Drop Your Weapons at the Door: A Call for Compassion at Migraine.com

I recently posted an article about how walking is therapeutic for me in dealing with my migraine disease. One of our community members responded: “A WALK? I cannot relate. My Migraine is so overwhelming, I am on the floor screaming in pain.”  In response to her comment, another community member said: “How can you SCREAM when you have a migraine??”

That exchange and others like it – seem to demonstrate an unfortunate and unnecessary defensiveness and need for one upping one another and/or questioning the nature of each other’s situations. It also got me thinking about the function of Migraine.com and the dynamics of how society continues to disbelieve the challenges related to migraine in general.

Shelter from the storm

I like to think of Migraine.com as a place of respite and shelter from the storm. That storm being society’s symbolic and relentless judgment and lack of understanding of all things migraine. Maneuvering through the world with migraine disease can mean a life of encountering people rolling their eyes in disbelief, being written off as being a lazy faker or someone who wants attention, and on and on. The journey involved in enlightening the world from seeing migraine as “just a headache” to understanding that it is a comprehensive neurological disease will be long in coming and is a ways off.

In the meantime, we need a safe place where we can all come to share the struggles we are facing out in that cold and judgy world- where we will feel supported and embraced.

Battle weary

The reality, however, is that many community members who come visit this site are almost like soldiers coming home from war. Still holding tightly to the armor they have been wearing all day out in that real world, they’ve been poked and prodded with questions and felt attacked over the validity of the disease. They are wary and defensive for good reason.

Perhaps when they read an article on the site, they experience a bit of PTSD from all of the hardships they’ve been facing when dealing with unsupportive friends and family members. And ironically, in response, they use the same weapons that are used against them, on other community members. They question the validity of the condition and employ the ‘mine’s worse than yours’ tactic which leaves us all feeling unheard. Effective weapons that hurt.

Really, we should be dropping those weapons when we walk in the symbolic door of Migraine.com. Because this is the place where we can feel relief and acceptance. We don’t have to fight here or prove that we’re in pain or argue that one person’s pain is worse than another.

It makes all the sense in the world why this is happening and that this dynamic is taking place. We are a battle-weary group. And no wonder we are using the same pains we’ve experienced to hurt one another. But how about we at least try to recognize that weapons aren’t needed here. Let’s try instead to open our arms to one another and give the compassion that we WISH we were receiving in the real world to each other.

Leading the way to compassion

Perhaps when we do so, we will demonstrate to others how it’s done and a ripple effect will take place. Maybe we will receive it in return. And getting support will serve to strengthen us as we head back out into a world that needs to catch up with the rest of us. Hopefully, if we will start leading the way, the world will follow.

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