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Detour Ahead: Career Paths Obstructed by Migraine

Detour Ahead: Career Paths Obstructed by Migraine

Some people can successfully manage their migraine triggers at work through careful planning and accommodations. Fragrance free policies, a quiet workspace, frequent breaks, and ergonomic furniture are just some factors that can make a workplace more migraine friendly. And maybe, if you’ve had severe migraines your whole life, it has factored into your career planning.

For others, migraine is more unpredictable, and no number of accommodations can forge a truce between their chosen work and declining health. Some jobs are just inherently loud, stinky, bright, and stressful (cleaning, sales, customer service, food service, office work, construction, PARENTING…the list goes on). Sometimes, if our attacks are frequent and severe, we can’t do our jobs no matter how hard we try, and this takes a toll on more than just our bank accounts.

Never having a plan b

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a music teacher. I poured my whole heart and soul into this dream, and never worried about a plan b. That all changed with the onset of chronic migraine in my late 20s. From full-time sick leave, to part-time sick leave, to part-time teaching/part-time freelancing, my career has taken quite a few unexpected turns due to chronic migraine.

Feeling betrayed by your own body

Some people might say, Big whoop! People change careers all the time! They lose their jobs, or move with their partner, or decide to try something new and they find a new way, because they must! And that’s all true: this experience is not unique to people living with chronic pain or illness. But perhaps the kicker of losing a career to pain is that our options are not limited by external forces, but by our own bodies. This can feel like a betrayal; a trap; not to mention an injustice. It’s hard to come to terms with a change in abilities, especially years before we ever imagined we might have to grapple with such changes.

So what do we do when migraine thwarts our career path and we’re stuck at what seems like a dead end, grieving the path that used to be free and clear? We get creative. We dig deep to find out what else is out there for us. Sometimes we have to start over, and sometimes we need to reach out for support in every way possible.

Finding viable options

I’ve been beyond fortunate to have good financial and emotional support throughout my journey with migraine. I don’t know where I’d be without it. Possibly, I’d be in as much pain, and just as disabled as I was two years ago before I gained access to many helpful treatment options. Instead, I was able to take some time to redirect my skills without landing in the red. Some people have to find viable options much faster, or push through the pain without the time or energy to invest in alternatives.

Navigating through the stigma

Many things work against us in this process. Aside from pain and disability, we must grapple with social stigma. We must stay strong and true to ourselves when others disbelieve us. We must also navigate the sometimes shocking ignorance of some doctors due to a lack of education, reverence, concern, and recognition surrounding the very real disability caused by migraine the world over. That’s why it is so important that we find compassionate, knowledgeable specialists with the determination of a raccoon on a compost bin, but it also sometimes means that we are delayed in getting proper medical documentation, requesting accommodations, or acquiring necessary government supports.

Reevaluating transferable skills

Another thing that works against many of us – perhaps especially if we graduated high school before the turn of the century – is that we have usually prepared to do a single kind of job. Whether we trained for a trade, service, or went onto post-secondary education, we were often told to focus on a particular profession and stick with it!

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I want to be a _________________________.

Never was I asked “what kind of environment do you see yourself in, and what kind of tasks might you enjoy?” let alone the question “what transferable skills can help you transition to other career paths if your circumstances should change?”

Education boards and guidance departments are slowly catching up to the current reality that careers, in general, are more precarious and dynamic than ever. Boomers have often stuck with one career their entire lives¹, whereas today the average U.S. worker stays at a single job for only four years at a time².

The cons of this shifting paradigm are many. As any Marxist will tell you, more precarious employment means the unraveling of labor gains made over the past century, and a step backward toward unfair wages, less job security, and fewer medical benefits. This is not good news for us folk with migraine. However, there is one aspect of the shifting world of work that we can use to our advantage, and that is its flexibility.

Looking online for job opportunities

For some, popular, user-friendly online selling platforms have allowed us to craft our own original products from home and sell all over the globe. A strong online workforce has opened up opportunities for freelance writing, editing, translating, and teaching that can also be done from the comfort of our couch. We can also connect with and learn from online communities (such as this one) of people with disability who are finding creative ways to sustain themselves.

These opportunities have helped me to to dig out and dust off skills I hadn’t thought about since high school, and in the process, I have learned a lot about myself: specifically my capacity for change, growth and resilience. But despite some personal triumphs and silver linings over the past few years, there is a part of me that just can’t let go of what could have been. I might never teach music again, and although a life that is not immersed in music is a tough prospect to swallow, I’m grateful for a world in which I can learn forge my own way again with tools I forgot I had.

As hard as it can be to start over, if we can’t make a career work for us, it’s time to reach out for all supports available and uncover a new path.

How as migraine affected your career? How have you learned to accept your new limitations or steer yourself in a new direction?

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.

  1. NUMBER OF JOBS HELD, LABOR MARKET ACTIVITY, AND EARNINGS GROWTH AMONG THE YOUNGEST BABY BOOMERS: RESULTS FROM A LONGITUDINAL SURVEY. 2015. Available at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf. Accessed 2016.
  1. Job Hopping Is the 'New Normal' for Millennials . Forbes 2012. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/08/14/job-hopping-is-the-new-normal-for-millennials-three-ways-to-prevent-a-human-resource-nightmare/#2715e4857a0b2ab10c145508. Accessed 2016.

Comments

  • RBarker
    2 years ago

    I’m 23 & suffered from migraines since I was 6. It was finally diagnosed chronic migraines at 11, when I finally went to a headache specialist. 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic daily headache also. I take 3 types of preventatives (insurance doeant cover botox anymore). I take norco or fioricet as abortives that rarely work with 1 dose.
    I have had job trouble because of my migraines I get frustrated easily or I get vertigo, tunnel vision, aphasia, even stroke symptoms & my bosses/coworkers didn’t like that.
    I was working at an ambulance service (I know, bad choice) & got a nasty migraine that hit hard & fast. I requested to not do the run I was assigned 40 mins before I got off so I could finish paperwork & go home. That transport got sent to another service, so I got fired. I love EMS, but I HAVE to find something different. I also have an early childhood/elementary ed degree & license, but I know that’s awful for migraines too. What do other people do when working a normal job is too much???

  • MargoW
    3 years ago

    I’ve had chronic migraines for more than 30 years. Every year they get worse and I’m left with headache specialists who throw up their hands and give up. I’ve had several careers but now that my migraines are daily, sometimes lasting up to 4 days at a time, I’ve lost my job and I’m fighting for disability benefits. I hate my life and don’t see any reason for living like this anymore. Then I look at my 21 year old daughter who not only has chronic migraines but encephalitis headaches too and it gives me the strength to hold on for her sake. She lost out on her high school years, all of her friends abandoned her, and she will never be able to work and be independent.

    This just goes to show that there’s always someone who has it worse than you, but it doesn’t help with the financial aspects of not being able to work. I feel like a failure and that I’ve let my family down. My parents are just now becoming somewhat understanding when I have to cancel plans last minute and how much the weather hurts me.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi MargoW, we’re glad that you’re here. Please know that you’re not alone and that you’re always welcome here, or on our Facebook page, when you need support.

    I thought you might be interested in reading Yes, Migraine IS a Disability, and also Disability Income Preparation Guide for help with your claim.

    We’re sending you good wishes, and increased understanding from your family. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • BethBlue
    3 years ago

    I haven’t worked in ten years. I started as a lawyer; I switched careers and worked as a teacher. Then I had to give it all up because you can’t stand in front of a classroom when you’re nauseated and your head is splitting wide open. I couldn’t even substitute: Accepting an assignment the night before and then waking up the next morning only to discover that I was sick was unacceptable. Now, I’m waiting for my disability appeal to come up. I haven’t been able to find anything to do part-time. Honestly, I hate my life. HATE. What a complete waste of a brain.

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    Hi Beth,
    I was thinking about substituting but I think I will face the same issue of my health being too unpredictable. Not as if you can call a supply for the supply?? I’m sorry to hear you’re in a bad place right now. It can be really hard to feel a strong sense of purpose when we can’t work. I try to remind myself every day that my paid work is not my value. My value lies in my existence, period, and my level of disability does not affect that. I hope you can find some good supports on this site and elsewhere. Wishing you all the best.

  • katsock
    3 years ago

    It was requested that I take short term disability to get myself under control. Not sure how that was going to happen. My doctor realized I was not ready so he wanted to move me to long term disability and my office demanded I come back. I explained that he was extending my disability and they said if you are refusing to come back to work we are terminating your employment. I think somewhere in there I could sue for cause but the hassle and expense is not worth it to me. I have found a great company and I work from home. No I am not making as much as I did before but I am in my home and I can control my environment. Does that take away all of my triggers NO (not by a long shot) but perfumes, strong smells, lighting, etc,etc, etc, that I had no control over are gone and I will deal with the trade off for now. Maybe I will be able to go back into the work force one day but for now I am glad that I have found a solution.

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    So glad to hear you have found a solution for now. It sounds like we’re in a very similar boat. Sorry that your employer wasn’t more understanding. Their process sounds totally unethical!

  • Macbeck
    3 years ago

    My 20 1/2 years as a nurse came to an end on January 18, 2016. I’ve had migraines for about 30 years – or has it been most of my life?? I’m leaning toward the latter, but that part is not necessarily relevant here, sorry. Long gone are the days when I could simply take a couple regular-strength Acetaminophen & lay down for a half-hour and be fine. I started Botox injections a few years ago and it still works for the painful migraines.
    The problem with migraines is that they tend to progress. I had my first Vestibular migraine in 2002 and didn’t realize they had continued ever since. In the past little over a year I’ve had a drastic increase in both Vestibular and Optical migraines. For those who may not be familiar with these, they cause problems with balance and eyesight respectively. Sometimes the world doesn’t move on quite the same plane as I do, sometimes it’s full-blown vertigo; the optical migraines affect (drum-roll not needed) my vision – sometimes my eyes don’t focus at the same distance, sometimes one eye or the other (more often the left) sees double. All of the above make it dangerous to drive a vehicle and, as a household of one, difficult to get to work in the next town.
    Thankfully my work was able to provide the versatility that I required for quite some time and I pushed myself to continue working when I should have stopped at least a year ago. Again, I am a household of one, and as a single mom the majority of my adult life there was no opportunity for savings, especially when the medical bills started pouring in for the expensive imaging and consultations, and the Botox which is only partially covered by insurance.
    There is a relief in being done with work. There’s no more pressure that I HAVE to make it somewhere Every Single Day. I’m on medicaid now and the application has been submitted for SSDI. While I have no idea what my co-pay may be for Botox, I do qualify for free rides to my medical appointments. Don’t get me wrong, I have wonderful friends and neighbors who give me rides pretty much anytime I need one. But not feeling safe driving further than around my little town (about 6 miles round-trip if I go to the far end) I really feel the loss of independence. So the rides to medical appointments is kind-of a big thing for me. Some of you know first hand what I mean, others are trying to understand, and a few are scratching your head.
    I feel like I’ve gotten off track – nothing new lately and another reason I’m no longer working. And the vast majority of those reading this wouldn’t believe how long it has taken to write this…

  • Meaghan Coneys moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Macbeck – Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience with us here at Migraine.com. We are so happy you are a part of our community and we are grateful that you so honestly share your experience with us. I am happy to hear Botox has provided you with some relief and it also sounds like you have loving, caring, and wonderful people around you who support you. I do think having people around us who support, understand, and care makes a world of difference when it comes to managing our migraine attacks. The following article touches on that, and I thought you would be interested in it – https://migraine.com/blog/the-support-of-friends-and-family/. Again, thank you for your comment. We love hearing from you! Wishing you all the best today. Warmly, Meaghan (Migraine.com Team)

  • rebecca
    3 years ago

    I have a full-time job that I enjoy. It’s challenging, and there are some really long days. One day a week I work eleven hours, and I’m pretty much guaranteed a migraine by the time I get home from that. But I can’t afford to lose my job, so I push through my work week and collapse when I get home and on the weekends. Even with that, I take more sick days than I like, but some days I just can’t get out of bed.

    I spend my work day at a computer, which isn’t great, but I just switched to contacts so now I can see more clearly and the computer screen causes less eyestrain than it used to.

    Mostly I manage to cope at work and then I come home and fall apart. It’s not ideal but it has to do, for now.

  • pvardy
    3 years ago

    I’m early in the disability phase.
    At 46 and a family physician, I am having difficulty maintaining an office with all the unpredictability of my migraines. The past 6 months have been much worse than previously experienced… 2-3 per week (sometimes daily) instead of 2-3 per month. The constant rescheduling is unacceptable. The brain fog makes me unsafe when I “push through”. Sometimes even when I don’t have pain, the hangover afterward makes me unable to process things I read (like test results).
    My family members were concerned I wouldn’t make it through med school and internship due to my migraines (started at 15). Although it wasn’t without challenges, migraines usually occurred after the stress was relieved, so I crashed after the exam, the night on call, etc.
    I’m in the process of trying to find a replacement for myself so I can take 4 months sick leave to see if being off work improves my QOL. So far, no luck. So my guilt of leaning on the 6 other Drs who work with me adds to the stress. I have been very open about the problem and as physicians they understand. As people with their own lives, redistributing nights and weekends to cover my share of the load SUCKS! But they are kind and would never say anything to me.
    After working so long to achieve my profession, get a decent reputation, and make relationships with my patients, the possibility that I may be “retiring” breaks my heart.

    Fortunately finances are not a big part of the equation. I have good disability insurance (assuming we jump through the right loops to get approved), good savings and a husband who is still gainfully employed.

    In discussing my situation with my Chief of Staff, we agree that I cannot continue to run a practice with so much unreliability: it is unfair to my staff, my colleagues and most of all, my patients. He works as a disability doc at other companies and tells me that migraine is one of the most common reasons for LTD. Mainly because of the unreliability and unpredictability.

    I feel like I should hide when I start to feel better if I have cancelled. I don’t want to look like a fraud if I run into a patient in public. The joys of invisible illness.

  • Colleen Meegan
    3 years ago

    A physician who understands! How rare! But employers who understand? Not so much. Thank you so much for sharing… I have never had a support system, so I am very happy for you!

  • Christina Mattoni-Brashear moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Pvardy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and for being part of our community!

    It sounds like you have a great support system and an understanding Chief of Staff, which, while it is a wonderful thing to have, still doesn’t relieve the heartbreak you’re feeling at your possible “retirement.” I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having to face this after working so hard to get where you are.

    I hope you are able to work through the stress and find a replacement, so you can take the time to see if that helps your QOL. It must be such a frustrating and emotional time for you, and I encourage you to continue to participate in the community here anytime you need support, want to vent, or to simply let us know how you’re doing. Wishing you the very best.

    Take care,
    -Christina (Migraine.com Team)

  • Juneleaves
    3 years ago

    Ugh sorry that was too long. Clearly I spend to much time alone. Ugh

  • ChronicM
    3 years ago

    I say this all the time 🙁

  • Juneleaves
    3 years ago

    I left behind a very successful career as a documentary photographer and full time museum photographer at an Ivy League university. Like many of us, I have to limit my computer time (let alone any sustained time requiring focus) despite having a non glare screen and coating on my glasses to help with blue light. I’ve recently begun to set a modicum of a light weekly schedule, with the caveat that everything I plan might be cancelled at the last minute. This is important for me with to combat depression.

    It’s taken me more than a few years to adjust to living on disability. i had an absolutely severe identity crisis after crashing and burning. I absolutely loved my work! Everyone, and I mean everyone in my community knew me as a photographer. It was my life’s dream since 10 years of age to be a photographer. As I still field well meaning questions about whether or not I’m shooting anymore, I continue to struggle, though less intensely as time passes, with being utterly derailed and disabled.

    Fortinately I’m lucky to have a modest amount of long term disability supplementation (in addition to SSD) from my former employer. I have zero family support and am a single woman in my 40’s. I had to fight tooth and nail as I’m sure many of you have had to do for disability and struggle with both the personal and perceived social stigma that goes along with being financially dependent on disability. I worked hard all my life.

    I’ve tried a number of things over the past few years, along with optimistically spending and losing a few thousand dollars on classes which was no surprise that I could not complete. Ultimately instead of accepting defeat I learned that this was simply more information regarding my situation. I also tried to transition into low stress, non-computer oriented work that I just could not maintain in any capacity. At the moment I do odd jobs and light cleaning for an older couple which has allowed me to keep my head above water despite living a very very modest lifestyle. It’s usually about 6 hours a week give or take on my good weeks. I am grateful for these Angels. This means I can get the occasional haircut, some inexpensive clothing, pay on a small car loan and not totally freak out over an unexpected vet visit for my cats or a high medical bill of my own. Prescriptions, rent, insurance, doctors co-pays, phone and food pretty much eat up my disability income.

    And in all honesty, despite, being laid up for weeks at a time, this is the most mentally stable I’ve ever been in my life with the exception of about 2 years out of 8 up at Cornell. Every year I maxed out sick leave and family medical leave and at the end stressed everyone out by my increasingly frequent absences. How does one not feel like a failure in our society which is driven by our identities being defined by our “work.” My work now is to take care of myself as best I am able.

    I’ve even been told by my brother who owns a successful wholesale business (my mom and dad work for him now) that there is absolutely no way he’d hire me on a part time flexible basis. It’s impossible to keep up any regularity or momentum. At the darkest time I chose to live for my niece, nephew and family. I feel like I accept my situation now for Hester or worse. It certainly sucks at times but it could be far more dire as I’ve experienced.

    One thing that has been enormously positive in my life is volunteer work at my local Spca. It’s totally flexible and cancelable of course, and at 2-3 hours a week, gives me socialization and the sense that I can offer something to my community. There’s no expectation other than love the kitties up and talk to the occasional adoptee. I no longer fight my life’s circumstances.

    I truly don’t know what the future holds. And on another positive note, having gone through a series dark and confusing night of the soul, I have far more compassion for others. Between 2008 and 2011, I lost everything; my car, apartment, job, friends and health (along with my uterus and ovaries!)

    Sorry for the sob story, but sometimes I need to revisit this to see how far I’ve come at least in terms of acceptance and gratitude.

    For those of us who have lost so much and are debilitated by migraine disease I cannot stress how important it is to reach out. Setting a light schedule including lunches with a few friends keeps me going week to week, even if some days my “schedule” includes only a short walk down the road or trying to eat and brush my teeth. Animals and a few unexpected Angels (including my young niece and nephew) have saved my life. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to work a regular job and long. 30 years of fighting migraines simply broke me. My therapist wants me to consider permanent disability but I’m a bit terrified to bring that up with my neuro. It feels so permanent.

  • ChronicM
    3 years ago

    Thank you for posting this!

    Today I don’t feel like my head is going to explode but I do kind of feel like I’m still dying in here. Also 40, a yr into daily migraines (always had them but not chronic that im aware of until now) etc etc. The silly questions and judgments I make on myself, efforts failed and then some knucklehead says be stronger (one of my biggest supporters didn’t mean any harm – I still haven’t regrounded) all make work with lights, phones, customer service, people… very hard to imagine. I’m trying to be creative and my short term disability runs out soon after my neuro after the VIP of HR nixed me a yr ago. I can barely keep my dog happy… Feeling the slippery slope affect & not able to imagine what I have to do to get back to work.

    Thankful for your words, bummed they resonate but I guess that’s part of our purpose right now.

    Sorry so long.

  • Meaghan Coneys moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi ChronicM – No apologies necessary. We love hearing from you and are so happy you are a part of our community. Please continue to share you experiences with us! It really sounds like things are a bit challenging these days (and that is probably putting it lightly). Please know we hear you and the community here can relate to and support you. I thought you would find the following articles helpful – https://migraine.com/blog/coping-skills-save-the-judgement-what-matters-is-finding-what-works-for-you/, https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-and-mindfulness-bruce-almighty/, https://migraine.com/blog/a-list-call-for-creature-comforts/, https://migraine.com/blog/community-responses-what-are-your-go-to-techniques-that-bring-you-comfort/. They provide various self care tips for managing emotions related to chronic migraine along with techniques to use in the midst of an attack. I hope you find them helpful. Again, thank you for sharing and please continue to share more with us! Sending loads of good energy your way. Warmly, Meaghan (Migraine.com Team)

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Juneleaves,
    Thank you for having the courage to share your story. Please know that our community is here to listen and support you!! It seems that despite the rough road you have had living with migraine, you have come to find solace in staying connected- in whatever capacity that may be. It is wonderful that you volunteer helping find kitties homes- it sounds like you get great fulfillment out of this. Your suggestion to set a “light schedule” to meet up with friends and such is a great thing to commit to. It is also touching to hear how close you are with your niece and nephew.

    We understand how difficult it must be for you to have left the job you love, however it is important to address that migraine IS a disability- https://migraine.com/blog/yes-migraine-is-a-disability/
    and you deserve to take care of yourself.

    Please let us know if you want to share anything further with us- we are always here for you.
    Best,
    Jillian (Migraine.Com Team)

  • kimberlyflick
    3 years ago

    I feel as if I’m pretty much at this point – ending my full-time job and trying to work part-time. Chronic migraines became a huge problem about 2 years ago and last October we had a change of ownership at my job, so now my migraines are a major issue with the new boss. He even essentially threatened my job should I continue missing work. Of course, it puts more pressure on me . I’ve recently earned a degree in Elementary Education so I’m considering attempting a change towards that line of work but I’m not sure it would even pan out unless it would just be a change that would give me a few more years before I had to go to part-time. At least it’s an option.

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    kimberlyflick,
    We are sorry to hear that your new boss is not so understanding about your migraine attacks. I thought you might be able to relate to this article about migraine disclosure at work: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-disclosure-work/
    Be sure to read the comments under the article where our community members give personal advice.
    If migraine is making it difficult for you to work full-time, perhaps working part-time will give you some time to focus on your health. it doesn’t have to be permanent!
    Keep us posted with what you decide.
    We are glad to have you as a part of our community 🙂
    Best,
    Jillian (Migraine.com Team)

  • DebbieO
    3 years ago

    An online career at home sounds great. But (I’ll keep this succinct for obvious reasons) I’m extremely photosensitive & must limit (severely) my time on the computer. 🙁 And who hires someone “flexibly”? We’re (well I am) completely unpredictable even unto myself! To top it off, I’ve bravely stepped out of a psychologically abusive marriage after 25 years. (The legal proceedings are winding up to determine my collective future because I have NO financial safety net due to this very subject. (And, no, I do not have enough Social Security credits to qualify for disability.) I’ll take any suggestions!! Bless us all!!!

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    Hi DebbieO,

    Yeah, the computer screen can be a huge barrier too. I didn’t consider that. I guess by flexible work, I mean freelancing in its various forms. But you’re right, even when we can set our own schedule it’s hard to know when we’ll be up for work and when we won’t. I wish you all the best with the legal proceedings so you can have the safety net we all so desperately need and deserve!!

    Best,

    Anna

  • Auemerald
    3 years ago

    Yes, I have found that it’s difficult to find a job that works with my chronic migraines. Some days/months are better than others. I finally found a job that doesn’t have an attendance policy if you are productive (there is some BS that comes along with it, but not the point here), let’s me flex when I come in and when I leave to make up time (if I am able to), less pay, but provides benefits.

    I miss being able to be at full speed all the time. I was just lamenting to my husband last night, how I use to be able to go until the project/crisis was over. Now, if I pull a 35 hour work week, I consider that a win. I don’t care so much if things are just so at home, because I can’t do it. I just have to realize that this is what it will be for now. Maybe they will get better, and they are with a new doctor team, Drs. Rajul Parikh and Kenneth Ngo in Jacksonville, FL.

    I am still willing to try the “latest” cure, if it’s something I haven’t tried before. Maybe it will help. I manage not to be mean to people who try to say “stupid” things about migraines or here is the latest cure. If they seem they are willing to listen I will try to educate them.

    I am blessed that the friends I have understand the cancellations and don’t take it personal. My family, mostly, understands although they seem to get disappointed if I am suppose to be at a “big” event, i.e. weddings, and cancel or leave in the middle.

    In all, it’s been a little disappointing and taken me 2.5 years to accept, but I’m working on adjusting. Some days are a struggle with that acceptance, but I remind myself that on the days the migraines are winning, breathe in/breathe out. God has been good to me, and with hope, prayer, and good medicine. This too I will win.

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    It sounds like you are coping so well given the situation. There’s no right way to do these things. We just have to keep on keeping on. Thanks for sharing your story. It helps <3

  • Edomal
    3 years ago

    I quit my job as a seventh grade teacher almost 3 years ago after a year of trying to make it work. I decided to take a year off and get my migraines and migraine associated vertigo under control. After 2 years, I thought maybe next year. I have progressed from a migraine &/ or vertigo almost daily (rebounds) to 2-3 episodes a month. I could potentially go back to work, but I am now caregiver to my terminally ill husband. My headache doctor feels that if I didn’t have the stress of my husband’s illness I might be able to wean off my preventative, but now is not the time. Migraine.com has been a great help to me and I greatly appreciate all the information shared here.

  • DebbieO
    3 years ago

    I don’t have any information or advice but… ((Hugs)) I hope that helps!

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    That’s a whole lot on your plate. Migraine.com has been a great support to me too… I hope you have even more support as you move through this difficult time. Best wishes to you!

  • Nonster
    3 years ago

    The acceptance of having to give up my job and go on SS Diability still haunts me. I know with the chronic migraines I get there is no way I would be able to work and am thankful for SSD and Medicare. But I miss the people- friends, co-workers, folks from all over with different life journeys, bosses, mail rounds, new training on the latest HR issue pressing its way into society. Yep, I miss the people but not all the other bs that comes with a high stress but good paying job- with good benefits!
    While I have Anne here, I love your calendar! I ordered one for myself and am going to frame them! Thank you and your partner for sharing your gifts!
    Also, I Need To Know where I can find you SPOON STORY. I’ve checked your blog and can’t find it. Please help as I hear it is an awesome analogy! Thank you!

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    Hi Nonster! Glad you love the calendar 🙂 It’s so hard to move on, agreed. The grieving process might not have a clear end, but I think with time it can get much easier.

    Are you looking for the original spoon theory? That was dreamed up by Christine Miserandino. You can find it here: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

  • Tammy Rome
    3 years ago

    Anna,

    You already know my story, but I will share a brief summary here for the benefit of others. It took me 20 years to realize my dream to become a psychotherapist. Less than 3 years into my dream career, I was forced to walk away and apply for permanent disability. It broke my heart, crushed my dreams, and left me feeling like my entire life had been a waste. There was a time I thought that I might kill myself if I couldn’t do my job. I simply had no other purpose. Fortunately, with a lot of love and support, I found a new purpose. Thank you for being a part of my new purpose!

    Tammy

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing here Tammy. It’s inspiring to see others have their hearts broken, and pick up the pieces and find new purpose. Thank you for being one of my sheroes!!

  • Hope and a Prayer
    3 years ago

    I found it hard to read through this post as I am still having a hard time (downright angry at times) with not being able to work anymore, being dependent on a meager disability pension and having to give up the best job of my career. I still had at least 10 more years to work: ten years that I was looking forward to, ten more years of benefits and building a pension …
    I’m working on acceptance, including coming to terms with the fact that at present my productive time is minimal as a result of 24/7 headaches and too frequent migraines. I’m also slowly learning more about resilience and adaptability, which will probably be the springboard to my finding creative alternatives. Thank you for letting me know that you still struggle with “what might have been” and at the same time encouraging me to uncover a new path.
    I really hope that there will come a day when you can again be immersed in the world of music and benefit many students with your passion.

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    Thank you 🙂 It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I wish you all the best in your work with acceptance, resilience and adaptability. I believe those things, along with connection and support, are truly are the key to our survival!

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Hope and a Prayer,
    Thank you for reaching out. We understand how hard it must be for you to give up the best job of your career due to migraine. Please know that you are not alone in this battle!
    The Migraine.com community is here to support you.
    Resilience and adaptability are two wonderful attributes someone with migraine can benefit from. As a fellow migraineur, it can be really hard to have my day dictated by a migraine attack. However, as you said, we need to appreciate the “productive time” that we have and accept our situation.
    Let us know what creative alternatives you pursue. We would love to hear back.

    Warm regards,
    Jillian (migraine.com team)

  • Maureen
    3 years ago

    Anna,I have been blessed to homeschool my seven children (and thankfully my chronic migraine state didn’t hit until most of them had graduated high school)… and blessed to have access to really wonderful choral programs for the homeschoolers in our area. Our programs start with third grade and go through twelfth grade. Our choirs meet weekly, participate in local competitions, and perform in winter and spring concerts. There is also an excellent homeschool choir in the area where I used to live. If/when you feel like you might be ready to pursue your music teaching again, the homeschool community might be a good fit for you. We welcome people who have great gifts and special challenges.

  • Anna Eidt author
    3 years ago

    Thanks Maureen! That might be something to explore down the road 🙂

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