Good Migraine Citizenship

Online support groups can be a life-saver for many with migraine who are too sick to socialize any other way. Having the support of others who understand what you are going through is priceless. I’ve participated in several of these groups for over the past decade. Sometimes the experience has been helpful. At other times I have been greatly disappointed.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that having a migraine diagnosis does not exempt us from being human. Our support groups are vulnerable to the same challenges as any group of people. We can be a source of uplifting encouragement to each other. We can also be petty, small-minded, and territorial.

It hurts everyone when we are ugly to each other.

  • We all know that migraine can present in an infinite number of ways, yet we insist on challenging the veracity of each other’s experiences.
  • We also know that no one treatment works equally well for everyone, yet we insist on shoving our preferred treatment down the unsuspecting throats of strangers.
  • We get so excited about our own success that we ignore the posting rules of individual communities.
  • Instead of working together, we’ve separated ourselves in to cliques, creating an “us vs. them” attitude toward our fellow patients.

Why in the world would we ever let our differences become so big that we break into divided factions? Our differences should never be greater than the cause that unites us.

We can do better.

We’re all facing this disease together. As difficult as it is sometimes, we need to remember what brought us together in the first place. We felt isolated and misunderstood -- desperate for answers to a problem few people even take seriously. Let's not let our differences divide us.

The next time you are tempted to accuse someone of “not really having migraine” or have the urge to share your “miracle” unsolicited, stop and think how you might feel if the same were directed at you.

Be accepting, gracious, and empathetic.

Treat other people as you want to be treated.

We’re all human and words really can break us.

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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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