The unsolicited advice we migraineurs get
Have you tried…?
My cousin had migraines forever and then stopped eating _____ and she’s fine now. Can you do that
What if you try such-and-such medication?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a migraineur out there who hasn’t been hit with an onslaught of heartfelt but unsolicited (and often unneeded) advice the moment he/she mentions migraine to anyone. Now that Facebook and other social media are a part of our everyday lives, the chances for being inundated with all sorts of health tips have skyrocketed.
I’ve talked with migraine patients whose reactions really run the gamut. Some folks don’t mind the advice at all—they even get some new treatment ideas from others’ input. Other migraineurs are irate when Joe Schmo starts to explain so-called “cures” for migraine. Many of us try to remain polite while wanting to scream, “Do you actually think I haven’t tried that yet?” Any one migraineur’s reactions can vary dramatically depending on how well he/she is feeling that day and/or what his/her level of stress is.
It is, of course, important to remember that the vast majority of commenters are coming from a loving, positive place. They really want you to feel better and so offer any tidbits of wisdom, however misguided, they can come up with. (There is a very small but very outspoken minority of people in the online world who are bitter and angry and may not be coming from this positive place, but let’s just agree that those folks can be ignored, as engaging with them isn’t usually very productive.)
In my experience, there are a few different categories of advice-givers. There are the people who have never had a migraine (and who don’t have a close friend or family member with the disease), and they can’t begin to understand what it’s like to live day to day with migraine. There are the folks who used to have migraines all the time but had an amazing breakthrough with a particular type of treatment and want to share their success with others. Of course we must also acknowledge those who—whether or not they are close to someone with migraine disease—act as if migraine attacks are just bad headaches. We vent about that last type a lot on here.
But back to the topic at hand: how do you deal with people who dish out advice you never asked for? What types of advice are most helpful, and what types are most annoying to you? Have you stopped sharing how you feel for fear of others’ reactions (good or bad)?
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