my family. The few doctors that I saw were of no help and blamed my personality. Which brings me my second point: For the next 40+ years, I had to live in rented apartments, which opened up a whole new hell of noise that I had not ever dreamed of. No matter how much I paid for an apartment, no matter how lovely the unit, it was always the same problem: Stereos blasting, yelling and screeaming, car horns, etc., day and night, with no respite. Management didn’t help; So I know whereof you speak. My good news is that now I take meds to diminish the frequency of the headaches, real meds for the pain, and meds which will often actually abort an attack once it has begun. Life’s pretty good now. It’s a far cry from the days, now long ago, when I used to think that suicide would be the only answer for my pain I was wrong. THERE IS HOPE.

  • AmyBabee
    5 years ago

    I have tried to find out which of my neighbors plays his/her music so loud that my bed dances along, including my head. I made up my mind to speak to the building superintendent to pls beg whoever it is to take pity on me. For all I know, it could be coming from the next building or even downstairs. 3 people on my floor own dogs but they only make noise when they run into each other at the elevator during their walk time. Just this music player is killing me on weekends: He starts early sat/sun morning 6am. I go out, come back home and still meet music playing till 10pm when I stuff my ears and go to bed. My last prayer each sat/sun night has been “God, pls make him stop in Jesus’ name, Amen”. For about 2 weeks now, I have not heard a peep from whoever it is.

  • Candy
    5 years ago

    I have a similar situation. My next door neighbor has a super yappy dog that lives in the back yard and starts barking as soon as the neighborhood wakes up (as early as 6am). Some days I have to get up that early, but some days I don’t have to get up until 8:30 and would like to get my full 8 hours. The same neighbor works third shift and likes to mow his lawn as soon as he gets home from work, regardless of what day it is, so he’ll crank up the lawn mower at 7am on a Saturday and wake up my entire household. My husband is an early riser anyway, so it doesn’t bother him, and he’s always very careful to do anything he can to keep from waking me (he’ll turn on my white noise, make sure my blackout curtains are closed, etc), but once that mower gets going, there’s no going back to sleep. And that of course, sets off the yapper…

  • Tim Banish
    5 years ago

    This sounds so familiar. We used to have a neighbor with a very large and loud dog. It’s bark would rattle our windows. They would let the dog out at any hour, day or night, and it always barked loudly. Numerous calls to the police always ended up with them showing up after the dog was inside again. One night at 3:30 AM calling the police the officer on the phone asks me if I can stop the dog from barking because she can’t hear me. “That’s what I’m calling about” I hollered at her. “That is my neighbors dog!” However same story, they arrive after the dog is inside. Then one night another neighbor hollers out his window to shut that dog up or else. 5 minutes later as the dog continues to bark I hear a gunshot. The dog is gone for some time (never did hear if he actually shot the dog) but returns. Another few years of this and the dog neighbor finally moves(YAY). The peace and quiet at night was so nice, for a few months. That’s when another neighbor gets a yappy dog, and the same thing begins again. They let the yapper out every morning early, and leave it there for an hour or so yapping the entire time. Asking the neighbor to not let the dog out so early they reply with “He isn’t hurting anyone, and we don’t hear him barking.” Yes, because you’re up in the shower for an hour while he barks. All that does is lead to a bad neighbor thing, with the once nice neighbors getting rude and letting the dog out at all hours of the day and night, sometimes leaving it tied up outside all night (barking of course). More numerous calls to the police with no results until finally another neighbor complains. Police arrive one early morning and cite the neighbor for a public disturbance. With the problem finally solved (for a while) we have quiet again. However then we move and guess what? Our new next door neighbor has two dogs, one that barks at anything and all the time. The only good thing is they are nice enough to call the dog in when he barks too much or too long, but it’s 6 AM, and once I’m awake, I’m awake.

  • Jennifer Carter
    5 years ago

    The weekly lawn service is bad enough, but luckily it’s only one days week during the spring and summer. The worst thing is the niehbor kid that insists on bouncing his basketball for what seems like hours a day. Thank God school is in, but I can tell you the exact time he gets home. I spend my evenings figuring out different ways to destroy that ball.

  • nella
    5 years ago

    I’m sorry you had to deal with people who are self absorbed. One thing that helps me greatly is what I call my “Ssshhh Machine”. You can get it online or Hammacher Schlemmer. It is a Godsend. You can run it at several levels and it’s a soothing noise that drowns out background noise even when I’m at my most phonophonic. Good luck to you. I hope it helps.

  • Dave Thawley
    5 years ago

    hiya. I can empathise totally. when I get a migraine my audio filter gets turned off and every little noise both confuses me and hurts at the same time. my solution is to use industrial squeeze type earplugs. im in the uk and I can get a box of a couple hundred pairs for £25 … about 40 usd. these kill most noise and give me some relief. I even put them in at night wnd turn my alarm up and out it near my head. the sound is loud enough to wake me but the plugs kill all stray noise.

    good luck to you

    Dave

  • Suki G.
    5 years ago

    Hi folks, it’s your friendly neighborhood osmophobe. I can certainly relate to your post Jennette. I didn’t get to the neighbor part yet because I got stuck on the PERFUME AT WORK issue, one that, after having worked on it for the past 9 years, I’ve concluded is less a question of etiquette and more one for my attorney. Basically
    my comments don’t fit here – I posted my first entry on my blog, Pencil Me In, at http://freeandclear1.blogspot.com/
    about the topic.

  • Luna
    5 years ago

    I was treated for (1)fragrance and (2) environmental pollutants and it did nothing for me. In fact the fragrance modifier made me sick even at tiny doses. So it is worth trying but certainly isn’t sure fire.

  • Randy Sarah
    5 years ago

    Many kinds of scents are severe triggers for me. Many people wear heavy perfumes, or when I walk into a house or other building I can immediately tell when they have scented candles, scented soaps, plug-in “air fresheners”,etc. Many deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, etc. have heavy perfumes in them. I find it especially difficult with teenagers or those in their early 20’s. Male and female – they are more prone to wear the most heavily scented, triggering products, yet I don’t like to say anything to them, first, because of their fragile egos, and second, because they are less likely to understand illness. When I can remove myself from a situation, such as in an airplane, I no longer hesitate to do it immediately. When I know or think it may be a recurring exposure to a person or situation, I immediately act like I am very ill, faint and dizzy, and tell the person what the problem is. Of course, it isn’t always an act, but I do sometimes exaggerate visible symptoms, so people can see on the outside what I feel like on the inside. Most, if not all, people, are then at least somewhat sympathetic and try to do what they can.

  • Sonya
    5 years ago

    My neighbor problem seems insignificant compared to wood chopping and leaf blowing! But our new neighbors across the street have several children. They are never loud or obnoxious but every time I lie down in the bed with a migraine (around 4 or 5pm everyday) one of them starts bouncing a basketball in the street. How can I complain? They are good kids and I haven’t met the parents but every time that ball hits the pavement it feels like it hits my head! I tried changing to the guestroom but the child came around the corner! I told my husband that I was going to go buy a baseball and bat then go introduce myself to her parents and present them and suggest they change sports. I was only kidding but I don’t know what to do.

  • BethBlue
    5 years ago

    Sonya, I really feel for you. I have the same problem. Believe it or not (and I wish to God I was making this up), the wood-chopper plays basketball with his ADHD-afflicted son when he’s done sweeping up sawdust. (Direct quote from his kid: “I LOVE to dribble! Dribble, dribble, dribble!”) Anyway, when your head throbs, does it really matter if they’re good kids? The point is, it always falls to US to change OUR behavior, and that just causes us more stress, which causes more pain…you get the picture. And sometimes kids use a situation like yours to purposely make MORE noise just to be spiteful. So, changing your nap time seems to be the short-term solution, unless you want to rile up people you don’t even know. I’m sorry. Good luck! 🙁

  • Randy Sarah
    5 years ago

    Might it be possible to make one room in your house sound proof? Or at least more so?

  • BethBlue
    5 years ago

    Jennette, can we talk? Let me tell you about my modern-day Paul Bunyan. For about four years, my next-door neighbor has been chopping wood to save on heating costs (he’s an unemployed chiropractor who lives off of his hair-salon-owner wife). We live in a small village with houses on 50 x 100 lots. That means that when I’m in my kitchen and he’s using his power saw or swinging an axe, we’re only about twenty-five feet from each other. This man’s activities are the number-one source of strife in our household, with my husband maintaining that the man “has rights,” and me crying that the man is a nuisance and a rude jerk. My husband has spoken to him numerous times about his activities, and while the man claims he’s sympathetic and placates my husband temporarily, he eventually goes right back to chopping and cutting whenever he likes — year-round, I might add. (Yes, he does this even in July when it’s 95 degrees.) I’ve made no bones about the fact that I have contempt for this man over this issue. I even told him to his face that I wouldn’t tolerate him running his vehicles in his driveway for excessive periods of time because they were filling my kitchen with smoke. I’ve consulted zoning commissioners, used my muscle (yeah, right) as an attorney to see if he’s abusing nuisance laws, and even tried to get the mayor involved, all to no avail. Just think for a moment how all of this feels — a power saw, the smell of gasoline from the stupid saw, and the sound of an axe reverberating through the walls of your home (and even cracking some of them). Now imagine what all of this is doing to my head. So yes, my neighbor is giving me a headache — literally — and has been for YEARS — and there’s no end in sight unless I move. I feel so hopeless.

  • Randy Sarah
    5 years ago

    What about a mediator? Neighbor disputes can sometimes be resolved that way. But, as a lawyer, you know, get any agreement in writing. It sounds like maybe your neighbor has other reasons for chopping the wood – it might help work off anger or emotional issues or something like that (which he probably wouldn’t be willing to admit to).

  • BethBlue
    5 years ago

    I honestly didn’t post this to garner sympathy — I was hoping people would offer some advice, and I do appreciate any that is offered. My husband is on my side, but I think he’s trying to play devil’s advocate. I have no patience for that, mostly because I really despise what our neighbor is doing — I find it selfish and just plain cheap. It only takes $800 to keep his family comfortable for a season (four cords of wood). That means that he’s making us miserable year-round for the sake of $800!!!!! (That represents half a Botox treatment to me.) I swear that if I could spare it, I’d put it in pennies and dump it on his porch. The cheap bastard would take it, too.

  • Randy Sarah
    5 years ago

    Can you at least get your husband on your side? A few sessions of marriage counseling? Ask him to accompany you to the migraine doctor?

  • Jennette Fulda
    5 years ago

    Oh man, you’re making my upstairs neighbor seem like a gentleman! I’m so sorry your problem with this guy has persisted.

  • Beth Crego
    5 years ago

    I actually started getting migraines after almost a year of not getting regular sleep due to a downstairs neighbor. The apartment manager offered me another apartment, at a hugely increased rate ( since I had lived there awhile before this happened). I could not afford to move but if I had known what pain was coming my way I really don’t know what extremes I would have gone to to avoid it. I don’t know if I would have gotten migraines anyways but I would go for days w/o sleep and it affected me, in every way. I tried everything. The music vibrated up through my bed. Their stereo was in the bedroom below me. That someone is allowed to make such a horrific affect on a neighbors wellbeing should be criminal and they should be held accountable. Lack of sleep is used as a torture method. Your neighbor knows that he is doing this to you. If it is not aggressive it is passive aggressive. I think it’s time to get an attorney involved.

  • Marsha
    5 years ago

    Why don’t you give your neighbor a copy of your post? It explains perfectly why this seemingly small issue is so important to you, and also explains your concerns and restraint in revealing the health issue. Maybe give it one more try in helping them to understand (although they should have “gotten” the point already!).

  • lara
    5 years ago

    Fireworks. Stupid stupid fireworks especially when it’s NOT the Fourth of July or another holiday! But come on. People should stop after 10:30pm especially when The Fourth is on a work night but oh NO. People have to keep going until 1:00am.

  • kathykathy
    5 years ago

    I’m sorry your headaches are still bad Jennette I read your book and hoped you were better now as it’s been a few years. I know it’s not nice but I’m convinced with some jerks the only way to get the message accross is to smack them across the head over and over and see how they like it.

    Also white noise may help, buy a large fan and sleep with it on. I sleep through our noisy house with it.

  • Jennette Fulda
    5 years ago

    @kathykathy – Thanks! My headache is better than it was several years ago, but I still have it and it can flare up at times. That’s why I’m particularly fanatical about maintaining my sleep schedule.

  • Jennette Fulda
    5 years ago

    Although it’s sad to hear about your troubles, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s had problems with her neighbors.

    I also wanted to add an update about my situation. The rental manager did let my neighbor know I could hear his alarm, though he didn’t insist on him stopping it. However the neighbor is supposedly going to find an alternative alarm solution. I haven’t heard the alarm for three days now, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the pattern holds.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    5 years ago

    First, Welcome to Migraine.com! I’m so happy to see you’ve joined us.

    I was going to see if there is was a way to move your bedroom into another room – but happy to hear such drastic measures may not be needed.

    Nancy

  • Jennette Fulda
    5 years ago

    @larissa – You’re lucky! I live in North Carolina which didn’t set up an exchange, so I’m using the federal government site. Even when I log in it won’t let me save profile info or upload an image of my driver’s license to verify my identity. I still haven’t been able to get a price quote on my insurance.

  • lara
    5 years ago

    @Jennette Fulda Washington State’s exchange was working this afternoon. No delays. No timeouts. Kind of spooky actually.

  • Jennette Fulda
    5 years ago

    @Lora – If it doesn’t, I figure 5:30am would probably be an optimal time for me to try to log into healthcare.gov to get insurance. I doubt many people in the country are awake at that time besides me and my neighbor 🙂

  • Lora
    5 years ago

    Awesome! Hopefully the peace will continue 🙂

  • Sue Marie
    5 years ago

    I’ll take your alarm buzzing neighbor and raise you a leaf blower fanatic. By this I mean, she was out during hurricane Sandy chasing leaves in the air. No joke. Every morning, 0647 (yep, that’s the time), and every 1-3 hours after. Ugh.

  • lara
    5 years ago

    We have a lawnmower [lady] like that. I went outside and started yelling out the noise ordinance for our city. In other words, she was far too early to be mowing the lawn.

  • Kate
    5 years ago

    I’m so there with you. Wood smoke gives me a headache and I have neighbors who burn stuff constantly. We’re not talking about a little firebowl–they’ve built an 8 foot backyard fire ring and are burning whole trees that they’ve taken down in their yard. Not only is this illegal, but I will always walk up with a migraine from the smoke the next day because of the prevailing winds. And yet even my own husband thinks I’m a crybaby on this one. What can you do?

  • Lora
    5 years ago

    Thank you for this post. I’m often conflicted as to whether I should play the “headache card” with my coworkers. Besides sensitivity to smell and bright/flashing lights, repetitive sounds are a major trigger for my migraines. I’ve politely asked people to please stop whistling, or clicking their pens. I try to explain that it gives me headaches, but I think I’m seen more as a complaining curmudgeon. After asking a coworker if he could please reduce his incessant humming, he snaps that he’s happy, and obviously I have a problem with happy. I don’t know how to effectively explain to people how their actions affect my brain and my day.

  • lara
    5 years ago

    Hey Lora,

    I used to work in test labs with LOTS of guys who were fidgeters. Drove me nuts especially when I was on the cusp of a migraine. I finally started bringing headphones to work to save my sanity.

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