Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Always On The Edge

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be one step away from your entire life falling apart? Ever had to wonder if missing just one more day of work due to a migraine, would be the thing that ended your career? Have you ever wondered if missing those few hours here and there from work would mean the difference in paying your bills or losing something, possibly everything? Imagine all those thoughts at once, replaying themselves over in your mind every day. That is a very real part of living with chronic migraine.

Medical expenses

I often worry that my medical expenses or my medical condition will be “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Unfortunately, it’s not just the medical expenses themselves but all of the other things factor into them as well. These additional factors include the cost of the fuel used driving back and forth to appointments, the time lost sitting in a waiting room, the cost of the co-pay followed with the cost of prescriptions and finally the time lost at work, or the time lost at home when you could be resting or managing the household. I have felt at times like my medical debt would be something that caused resentment from my husband. But he has reminded me time and time again, that the vast majority of our debt has nothing to do with my medical condition.

Stress over credit card debt

Although he means well, my husband is a spender. It seems there is always something that lies just out of his reach financially. No sooner than the time it takes him to make a purchase that he has been focused on, something else always comes up. There is always something else that he is looking to acquire. In fact, the majority of our debt has been his doing. While he makes every effort to pay as much extra as possible on our credit based debt, what typically is the result is that he pays too much on credit cards; not leaving himself enough money to get through until the next payday. This creates a never ending cycle of having to use those same credit cards he intended to pay down, to make it through until his next payday. Ultimately, his once well-meaning wants have turned into several credit cards he/we would have been better off without. Unfortunately, now he can see it for himself. He sees that our debt is ever growing and difficult to manage. It affects his moods and his emotional state far more than he’d willingly admit.

The effects of a never-ending cycle

I believe the word most people would use to associate the worries or stressors we face to describe the myriad of emotions a person is feeling here is, hopelessness. Whether we say it to each other out loud or not, I worry that we both carry this feeling around with us each day. We both worry that between my medical expenses and his never ending need to buy things, we may never be able to rid ourselves of this debt. The simple idea of this can be a trigger for a migraine. I have witnessed its effects on both of us in ways such as irritability, anger, depression, exhaustion physically and mentally, and general fatigue overall.

Minor expenses can weigh on us

A typical weekend at home is usually very simple. There are usually dishes to clean and put away, a stack of laundry that needs to be folded and put away, and floors to clean. Beyond that, we spend our time at home cuddling together watching shows from the DVR. Once in a while, we will go out to lunch together, primarily as a reason to get out of the house. The problem is that even the minor expense of going out for lunch adds to the financial stress. As a result, my husband shows immediate signs of fatigue. Just this past weekend we had lunch at a restaurant not 12 miles from our home and the bill was relatively small. But the fatigue manifested itself in my husband almost immediately once we began driving home. A man who not five minutes before was bright eyed and bushy tailed, was swerving in traffic absolutely fighting a losing battle against falling asleep at the wheel right in the middle of the day. When we got home, all he talked about was how bad he wanted a nap.

Overwhelmed by it all

We fight the good fight each day but we both feel the effects of our financial position. From my husband’s end of things, he is overwhelmed with the debt he has created. On my end, I feel overwhelmed with the never ending slew of doctor appointments that seem to ultimately lead me nowhere. Each time, I go to the appointment with a positive attitude and a hope that the next doctor is finally going to make some type of breakthrough that leads to an end to my chronic migraine or at least lead to some type of relief from it.

This is what it feels like to live with chronic migraine. This is what it feels like to live my life, always on the edge… Are you faced with anything similar?

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


  • LindaS68
    3 months ago

    Your story sounds like I could have written it. I have had migraines since about the age of 5 (unsure of what age I was actually diagnosed), and I’m now 50. I have been chronic for at least the last 5 years. I lost my job due to missing too much work six months ago. At the moment, my adult daughter is paying all of the bills for the household, including the mortgage. She’s working 2 jobs and is near the point of exhaustion on a daily basis just keeping us afloat. I feel terribly guilty for not being able to pull my own weight.
    And I totally get what you feel about all the medical bills. I too have so many that I don’t open my mail. I thought I was the only one that did that! And the phone calls from the debt collectors. I don’t even answer the phone unless I recognize the number.
    I’ve finally decided to apply for disability. Between the migraines that have taken over my life and several other medical conditions, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect to return to work. But I’m so glad to be part of this community, where I know I’m not really alone.

  • sarahblankenship
    11 months ago

    I’m there with you. I have lost 3 social work jobs because of migraines. I’m on what I consider kind of my last chance. If I lose this one, I’m going to probably apply for disability. I don’t open my medical Bills anymore until I have some money to pay some. We just stack them up and see how many inches I have because adding up the total just causes me anxiety. I am the spender in our relationship, I am completely irresponsible with money, even though I am 41 and know better. It’s not that I want a lot of things, I just struggle to hold onto money. I buy things for my kids, our house, that sort of thing. I tend to spend a lot on things online that might help my migraines enough to function. Most is just snake oil, I feel like the collection of essential oils, ice caps, aromatherapy, massagers, pillows, supplements, and other junk probably equate the cost of a few semesters of college. 25+ years of chronic migraine and pain have made my world become very small.

  • cindyd
    2 years ago

    I am there right now. I am exhausted all of the time and am either recovering from a migraine, in the middle of one, or starting to get one. The medicine wreaks havoc on my gut and I just get so depressed.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    The never ending migraines definitely become exhausting and can get you depressed for sure. You have to try to stay positive for your own mental health. That’s why we are here, to remind you that you are worth it. Stay strong. Sending you lots of positivity
    Amanda Workman

  • jennamay74
    2 years ago

    I can completely relate to the debt stress and the overall fatigue that comes with it. I’ve been suffering with migraines since I was 12…it’s been 33 years. I’ve often lost jobs because of my health and it sets up this self fulfilling prophecy once my fear kicks in. What I find helps me most is staying present and practicing a deep knowing that both the migraine and financial debt are temporary. It’s also vital for me to remember that no one remembers you when you die as “that person who struggled with debt”. The shame our society puts on us is the fatiguing part if we allow it. I’ve decided not to allow that to be my reality. I didn’t ask for migraines or IBS or any of the other autoimmune diseases I have…it’s just more loving to accept and embrace what’s beautiful and divine within myself and others. But, it’s NOT EASY. And I completely get your journey. Big hugs to you and everyone here.

  • Piglet
    3 years ago

    Wow, Amanda, a lot going on there.I have been on the edge of early retirement for years now, mostly trying to hang in there despite chronic migraine for financial reasons, so I can really relate. Your husband’s need to spend in the face of mounting debt and increased stress on both of you seems like a problem he could use help with, and falling asleep after lunch sounds like he may have apnea (as we discovered with my son) and maybe not fatigue from worry. It may sound strange but untreated or incompletely treated apnea or another physical condition can lead to all manner of seemingly unrelated physical and psychological symptoms. It may be worth a look. Best of luck to you both. BTW I was hoping my migraines were due to apnea or another identifiable condition but unfortunately, no.

  • Tamara
    3 years ago

    My brother is like that too with money and it’s the reason he will probably never be able to have a house of his own. You could do what my mom did with his credit card after he put $400 on it the first weekend he had it. She actually froze it in a block of ice in the freezer until he paid it off.

    I have the same anxiety about money. But mine is because I bought my own house and have all those bills living alone but now with my migraines I am limited to part time work and now am $400 short each month to pay for the bare bones of living. No social life, no yoga (which I absolutely need so it’s now $500), car oil changes/repairs, savings, massages, acupuncture or any of those other items that help stress. My credit line is increasing and increasing and eventually will be full and then I had no plan.

    It has lead to me and my mom having to move together for the next bit, or long term. It has released a lot of stress for me. I hope you find your answer as well – it has released so much stress having a plan.

  • Poll