Remembering that I’m not the only one affected by my migraine disease

In times of particularly bad health, I tend to get hyper-focused on myself and the ways migraine and other chronic illnesses are impacting my life. When my migraine disease really flares up for longer periods of illness (which happens a lot when the seasons change, when I’m under tremendous stress, etc.), I kind of shut myself off from the world. I stay at home most of the time, I say no to invitations to socialize (if I answer at all), and—if the flare lasts long enough—I start to feel a lot of self-pity. (Full confession here: it’s been awhile since I had a really prolonged period of serious migraine attacks, but I know that chances are very high that I’ll be knocked out again like that in the next year or so.)

I’m not one to assert the idea that you should just buck up and push through pain and illness. Though self-pity can be excessive at some points (in others and in myself), I think it’s good and healthy to have patience with and love for oneself. Migraine disease can really suck, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that idea and feeling a little bad for yourself. Sometimes I even need to remember to be more patient and kind with myself, especially as I start to stress out about how much work and how many commitments I’m missing because of migraine. But, especially during in really rough bouts of repeating migraines from day to day, I feel alone and really bummed out.

Here’s the thing I tend to forget when I’m having such an emotional migraine low: my loved ones have a rough time with it too. I don’t know why this is such a hard concept to remember, but it is something I lose sight of until I see my sister’s brow furrow with worry or notice how Jim is agitated at not knowing how to help me. I forget that, though I am the one at the center of this migraine drama, my family and friends have a truly difficult time seeing me suffer. That this illness can sometimes be heartbreaking for them as well.

How do your loved ones react to your illness? Does it seem to take a toll on them as well as on you?

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Comments

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  • astrosdiva
    5 years ago

    I am now 62 and have had Migraine Disease for 51 years. At age 40, my beloved husband and I divorced because I couldn’t move back to the Rocky Mountain Wilderness without a doctor or hospital within 100 miles. At age 50, I lost my friends. (You have ANOTHER headache and can’t go to the mall?) Then extended family wrote me off. (I have no children nor siblings.) In 2008, I moved from Houston to a smaller town to start fresh. I’ve been pretty successful at hiding Migraine and other neuro-degenerative disorders, and I’d like to keep it that way. This is my last try, and I simply must have friends because I live alone. Only a handful of very understanding folks know about my conditions and generously help me out when I’m paralyzed by pain.

  • tucker
    5 years ago

    Oh my – this summer was all about me for a while. LOL, in fact, there have been many, many, many times in the past 3 years especially that have been that way. But I was really losing it this summer I was so over my brain pain that I really just couldn’t function. Maybe I hid it well enough (I hope so anyways) from my family and job, but inside I was a horrible emotional mess and I felt like the most selfish person in the world.

    Fortunately, my PCP had treated me for years before I went to the neuro who is 2 1/2 hours away and he had pity on me and helped me out. He tinkered with my meds a bit and I made a 180 in about a month’s time. I was so relieved!!! I ended up seeing him for an urgent care visit about 6-7 weeks later and felt like a queen on top of the world. My life has been so much better the past few months without that constant head pain EVERY DAY.

    My family “deals” with me, they get it but not really. They still wake me up for questions, to ask me about dinner, whatever. I finally made a sign for my bedroom to leave me alone when I have to sleep! But even tonight I told my kids as we went to the store for some dinner stuff, if something happens to me, my husband is doomed. They said he has no clue where the Redbox machine is and always takes a kid to pick up milk. I am his “do-er” when it comes to all things domestic. poor guy. Thank goodness I’ve raised my boys to be shoppers and cleaners and cooks, etc. LOL-driving starts in a couple years- that’s when my worst migraines may hit-I’ll let hubby be in charge of that task!

  • Lauren
    5 years ago

    Absolutely know where you coming from… I have way too many times where my life is nothing but migraines here lately and within the past few years to where its almost a daily thing that I have been dealing with for too long.
    I can say I know the “look” you’re talking about from loved ones that just know what (or how horrible it really is) for their loved one to go through something so often. My mom is my go-to for anything, and she helps me EVERY time anytime I need anything… I am totally there for her too. (I am the first in my family history to suffer from migraines.)
    I usually push through most migraines when able to but when I am physically unable to, I have to go wake her up (which I hate doing because I know how much good sleep can be) but this is only when I cannot function (sometimes often, sometimes not often). I absolutely love that I have someone to help me when I can’t do anything and it’s always available. My mom means the world and so much more to me and always has because she is/has always been there for me.

  • Vicky Wemyss
    5 years ago

    I totally agree with you. I am having a terrible time with my migraines at the moment. I am trying to overcome the dissapointment of botox not working and feel that I have hit a brick wall in terms of trying things to cope with this. I know that I have been feeling very low and sorry for myself. I will try to stop!. Thank you for sharing your thoughts

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