A box opens to reveal a present with lightning bolts

Ever Wanted to Gift a Migraine?

For years now, I have worked with people who have chronic migraine, and most of these individuals have people in their lives who are not very understanding of what they deal with on a day-to-day basis. It never fails to amaze me when I hear somebody express how different things would most likely be if the people in their lives were to experience one or two migraines of their own. It got me wishing that we all could 'gift' a migraine to someone from time to time.

Let me explain

Before you get mad about this topic, let me explain where I am coming from. By no means am I saying that I wish chronic migraine on anybody. After living with it for 8 years, I definitely would not wish chronic migraine on anybody, neither a friend nor enemy. By 'gifting a migraine,' I mean one or two migraine attacks in their lifetime so that hopefully, they could develop some empathy for those facing the challenges of living with chronic migraine. I do not mean to come off as mean-spirited, but I think it would help create a better understanding of the effects of a migraine. For people who have never experienced a migraine, there seems to be issues understanding a migraine is not simply a bad headache.

Why would gifting a migraine matter?

I truly believe it would make a difference based on my personal experience with people. For example, my husband and mother both have episodic migraine, and as far as my personal support system goes, they are the most understanding about my pain levels. Both of them will tell anybody they do not see how I can work or take care of things at home with a migraine attack because, when they get one, there is no way they can function.

Those who haven't had a migraine don't understand

In direct comparison, I have family members who have never in their lives had a migraine. These individuals are the ones who seem completely unable to understand that with chronic migraine, there is this invisible wall. Once you hit it, you're done for the day or possibly even the week. Unless somebody has some chronic health condition or has had a migraine or two in their life, there seems to be very little understanding on their part of how great the effect of a migraine is on the individual dealing with it.

Would it solve everything?

Unfortunately, I do not think it would solve all the issues faced by the migraine community, but it would definitely be a positive start. I do not believe people understand the effect of their support on an individual. Feeling supported by those you love and are surrounded by every day makes a huge difference in an individual's ability to continue pushing forward. It is extremely hard to face unimaginable pain every day when it seems like nobody understands or cares. So if doctors and loved ones could better empathize with the individual, quality of life would definitely improve.

What impact would understanding have?

Hopefully, if everybody understood how it felt to have a migraine, they would be more supportive of the individuals, and there may be an increased concern for research funding for better treatment options. The migraine community definitely needs more funding for research into the causes and treatment of migraine. So many of the 'preventative' medications available are off-label uses of drugs intended for antidepressants or seizures. Other migraine-specific medications and treatments can be so expensive that they are not an option for other individuals. If we could foster a greater understanding of the impact of a migraine, there is a possibility that everything else would fall into place, or at least a better place.

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