What’s your story?
When my patients talk about their health and their life, it’s interesting to hear their focus. Some tell me about their jobs, some their kids, some their love of garage sales, some about what happened to them 10 years ago. What I’ve learned from my patients is that we talk about those things that we value. We identify ourselves and connect with others through our story.
So what’s my story? If you and I just met I would first tell you about my amazing wife and two (soon to be three) kids who make my heart smile every day. They are what I truly value most. And then I would tell you about what I do. I am a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Behavioral Medicine at Mercy Clinic Headache Center and Mercy Health Research in St Louis, MO as well as directing research for Mercy Health system. I also get the chance to serve in various roles within the American Headache Society and am Vice Chair of the American Headache and Migraine Association.
And if you asked me why I have a passion for those with migraine? I’ve always had a passion for helping those in pain. When I started my formal training, I realized that migraine was the quintessential disease where genes, biology, behavior, and life interact. The patients with migraine I encountered taught me migraine is so much more than “just a headache”. My patients fascinated me and I found myself thinking about what I could do to help them find ways to manage this disease and help them take back their lives. It’s what got me interested in researching migraine. It’s why I remind myself and my colleagues that we are treating a person with migraine, not just the disease of migraine. Ultimately, I want to meet you where you are in order to help you get where you want to be.
And it’s what led me to seek out the editors at migraine.com and talk with them about becoming a contributor to this great site. I want to give you a perspective from a psychologist that you might find useful to helping you get the knowledge and skills you need to help you manage your migraines rather than your migraines managing you.
Many of my patients ask me about my approach as a doctor, that is, how I see my role. I see my role in many ways as that of a coach. I take the experience and expertise I have gained from my years interacting with other professional and patient experts and use that to educate and equip patients to manage migraine. My hope is that the ideas and issues I discuss will be ones that you find relevant to your own situation.
Will you always agree with or like what I have to say? I sure hope not, because if everyone always agrees then that means I’m not saying anything worth thinking about. What I hope is that my contributions help you think about how you can best actively manage own your migraines.
Each of you came to this site having your own story of migraine. And although the title of that story involves migraine for all of you, your story is unique and has details that are unmatched by anyone else. And I look to learn from each of you, because it is through listening to my patients that I become a better doctor.
Oh and by the way…many within my family, including me have migraine. It is part of my story just as it is yours.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?