Is Migraine a Part of Us or Apart From Us?

How we choose to view migraine can impact how we manage the condition. In response to a recent call for prose on the topic of migraine on our site, a community member shared, in part:

“This uninvited... guest? Horrible roommate? Undesirable family member? Is it me?”

Migraine was an evil monster

The way I’ve viewed migraine has evolved greatly over the years. Initially, I saw it as an evil thing outside of myself. Something bent on disrupting my life. I spent a lot of energy feeling angry and defensive about this monster visiting me on a daily basis. “Why me?” What have I done to cause this thing to be so angry? It’s not fair! Not again! The pain was so intense that it felt like I was being attacked personally. The word for a migraine incident, after all, is “attack.” It feels like a personal and violent occurrence.

Eventually, I woke up to the fact that the amount of energy I was spending feeling outraged and angry at this faceless thing that was hurting me every day was hurting no one but me. Feeling that amount of emotional upheaval and anger was only draining my dwindling energy reserves further.

Looking for the lessons

I then chose to shift my viewpoint and see migraine as something which had lessons to teach me. I let go of the thought that “it” had ill will. I pictured migraine as a friend with whom I would link arms and walk through the day. “Oh, you’re here again today? Okay - let’s see what I can learn from you.”

Practicing acceptance, making peace with migraine, and letting go of the defensiveness and anger was a huge moment for me. It freed my energy to heal myself from the attacks, and I started feeling emotionally better overall - even if the frequency of attacks didn’t change. I realized that living with chronic migraine was deepening my sense of compassion. While my overall relationship count was fewer, the substance of those connections was far deeper and more meaningful. And the sense of gratitude and appreciation for the little things had grown by leaps and bounds.

Seeking logic in the mayhem

In recent years, as more research has surfaced showing that people with migraine produce a higher protein than others, I’ve shifted my view once again. I see my body as being different than others in the same way as people born with other health conditions have different bodies. I now embrace migraine as a complex neurological condition that I was born with. It’s part of who I am – I did nothing to deserve it – and I can’t do anything about the fact that I have it except how I manage and respond to it, which is huge. So I try to focus on the ways I can calm flare-ups when they come and avoid attacks altogether whenever possible. It gives me the sense that I have some semblance of power over a condition that I didn’t choose.

And this is where I am, 45 years into living with migraine. I’m certain to continue evolving in how I cohabitate with and think about this disease. In the comment section below, please share how you view migraine and how that view has changed throughout your journey.

We look forward to learning from you.

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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 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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