A woman is hugging her legs and listening to her own thoughts.

How Listening To Myself Versus Others Helped Ease My Head Pain

My migraine attacks may have been happening in my own head, but for the longest time, I looked outside of myself for answers. Let me explain: Before I went to a migraine specialist, it seemed everyone I met like friends or that random lady in line next to me at Starbucks knew all there was to know about migraine. Clearly, this was a lot more than I did. The thing was, I listened to their advice before I listened to myself. And that turned out to not (always) be the best idea.

What good advice have I received?

I should point out there have been occasions when I’ve gotten some good advice from people. Like when a friend told me to keep my room as cool as possible when dealing with a full-on migraine. This strategy helped me feel slightly more comfy while lying in bed with a brain that felt like it was on fire. Or when my mom told me to ignore everyone else’s advice — that was good advice, too. But eventually, everyone’s input just confused me because I overthought which route might move me out of my head pain.

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Did other people really have the answers?

It seemed to me all these other people had the cause of my migraine attacks figured out: I should drink more water, exercise more, and above all stop drinking caffeine. So, I applied their advice without question. It had to work because these people had migraine long before me. My aunt said her migraine went away after she drank more water, and our next-door neighbor stopped when she cut out coffee. Obviously, these testimonials were proof that the answers were out there — with everyone else.

Did their advice work for my migraine?

So, I listened to the outside voices that told me to drink all the water and give up all my caffeinated beverages. But after peeing every 3.9 seconds, I wondered why my migraine hadn’t been flushed away. And then after giving up my favorite tea for weeks, I was perplexed as to why this new decaffeinated state didn’t chill my migraine out. I scolded myself when all the advice hadn't eased my pain or lessened the frequency of my migraine attacks each month. It must be my fault, because it worked for everyone else, right?

What did my body need?

Like everything else migraine-related, it took some trial and error to realize my head wasn’t like everyone else’s. What worked for all these other people wouldn’t always work for me. So, I started listening more to myself. My body and intuition became my first go-to, and I learned that my head actually liked caffeine, and drinking more water made no difference in how many migraine attacks I had a week or a month. These are all things that I could only discover by learning to listen to myself - and trusting that I had (some) of the answers to easing my head pain within me.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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