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How do you keep a job with having frequent migraines

Good morning, I am new to the community. I have been suffering from migraines since I was 11. They are mainly hormone related but can have many other triggers on top of that, so I usually have at least 1 or 2 migraines a month. I was wondering how people in th US manage to keep a job with having frequent migraines. A few years ago I moved to the US from Belgium, where the system is different and you can't just get fired or penalized as easily for missing days because of medical reasons. I have lost 2 jobs due to my migraines and the strains and stress of losing my job / penalties inflicted (dropping pay tiers for missing too many days) and I am wondering how people manage. I know some companies offer FMLA but that is usually only after a year of service. Some people have suggested I try getting on disability, but I feel that I am able to work most of the time, I am just not able to keep a job... Is anyone else in the same situation? Or does anyone have any suggestions for jobs or companies that would be fitting for migraine patients? Thank you!

  1. I have chronic migraines and usually can get through the day even with the pain. Of course, it's been 30+ years I've had them. If you have 1 or 2 a month and they appear to be hormonal - maybe you should visit a Dr to see if they can get you on hormone therapy to help? What if you found a job that's flexible? So long as you work a certain amount of time (maybe 40 hours) a week it doesn't matter how you get the hours in.

    Hope you find something. 😀

    1. Thank you Joleen! For personal reasons I prefer not to use hormone therapy. I am wondering what kinds of jobs are flexible enough for migraine patients?

  2. I have 15 to 20 migraine days a month that respond 'ok' to treatment, and I keep my job for three main reasons I think; 1, If I can drive I go to work, always be present. 2, Try and find a job that has deadlines further out on the calendar. In my work most of my projects are due in a few weeks to a couple of months so I have more opportunity to have good days at work. 3, Be willing to work late and weekends when you are getting stuff done to keep up. Not all the time of course, but some extra time and shown effort helps.
    On the sneaky front; when I have had a couple or few bad days and my boss asks me how X is going and I have no progress, I will tell a little white lie like how I started with the wrong data, but I should be totally able to still meet the deadline, for example. But dont over use the same excuse, or the same kind of excuse and never throw a coworker under the bus.

    1. Thank you Blancj8. I have many more days when I am "migrainous", more or less severely. I do go in even with milder migraines or whenever I can drive. Even with that, there are still usually 1 or 2 days a month I am totally incapable of driving or do anything. Good idea about trying to find a job that has longer deadlines or where I can make up time that I am missing! Thank you!

  3. Wow, that is sad. I appreciate your article. I lost my career due to chronic migraines. I had worked as a social worker/therapist for a community psychiatric facility. After twenty three years of service, I was pressure to retire with my disability pension, or get dismissed. Things sound much more ethical and open where you came from. I am sorry that this is happening to you. I have chronic migraines more than 20 days a month. I have not worked since 2009, I am afraid America is going down hill. I hope you will be able to find work that will accommodate your migraine disease. Don't give up. Keith

    1. Thank you very much Keith. I am so sorry you had to lose such a good job due to chronic migraines. I can only imagine how hard it must have been, especially since I'm sure you still felt like you could be valuable to the company. It is a sad situation indeed! Best wishes, Marie

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