Kristin Chenoweth holds a magic wand and water bottle.

Acting Around Migraine

For me, there’s nothing better than the art of performance. While other people may be petrified stiff with the thought of being up on a stage, or reciting memorized text to an audience or camera crew, I find a kind of energy that goes along with it.

Acting gives me energy

I’m kinda addicted.

Well. I mean. Sure, that phrase has an absolute boatload of negative connotations, but it’s sort of close to what I feel. Being able to perform and show off what I have inside, whether it’s a comedy, or drama, or sword fighting; gives me a rush of dopamine, like it’s my birthday every time the camera is on me. I actually often find that each lull between projects consists of trying to find ways to jump onto the next acting train with very little need to rest. Even if it’s in my best interest to take a break!

A celebrity with migraine

I was moderating on some posts the other day when I came across an individual who had mentioned that Kristin Chenoweth has been battling migraine since she was 25 and still manages to be a star of the stage and screen.

Being an actor with migraine

I’ve had migraine during shows.

Ohhhhhh yeah. There have been times where migraine reaches over my head and slams it into the proverbial wall at a very crucial time. A time when I need to focus. Shakespeare is not an easy feat and needs the utmost concentration. Migraine has no place in my head. I found a Huffington Post article interviewing Chenowith about her struggles with migraine and how she deals with it. So, I decided to read what she had to say.

Regarding migraine attacks…

“Chenoweth said that in those moments, she tries to take herself outside of the situation in order to mentally calm down. She calls on her faith and uses breathing exercises, which helps her manage the anxiety and panic that can accompany a migraine attack.

“Try your best not to give [the migraine] any more energy than it’s already going to consume from you,” she said.

Next, she advised doing everything you can to get away from bright lights and screens — even if it’s just for a few minutes. “I’ve gone off into the wings in shows and said ‘I’m sorry, I just need a second,’” Chenoweth said. “Sometimes even my own show has had a pause.”

During those pauses, she stays as hydrated as possible backstage. Chenoweth said “pounding water” helps her complete a performance by easing the migraine pain just a little.1

- HuffPost

Her experiences are relatable

For me at least, these personal tips were really encouraging. I mean somebody as popular and famous as she is, deals with the same things that I do. Sure her scale is WAY larger than mine, but it’s similar all the same. I have found that migraine has been seriously linked to hydration, at least for me personally.

Staying hydrated with migraine

I hide it everywhere.

A few years ago, I was in a show where I was more or less constantly on stage. I made my entrance stage right and made a quick exit stage left before returning about an hour into the show. I made efforts to hide water bottles on both sides of the stage. Just going to town on them any time I could slip off stage and take a swig. There’s no shame in trying to stay hydrated, even if it means hiding water bottles in secret places just to steal away and keep a migraine away!

If anything, it was really nice seeing that a professional actor fights the same fight as I do. She takes similar precautions and still fights through it. That really does give me hope that I, an actor just starting my own performance journey, can keep going despite the migraines.

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