Election Season = Migraine Season
No matter whether you are a democrat, republican, independent or libertarian, this election season has surely presented a unique experience for all of us. For nearly two years, and for a myriad of reasons, it feels as if we have been on a dizzying and at times nauseating roller coaster ride. The stakes are high and so are the emotions of those who follow the race closely.
With healthcare being a central point of contention, those of us with migraines might be paying especially close attention: we have a pre-existing condition that might affect health care coverage, after all. And for those of us on disability, we might be particularly interested in how our benefits might be impacted. Like I said, the stakes are high.
With the polls being so close and topsy and turvy, it is clear that our nation is divided. For those of us with migraines triggered by stress, the last many months might’ve led to an increase in pain. Personally, I have felt caught up in the twists and turns of this election season which has led to a level of obsession and worry that’s caused me to lose sleep. Of course the result of a change in sleep pattern for many of us with migraines means more migraines.
Unfortunately, our political climate has become quite hostile these days. So, when we encounter someone rooting for another candidate, we might feel as if our entire belief system is being questioned or confronted. Healthy and respectful discourse is not always being modeled between the candidates, and exchanges between family members or friends with opposing viewpoints sometimes seem to follow suit. Conversations can get quickly heated and turn into personal attacks. When stress is a trigger, it is precisely these kinds of interactions that can start a migraine.
For those of us on social media, logging onto our accounts can suddenly reveal that our long-held friends have opposing viewpoints. Do we engage? I find that doing so immediately makes my blood pressure rise and causes what might be a low grade headache to quickly climb into migraine status. My philosophy in those cases is that it’s best to avoid engaging, and instead to prioritize the friendship over all else. After all, in most cases, folks are so dug into their ‘sides’ it’s wasted breath to try to convince anyone to see a different view at this stage in the race anyway.
With just a bit of time left in this election season, how do we avoid what for some of us has become yet another migraine trigger? I’m learning that there’s such a thing as too much stimulation when it comes to this kind of stress. Saturating my day with updates about every new dramatic wrinkle in the election is for me unhealthy. It’s too easy to become obsessed and incapable of putting it down at the end of the day. I suppose there’s a balance to be sought just like with everything in life. Be as informed as you can be and get as involved as your heart and your head allow.
Are you experiencing any rise in your migraine pain pattern during this window of time? How are you handling the stress of election season?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?