Disclosing Migraine and an Unexpected Response
The general public is so dismissive of migraine that those of us who have it often never mention it. Why open ourselves up to the hurt of dismissal and invalidation? While I’m generally pretty open about migraine—because I think being honest about migraine is an integral part of reducing its stigma—sometimes I keep my mouth shut. Like when I was researching sofa reupholstery. Although migraine seriously restricts the materials I can use (due to triggers from odors and offgassing), I saw no point it explaining this to the salesperson.
But Rick, the salesperson, was persistent. He asked so many questions that I eventually explained I am sensitive to odors. He asked even more questions, so I eventually told him chronic migraine is the reason why. At worst, I figured he’d laugh me off. That’s when the strange thing happened. Here’s a truncated version of our conversation:
Me: I’m sorry to hear that. I had to stop working in 2003 because my attacks were so bad. I now write about and am a patient advocate for migraine. If there’s anything I can help with, you can give your sister my email address.
Rick: How many people in the country have migraine? Maybe we could specialize in restoring furniture that won’t offgas.
When was your last migraine check-up?