A Sister’s Perspective

I made a list of several questions and put my sister to the task of honestly answering them. Some of you may see some of her points come off as harsh, but the key to remember is this is her opinion based on her thoughts about my life living with chronic migraine. While I may not agree completely with her viewpoint on everything, it is still her opinion to have and most likely she is not the only family member of somebody with chronic migraine who shares similar opinions on the questions asked here.

What is the hardest part about watching a family member deal with chronic migraine?

The hardest part of watching my sister deal with chronic migraine is the inability to help or make a difference in her day to day life.

Do you think chronic migraine has changed her?

I absolutely believe having chronic migraine has changed her. It has changed her ability to make plans; therefore it has caused her to be less social and extremely withdrawn from family and friends.

How does it affect your relationship with one another?

Chronic migraine has caused an invisible barrier where making plans to spend time together or do activities is pretty much impossible.

Do you think it has affected the dynamic of your relationship as sisters?

Yes chronic migraine has affected the dynamic of our relationship by causing her to think I don’t believe her pain is real.

Do you think it has affected the dynamic of her relationship with other family?

Yes chronic migraine has affected the dynamic of her relationship with other family members because the energy and drive to be part of family affairs is nonexistent, which causes her to be extremely withdrawn.

Do you think it has affected the dynamic of her relationship with their spouse?

One would assume that chronic migraine would affect the dynamic of her relationship with her husband; however my sister’s spousal relationship is none of my business unless it becomes abusive in some way, shape or form.

Is there anything you wish you could make her understand or tell her?

I wish she would understand that we all have pains that we have to deal with and that nobody’s life is perfect. Sometimes you have to suck it up and work through the pain. However it doesn’t mean that those around you don’t understand or care.

My response

As I mentioned in the introductions, I do not completely agree with all of her comments. I find her thoughts on my need to “suck it up and work through the pain” to be beyond naive on her part. While dealing with chronic migraine, I was able to complete two separate Bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s degree while working full-time. I currently still work more than 40 hour weeks. My household involves my husband, myself, two dogs, and occasionally up to four children/teenagers. The innate problem with much of my family is their inability to understand that I push through my pain every single day to attend my job, drive about 40 miles each way to and from that job, and to maintain my household responsibilities. Once all of that is said and done, I do not have much left in me to push through for hours more of family time. My relationship with my husband is perfectly fine because he has episodic migraine which gives him a concept of the challenges I face in functioning with a migraine every day. Sadly I have the strong feeling that some individuals will truly never understand the challenges and pain that are faced by those with chronic migraine unless they endure a true migraine themselves.

Do you have family that think the same way?

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