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Seven personality types in smiley face bubbles represent the attack phases of migraine

Migraine and the Seven Dwarfs

When you have a migraine, you may notice you go through some or all of the phases of a migraine attack, like the prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome.

Or, on a lighter note, you might feel like Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs, alternating between seven personalities from the beginning to end of a migraine. Like the stages of a migraine, I may feel some or all of these characteristics, depending on the migraine.


Happy is described as a “perennially cheerful optimist,” and is always smiling.1 When I’m not experiencing a migraine attack, I definitely feel like an optimist. I like to see the glass half full, rather than half empty. That is, until a migraine strikes, and then I don’t feel so happy. I feel totally...grumpy.

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Grumpy is described as “crabby about everything” and that’s exactly how I feel when I have migraine pain.2 The house is too messy, the kids are fighting too much, the TV is too loud, the lights are too bright - it all makes me grumpy! Everything is too much and too intense!


Dopey is known for making silly comments and mixing up his words.3

When I have migraine pain, I can really relate to this one…words and phrases escape me and I feel dopey!


Although Doc’s “occupation” changed over the years, I still think of Doc as the doctor.4 It’s ironic when you hear about “practicing medicine” because I feel like that term is totally applicable to migraine. It’s trial and error, and what works one time might not work another time. People with migraines often go to a neurologist/headache specialist for a comprehensive treatment plan, but in the moment of a migraine attack, I feel like I’m my own doctor. I have to decide when to treat the migraine and then try to figure out what caused the attack.


When I have a migraine attack, I channel Bashful. I feel “shy” in the way that I don’t want to do anything or go anywhere. Until I feel better, I don’t want to leave my bed!


Sneezy is the Dwarf with a red nose, described as “always sneezing, or perhaps, about to sneeze."5 Occasionally, my migraine can be attributed to allergies. Did you know that migraine is much more common in people with allergies?6 Another reason to avoid that pollen. Sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, with a migraine to boot.


Known as the “perpetually drowsy dwarf,” Sleepy is always yawning.7 Before, during, and after a migraine attack, I am exhausted. I am definitely channeling Sleepy Dwarf here. All I want to do is sleep the pain away!

Which one are you? Do you feel like any (or all) of the 7 dwarfs when you have a migraine? Which one(s) do you relate to the most?

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.

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