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Sometimes I get tired of asking for accommodations for my migraine

Sometimes I get tired of asking for accommodations for my migraine

A few days after Thanksgiving this past year, my sister and I drove the nine-plus hours to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where my aunt bought a timeshare several years ago.  The car ride was pretty smooth, and I am really happy to report that I didn’t have a migraine the entire time we were gone. In fact, I lasted about ten days without any migraines at all!

I am lucky in that I adore my extended family (both my mom’s and dad’s sides), so the prospect of sharing a 2-bedroom condo with three adult cousins, one sister, and one baby cousin was really exciting rather than claustrophobia-inducing. I am unlucky in that migraine runs in both sides of the family (though it seems my cousins on my dad’s side have mostly escaped this particular health issue). Because of their relationship with me and because I am comfortable talking about my health with them, my relatives were really thoughtful regarding any potential triggers.  They bought gluten-free chips, remembering that (at least for a long while), I wasn’t eating gluten.  When we were trying to decide what games to play, I told them that the fluorescent lights above the dining table were a little too bright for me, and they switched them off without any comment or complaint (even though it got darker and harder to see the Scrabble tiles).  The next day, the fluorescent light wasn’t turned on at all, as everyone had remembered I wanted to avoid it.

The last night we were there, some of us were playing cards while others halfheartedly watched TV while checking Facebook (such is the family vacation in 2014!).  Things were peaceful, and I hadn’t had a migraine in days.  My family had kept an eye out on potential triggers and checked in with me at least twice a day just to gently ask how I was feeling. (I was happily surprised each and every time I got to tell them I was migraine-free!)  The Voice was on this last night, and my cousin turned the volume up. As you all probably well know, TV commercials are aired at a higher volume than the shows themselves.  So after hearing people sing, suddenly I was greeted with the barking of a car salesman, then the once-cute but now-annoying insurance company gecko, then some other louder-than-necessary ad.  If I were at home, I would’ve turned down the volume with the remote (as a rule, I mute the commercials, a lesson learned in childhood), but in this case I wasn’t in charge of the TV.

The TV noise was just on the verge of being annoying.  If I had a migraine, I would’ve dipped out and asked my cousin to turn it down. But I was migraine-free (though still noise-sensitive, which is par for the course with me). I really wanted to ask them to turn down the TV because it was annoying, but I felt I had reached my self-imposed cap on how many times I wanted to ask for people to change their behavior to suit me.

For those of you who, like me, are no longer (usually) shy about asking for accommodations, do you ever feel as if you are just tired of asking? That even though you no longer are too nervous or scared to ask for adjustments or accommodations, you just don’t want to feel as if you’re bothering anyone by asking for something else?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Teresa
    5 years ago

    The worst is when you just can’t say anything. I can no longer work due to my migraines, but I used to be a service advisor at a car dealership. I had a little glass office, and I sometimes had clients that would come in wearing WAY too much perfume. They would have to be in there for several minutes while I got their car service report wrote up, and then after they left, the smell would linger for hours. There was nothing I could do, because I could not say anything to the client.

  • Tim M
    5 years ago

    Yes, I do. I feel badly about having to ask the same people to accommodate me repeatedly, although they are usually willing. That’s especially true at work, where I’m often involved in team projects and I don’t want to hinder the team. If I can, I’ll step out and take the meds and then try to go back, or else just try to tough it out Sometimes I can’t and I’ll have to get back with them later.

  • rt@granite
    5 years ago

    Yes! Especially if the people you’ve been asking to accommodate you are so gracious and understanding. It gets to the point sometimes where it feels like our requests might almost be perceived as whining. I think that’s when you have to kind of step back and say, “Is my pride keeping me from expressing a legitimate need, or is this one of those things I can live with this time (and endure a little discomfort) for the sake of not always having the focus on me and MY needs. On the flip side, if I’m around strangers or someone who typically isn’t very understanding I probably won’t even ask. I’ll just do the best I can with my own comfort measures and remove myself from the environment as soon as possible if necessary.

  • 1h0erv
    5 years ago

    I’m especially shy to ask for accommodations from strangers. I can get pretty bad vertigo and other aura, which can make riding the subway a little difficult. I hate asking people to give me their seat, so sometimes I’ll just wait until the next train comes.

  • Tammy Rome
    5 years ago

    I don’t mind asking for accommodations from those who don’t know. It does bother me when close friends and family “forget” and then act put off or try to get me to “compromise”. I started carrying silicone ear plugs with me so I could dull loud noises before I ask anyone to turn it down. Same thing with strong odors — I put a little Vicks under my nose to mask the smell first. As for lights, I’ve taken to wearing my FL-41 tinted Rx glasses all the time.

    Nice post. Definitely an important topic!

  • grammayumyum
    5 years ago

    Unlike Janet, most of my family and some friends don’t “get” it. They turn the fluorescent lights on in my presence, saying, “Sorry, I need these lights now,” as if they have tolerated my needs long enough and now everything should be fine. Of course, it triggers a migraine, and they act like my migraine is a message telling them I was ungrateful for the time they spent without the fluorescents.

  • rhondagrensberg
    5 years ago

    I have suffered occassional severe migraines since I was at least 8. Although my doctor at the refused to diagnose as such until I was 13. Then only because he watched in helplessness as an attack was brought on by another patient who bathed so heavily in their cologne we smelled it through the closed door. I am used to people not thinking my migraine. I am just used my needs being ignored and just deal with it.

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