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Do you work with migraines? Share your experience here!

Some people living with migraine are able to work full-time, some part-time, and others are not able to sustain stable employment due to the impact migraine has on their life. If you would like to, please feel free to share your experiences working with migraine in this thread here.

Some topics you might consider writing about could be:

* How do you cope with a migraine at work?
* Accommodations at work. Have you asked for them in the past? What was that like?
* Facing stigma of migraines at work.
* Experiences with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or taking sick time.
* Coping with unemployment, searching for a job after losing your job due to migraine
* Anything else you feel relates to work and migraine!

I look forward to reading your responses, and hearing what you have to contribute to the conversation. Thank you for your time and attention. Please know that you are valued here in our community.

- Cody (Team Member)

  1. Hello! I am a 45 year old female that has suffered migraines my whole life. I remember being a child, crumpled on the floor, in so much pain, and I didn't know what it was. Decades later, I still find myself crumpled on the floor, way more informed, but unable to stop that freight train. I've worked since I was 10 years old. Full-time since I was 18. I've been a mom, also, since the age of 18. I have three children now and am a single mom. A lot of responsibility. Not a lot of time for migraines. This week alone I've had two migraines. I've ran across people that are very understanding, and I've worked with people that roll their eyes because they've never even had a headaches. I envy them. I want that!!! Mostly because on the days that I do not have a migraine, I have a headache. I've been to many dr.'s, neurologists, chiropractors, and even acupuncturists over the years and have tried a myriad of medications and naturals remedies including supplements and even essential oils...but alas I suffer. So, I have accepted my fate I suppose. I have been on the receiving end of write ups, faced near being fired, been laughed at, dragged into the managers offices, talked to, threatened, and faced so much ridicule by people that do not know what it is to have a migraine. Once, I even had a co-worker, a "friend", yell at me saying "go home and get a "migraine", no one wants you here, just go and get "another migraine"". She repeated this, loudly, embarrassing me, in front of my co-workers. A few weeks later she ended up in the ER with her very first migraine of her life (in her 50's) and came to me apologizing over and over. Wanting my forgiveness. Saying she couldn't believe I live like that. Wondering how I go on day in and day out. I did not forgive her. How could I? I have a medical condition but because I don't bleed or I am not cut or because it does not show in some gruesome way, people cannot understand it. So, I suffer alone and I think that is the 3rd hardest part of migraines. The 1st is the migraine, the 2nd hardest part is to keep going............................

    1. Thank you so much for sharing what you have been living with. As somebody who has worked full-time with chronic migraine, I understand where you find yourself. I have faced people who assumed they knew what worked for migraines because they had hangovers and others who had no sympathy whatsoever.
      I am sending lots of love and prayers your way. It is not easy being a single momma when you're healthy, much less with a chronic condition. I hope you know what you do is awesome and I look up to you for it. - Amanda W (team member)

    2. Hi keyana I am a migraine sufferer so I know how debilitating they are and like you many friends just haven't a clue of what we go through, but I urge to to accept that coworkers apology! as she now knows what it has been like for you all along with her now in the same boat! andfor your own sake as well believe me life is too short I've discovered some things that are the culprits in my own case and it's in the food! certain additives & msg,s & tryamine, and unfortunately there are so many things we eat that some of these are in, also strong odours/ smells can trigger mine & and stress & all of it so hard to manage I noticed I had been taking more and more of my prescription tablets for my migraines had increased greatly this last couple of years and because I am on sumatriptan I am 99% sure this has caused my hair thinning and now I'm dealing with anxiety;because of my hair loss it's tuff I left work end of 2022 as I can't cope but I'm going to try to get well again! however the only thing that helps with the migraine s for me has been and is sumatriptan so it's going to be difficult but I'm trying to be possitive and my doc has put my name down for acua puncture but with the NHS Chris I don't know if or when I'll get that help and it may or may not work but anything is worth a try otherwise a normal life is out the window ! take care and all the best I hope you find answers that will truly help you and all our fellow sufferers 🙏

  2. Hi Cody! I'm 47 and am new to the migraine scene. They're not exactly migraines per se. I have chronic cluster headaches with overlay migraines now and again. Before about 3 years ago I never had a headache a day in my life. So like most people that don't understand, I didn't get it. They started creeping up on me about the same time I started noticing some change of life symptoms. Well I've had the same job for 12 years and you would think it would be easy to talk to them about this kind of stuff. I mean I know everyone. My office is right across the hall from HR. Turns out you don't know what kind of company you're working for until you start talking to them about medical issues.
    I'm not asking for anything large or anything that would be unreasonable or even cost anything. Just please let me keep those bright florescent lights off in my office. They are one of my main triggers for the headaches and migraines. This company has been putting me through the ringer for the last year over these stupid lights. I'm now heading down the medical accomodation paperwork (which I just filled out and turned in), FMLA, EEOC, and legal representation road.
    We'll see how all this turns out. Definitely a lot of misunderstanding and just plain brush offs on migraines in the workplace!

    1. Hi - Thanks for posting and contributing to the conversation. I'm glad that you did! I hear you 100% about the fluorescent lights. They are a trigger for me as well, and I find them borderline unbearable when I need to work in a space that has them.

      I don't think requesting to turn the fluorescent lights off in your office sounds unreasonable...nor does it sound like it causes any particular hardship on your employer. Fingers crossed that they will allow you to keep the lights off after you complete your accommodation paperwork.

      You deserve to be heard, and your concerns are valid. I commend you for standing up for yourself and getting the accommodations that you need in order to succeed at your job.

      Wishing you well,
      - Cody (Team Member)

    2. I am so sorry that your employer is being unreasonable about the lights. I have a story similar to what Holly said. When I was working in an office, I also had issues with the overhead lights. We eventually had to unscrew them and place a note asking maintenance not to replace them. I also brought in lamps from home with the type of light bulbs I wanted. I hope you can eventually do something similar at work.
      Over the years, I have also found that TheraSpecs are very helpful when dealing with lights. I even use them at home for my writing because the difference is significant. These may be something worth looking into for you as well.
      I hope everything gets better for you soon. Stay strong! - Amanda W (team member)

  3. TheraSpecs? I'll have to look those up. Thank you so much, everyone, for the support! This is the first positive I've received in years. I really appreciate the suggestions and we'll wishes. Hoping everyone had a headache free day!

    1. Yes, TheraSpecs have been life changing for many of us! I use a pair for outdoor wear and find them very helpful. Here is some more information on them and other glasses that help with light sensitivity;
      Keep us posted on how you make out! Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Team

  4. I'm on disability, my last job was as an alarm specialist for a security comp. It would be excruciating to hear the alarms in the background. At that time, my then neurologist was using different meds to see what would work. I kept my supervisors up to date on my status. One night, my took my rescue med and fell asleep talking with a client who recorded my snores, end of job🌹

    1. Thanks for posting and sharing your experience with us, . Working as an alarm specialist who lives with migraine must have been such a difficult experience, and it sounds like you were trying everything you could with your neurologist. I am also sorry to hear that you lost your job. It sounds like you were really struggling the day that you fell asleep talking with a client and that you desperately needed some rest. Warmly, - Cody (Team Member)

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