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Don’t Apologize for Your Migraines

Last updated: June 2022

"I'm sorry, I have to cancel; I have a migraine."

"I'm sorry, I can't eat that; it triggers migraines for me."

"I'm sorry, I can't sit here; the smell of cigarettes triggers migraines for me."

What have you apologized for lately because of your migraines? It feels like the list is endless, doesn't it?

My health is not my fault

I don't know about you, but I don't want to have to apologize for my health. I didn’t ask for these migraines, nor are they my fault. Yet, I could go on and on with the number of apologies I've given over migraines. So how exactly do we navigate life with unpredictable migraines?

We build our lives around migraine

The reality is migraines do cause us to cancel plans last minute. Migraines may prevent us from being able to eat someone's homemade food. Migraines may require us to stand or sit in a different area that doesn't have the smell of cigarette smoke. And there's so much more that migraines cause us to do. Yet here we are, living with them and having to build our lives around them.

Stop apologizing

We all need to find the approach that works best for us, but I would like to offer one suggestion: Stop apologizing for migraines. Let's drop any guilt, stop apologizing, and start looking at ourselves as advocates for our health.

Canceling plans

I guess the line "sorry, not sorry" applies here! Yes, sometimes someone is inconvenienced because you have to cancel plans, especially last minute, because of a migraine.

I'll be the first to say that it doesn't feel good. It feels like you're letting the person down, and nobody wants that feeling. But you're disappointed too. And you're dealing with not only the disappointment but the pain of the migraine too.

Apologize for the inconvenience

The shift we can make is apologizing for the inconvenience if that feels appropriate and acknowledging that you're disappointed too. You don't need to justify yourself or your health to someone else. You can call it what it is, "I have a migraine, and I can't go."

Don't let the negative thoughts in

The people who care about you will understand. Again, they may be disappointed, but they will understand the situation. If we're honest, this next step might be what is the hardest part of it – don't let your mind fill with thoughts of you being hard on yourself.

The thoughts I've had

I know I've had thoughts before that sound a little something like this:

  • You're not going to get invites anymore if you keep canceling
  • She doesn’t believe you.
  • He thinks you're making it up or being dramatic about a little headache.
  • How is anyone supposed to count on you when you're always canceling plans?

My friend, these thoughts are not serving you. You need to have some compassion for yourself, especially when your head is pounding with a migraine. Don't build out a story in your mind that may not even be true.

Your priority is you

Your highest priority is maintaining your health and the people you surround yourself with have to understand that and support you.

Where do you stand on this? Share your experience and tips below so we can learn from you too!

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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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