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Chronic Migraine’s Guilt

I moderate on Migraine.com as well as create these articles. Guilt over my chronic migraine is something that I have struggled with for so many years. There are definitely times when it overwhelms me so much more than other times. Although here lately during my moderation, so many individuals have mentioned their own feelings of guilt due to their chronic migraines.

Guilt defined

Guilt is definitely a strong feeling and one of those feelings that can weigh on us in many different ways. There is a very important addition to the basic definition of guilt in the dictionary. The definition starts by explaining that guilt is a feeling of remorse or responsibility from some kind of wrong or offense. Although it does not stop with that portion of the definition, it continues forward to explain that this wrong or offense could be real or imagined.

Chronic migraine guilt

I truly believe we fall into the category of people who feel guilty for an imagined offense. We did not ask to have these debilitating migraines and we did not go out in life and do something that gave us chronic migraines as a punishment for some wrongdoing on our part. Many of us do not even have a specific reason as to why we have these migraines because doctors are completely unable to figure out what is causing the chronic migraines.

Unavoidable impact on social life

I know one reason we feel guilt is because of the events that we occasionally have to miss. This is something we all take hard and personally. I have learned that I basically do not commit myself to attend functions. My husband and I will say that we will try to be there whenever the family plans a function. He also is a master at parking the car in a way that we do not get blocked in by other cars. This allows us to leave at anytime that I need to leave, regardless of what is going on. This helps because we do not have to go around asking whose car is the x because we need it moved. This took me a long time to get to this point but I realized I needed to do what is best for me. Trying to please everyone else added too much negative effects on my health. You have to take care of yourself above everything else.

Others feeling guilt

This guilt is not something that only people with health conditions feel. Even if we do not notice it, others in our lives may feel guilty that we are the ones who are battling the health conditions. Some of our loved ones feel guilty that we have the migraines and they do not bear some of that burden. Another major reason that others feel guilty is because they cannot fix us, especially when we are at our worse with an extremely bad migraine that will not go away.

I really hope this helps at least some of you who are dealing with all of this guilt that seems to be going around. Remember to focus on your health.

Do you struggle with guilt? Did this article help you any? How do you try to manage your guilt?

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.

Comments

  • jfillback
    2 months ago

    I, too, struggle with guilt when I am having a migraine attack. And most people have gotten good at seeing it on my face, at work or at home. My company deserves me at my best, giving 100% and there are so many days I sit at my desk, spacey and in pain, wondering why they are even paying me to be here as I feel I am wasting their money. And with my husband, he deserves a partner, a whole wife, not a broken one, and I hate when i’m in a migraine because my brain is broken. I struggle with my speech and making sense, I struggle to make dinner if I even can, I struggle with dishes, again if I even can. Sometimes, I hear sympathy and sometimes I hear disappointment in his voice to see me struggling and he says, “just go to bed”. I hate that. I love that he excuses me, but I hate that migraine wins over life sometimes.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    @jfillback, I struggle with guilt too. It sounds like you are doing the best you can with the circumstances as they are. My husband tries to understand, but he has mixed feelings about my disease because it affects him too. Its good to see that we are not alone in having these feelings. ~ Peggy (migraine.com team)

  • RainyDay
    2 months ago

    I struggle with feeling guilty for being sick ALL the time and ALL the time I am sick, I struggle with feeling guilty. It’s a vicious cycle. I am very blessed with an amazing husband who understands completely and always takes excellent care of me and a family that understands my situation and never intentionally makes me feel bad about it. However, I know that I am a burden to everyone around me and I feel so useless much of the time. My migraine never completely goes away, just like so many of the other sufferers on this site, and constantly stays at a 6 or 7 on the pain scale unless it ramps up to a 9 or 10, which happens an average of 5 days a week or more. Because I am constantly in the throes of a serious migraine or trying to recover from one, I never feel good. So, it is almost impossible for me to help out around the house or even go out to dinner or shopping. So, all of this falls on his shoulders and it’s simply not fair. I can see how much it is wearing him down and I know he is frustrated more than he used to be. I love my husband more than life itself and would never want to hurt him by asking too much of him or being so dependent on him. But, I don’t know what to do when I am so sick all the time. Guilt is definitely a HUGE part of my life since I seem to just be getting worse, not better with the passing of time, and I failed on all 3 of the new CGRPs, I don’t see any end to this feeling. I wish life was different, but I guess we chronic migraneurs just got “lucky” or we didn’t. ☹

  • ejcc
    2 months ago

    Giullt. Such a huge word. It effects everyone in my family mostly of my husband I have not been on vacation with my family in almost 5 years. How do I feel awful is it worth it to go be sick not worth it at all. My husband is my support but I know he is sick of hearing I don’t feel well I try to lay low be quiet and try not to cause any disruptions. My key mechanism is to avoid all social situations if possible take two cars or bring my own food there’s no guarantees that’s the hard part but I’ve excepted it and manage the best I know how

  • tracelet
    3 months ago

    This article is spot on, i feel guilty for canceling plans or not committing to them. Also when i cannot function at work and call in sick so much guilt. Migraines are so alienating, its a snowball effect, just easier to stay home by myself and therefore feel alone

  • janiekoher
    7 months ago

    This was such a timely article for me. I usually don’t get down in the dumps, but last weekend I had to cancel going to dinner with family.abd my 10 year old granddaughter had made a carrot cake from scratch, just for me. Then the next day I missed a dinner with life long friends. I have also been dwelling on the things I have been looking forward to in my retirement, volunteering etc. since I never know when I’ll have an ok day, I can’t commit to anything. My funk lasted about three days, then I just took a deep breath and moved on.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    7 months ago

    @janiekoher, migraine disease can leave many of us feeling down because our migraine attacks prevent us from doing things we want to do. Hopefully some of your friends and family can be flexible with you, so you can see each other later when you are feeling better. ~ Peggy (Migraine.com Team)

  • struggleIsReal
    8 months ago

    I always feel guilty if I can’t make it to work or go out with my SO. Last night we had weather that came through and I felt my head throbbing then. I got so exhausted I went to bed at 8:30 pm. I could barely make it out of bed this morning. I was so nauseous and my head was pounding! I was supposed to take ice cream to my employees today and I couldn’t. I just keep asking “why me? Why can’t I be normal and get up for work without feeling sick!” It’s been 9 years since my first migraine and they haven’t got any better. Right side of my body still goes numb and it just stinks. I’m hoping to try some newer migraine specific medicine in a few weeks but that all depends on insurance. I had to get off Topamax because it was ruining my life. I could not write or talk like I should. I love having that back, when I don’t have a migraine.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    8 months ago

    strugglesReal,
    I can relate to your feelings of guilt. It is hard to overcome. I try not to ask “why” questions because I know migraine is a complex neurological condition that I inherited. Since you have had migraine attacks for so long, maybe it’s time to see a headache specialist. There are also some good neurologists too. It sounds like you have plans to try new treatments. I hope you find a treatment to help manage this disease better. Let us know how things are going.
    ~ Peggy

  • 27r2vsk
    2 years ago

    I think there’s the guilt over not being able to do things, but also guilt over what’s causing them…like oh did you drink something or eat something you shouldn’t have? I hate that question. Sometimes you just get them it doesn’t have to be something I did to trigger it.

  • Holly Harding Baddour moderator
    2 years ago

    So true. There are multiple triggers that are out of our control (weather, hormones, moon cycle, etc). We can live in the most confined and careful manner and still they attacks will show themselves.

    And finally, even if we did live within every confine of all the triggers we CAN control (avoiding every food and drink trigger, all potentially bright locations, noisy places, always getting enough sleep, somehow attaining a total stress free life) all while managing a complex neurological disease–in a quiet, dark room, without any interaction with the outside world, what kind of life would that be?

    Releasing guilt in an attempt to embrace acceptance that we’re doing the best we can is a good goal for all of us. Glad you’re a part of our community! Stay in touch.

  • pennych
    2 years ago

    ”You have to take care of yourself above everything else” i totally agree with this comment however whenever i do this, the comments i get from others is that i should be working more or doing more and then get labelled as lazy or selfish.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I know those comments can be hard to ignore but after awhile, they will eventually stop. Sometimes you just have to inform people when they say things like that about why you cannot do whatever it is. A lot of people need to be educated on chronic migraines and how disabilating they can be. Stay strong and do what you need to do for your health.
    Amanda Workman (moderator and author)

  • jshullih
    2 years ago

    Wow! I thought I was the only one that did the parking thing. The guilt is unbearable some times. My granddaughters, 8 and 6, invite me to do things with them, but they always add, “If you don’t have a headache”. Sometimes i can’t stand the look in their eyes when they ask me if they need to get my “special medicine” (imitrex).

  • janiekoher
    7 months ago

    This is the real heart breaker for me, when my granddaughter asks how I’m doing. She instinctively knows when to turn down the volume or ask if I need to lay down. I wish I wasn’t the sick grandma.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I used to push myself beyond my limits trying to please everyone and all it did was hurt me. Again, it sounds like your family needs to be educated. Kind of a reversed intervention. I flat got ugly with my family with my husbands assistance. You definitely shouldn’t be judged when you cannot control your migraines. I’m sorry they are not understanding or supporting. Sending you lots of love and strength
    Amanda Workman (moderator and author)

  • Joanne
    2 years ago

    I have been feeling because I am told this almost every Sunday, that I just need to ask God to heal me. I have to believe it for it to happen. I have been asking Goid to heal me since I was in elementary school. While I am better, mostly due to medication, I am not healed. I have asked am I doing something wrong???? I get either the same answer or ” not everyone gets a miracle”. Those closest to me understand. However, I still feel somehow, I need to explain it to others

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