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Ever Wanted to Gift a Migraine?

Ever Wanted to Gift a Migraine?

For years now, I have worked with people who have chronic migraine and for 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 who are faced with the challenges of living with chronic migraine.  I do not mean to come off as mean-spirited, but I do 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 it 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 the migraine because when they get one there is no way to function. 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 and once you hit it, you’re done for the day or possibly even the week. Unless somebody has some type of 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 everyday makes a huge difference in an individual’s ability to continue to push forward. It is extremely hard to be faced with unimaginable pain every day when it seems like nobody understands or cares. So if doctors and loved ones were better able to empathize with the individual, the quality of life would definitely improve. Hopefully if everybody had an understanding of how it felt to have a migraine, not only would they be more supportive of the individuals but there may be an increased concern for research funding for better treatment options. The migraine community definitely needs more funding for research into causes and treatment of migraine and chronic 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.

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.

Comments

  • purplesinatra
    8 months ago

    I feel that the stigma, depression, anxiety and lack of support has become worse than the disease itself. I have been dropped by a neurologist for drug-seeking imitrex, my husband left me and I don’t get support from my family. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it’s a an awful, never-ending cycle.

  • LuvABull.Amy
    9 months ago

    Unless they experience it, they will never understand what Chronic Migraines attacks do to a person. It is an all out assault on our minds and bodies. I don’t wish it on anyone. Excedrin did a virtual reality of a migraine so others could experience the visual aura, bright lights, vertigo…you can look it up on YouTube.

  • Classy
    10 months ago

    “Doc have you ever had a migraine or severe debilitating head pain?” Response, “No.”. Have had this conversation with too many neurologists after they recommended a psychiatrist or told me I would need to learn to live with it. Or accused me of being a druggie when I requested a script.

    For the above reasons and others I would happily gift a migraine to a doc who has never experienced the pain.

  • Codybone
    2 years ago

    Where I use to work all my co-workers believed that a migraine is just a regular headache. I tried to explain to them that it is not and they just said whatever. I wish they could of felt what I deal with almost everyday because it will change a person thinking about migraines. I am no longer able to work because of the migraines and I hate what I have put my family through with this medical problem. I hate that I am not able to play with my son like other mothers and do things with family. I am just wonder how others deal with having migraines almost everyday. I have tried just about everything under the sun. I just want my life back again.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @codybone
    I completely understand where you are com from and I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this as well. I still work because we couldn’t survive otherwise but outside of my husband my family is extremely not understanding; they get mad if I can’t go to a get together or whatever they feel like I should. I have learned over the years to do what’s best for me. If that means not going to a family dinner, oh well. I hope you and your son can find some migraine friendly games to play, depending on his age. Gentle hugs and TONS of support your way.
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • Newdancerco
    2 years ago

    Not just the pain, but the weight of it. The drag of time, both past and future, lost to the pain, the constant worry of financial ruin as the ability to function reliably wears away. The dread of pain that clouds any moment without it, that prevents easy planning of outings or events, and the sadness in your child’s eyes as they worry about their beloved parent, hurting again.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @newdancerco
    The time is definitely something I should have included in the article! You have such a valid point there with the time you deal with feeling a migraine coming, while it lasts and that hangover afterwards. I know personally if I have an important event, I attempt to be preactive and take an abortive beforehand but obviously that’s not something you can do daily. I’m so sorry it seems like you have this guilt over you with regards to your little ones. I’m sure you’re still a great parent! We are always here for for you. Lots of love.
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • Codybone
    2 years ago

    I am with you. My child is 7 and he will ask me to play with him and I cannot because my head hurts so bad that all I can do is stay still. This is not fair to the children.

  • Donna Marie
    2 years ago

    If I could only give one minute of a migraine and cluster headache to my friends and family I would. One friend and my husband are very supportive, but as far as anyone else, they don’t want to hear it! It’s a very very lonely disease. It runs my life and I put on a smile and play the act of being fine but I’m not. I have 3 adult daughters and only 1 is empathetic. I get Botox shots every 3 months I take inderol neurotin cymbals and nortriptyline but to no avail. I can only take fiorecet 2times a week to avoid a rebound headache. Three neurologists have told me that my headaches will never go away. Well, thank you for listening to my complaints.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    Donna – Sadly I do completely understand. My husband and 2 friends are supportive, the rest of my family believes I should be able to just ‘push through’ the pain. I have a very long list of medications that I have tried as preventatives that did not work and several doctors who just said they had no more suggestions for me.

    Codybone – It is very frustrating to have to try all these different medications. I have tried several anti depressants as well along with a host of other medications. If you’re not happy with your doctor you could look for another one. It is okay to fire the doctor and get a new one if you think he is not helping you. It is not fair to your husband but it is also not fair to YOU!
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • Codybone
    2 years ago

    I have been to many neurologist and they have all passed me to someone else. The one that I am seeing now believes he can control them but has not yet. He has put me on many depression meds and only made me worse. I am not depressed and he says he just needs to try everything. Does he really understand what he is doing to me? My husband now says that I have a #2 and that is when I have migraines because I get really ill with them and both my husband and son go outside to get away from me. Not fair to them.

  • Macbeck
    2 years ago

    OMGoodness – the medical profession!!! Rare is the medical provider who treats a migraineur with respect, and I’m a retired nurse. I detest going to urgent care or an ER because at best I am treated by professionals who have some type of personal experience with pain, whether themselves or a family member, at worst I’ve been treated like a waste of time.
    I even have a Migraine Treatment Protocol notebook with my neurologist’s recommended treatment – and it’s non-narcotic! Providers who look at it have always given me the listed treatment, but the last ER doctor refused to even look at the notebook. Yes, I’ve wanted to gift a migraine sometimes.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @macbeck
    I definitely wish every ER doctor could have one. We gave up on going for me and all we as for is toradol but they still want to act like you’re a drug seeker. I’m glad that at least most of the time they follow your doctors orders to help you. But it is still frustrating to have to have “prove” your migraine. Thank you for sharing
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • nikkig127
    2 years ago

    I’ve had the exact thoughts while sitting in my neuro’s office on more than one occasion! My primary says the guy is a great neurologist and he’s won awards, but I swear the man has never even had a headache. I also get atypical migraines where the right side of my body goes numb and i can’t see out of my right eye or hear out of my right ear. I can still move and my motor skills still work, but everything else just stops working. First time it happened, I was at work and we thought I was having a stroke. Thankfully, I worked with my husband at the time and he was able to drive me to the ER. They ran all their tests and a few months, a few thousand dollars and several MRI, EEGs and other random tests later…it was chalked up maybe, probably be caused by a type of migraine. Still happens randomly and scares the crap out of me…so I usually have a panic attack when it happens. My neurologists response, “go to the ER.” Not, “I’m sorry. I know that has to be scary.” I literally asked him, “Have you ever had half of your body randomly stop working without warning?” Not to mention the fact that I can’t afford an ER visit every time it decides to happen. Sometimes it happens 2-3 times a month. He’s just a total jerk about it and has zero empathy. No clue how he’s lasted so long as a doctor without getting punched in the face at least. I’ve been tempted…

  • Macbeck
    2 years ago

    Typos? I never notticed. But then again I same speak language 😉

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @nikkig127
    I have met people who have similar issues in online support groups. While I do not experience it myself, I can completely understand why it would be extremely scary. Is it possible to look for another doctor? You have the right to fire a doctor that you do not feel is working with you.
    And no worries about typos. We all have them!!
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • nikkig127
    2 years ago

    *should have…holy cow. I quit.

  • nikkig127
    2 years ago

    Man that’s a lot of typos…I really should of proofread that before posting…

  • Mkkloote
    2 years ago

    I wish I could gift a migraine to my husband. I also have a condition called primary hyperparathyroidism that I would like to give to my husband. Not for just a day, but as long as it takes for him to understand and support me. He used to be very supportive. I used to have episodic migraine, but about a year into our marriage they turned chronic. He stopped being supportive about four years ago. Then, this past February I got diagnosed with primary hyperparathyroidism, which comes with its own host of debilitating symptoms. I’m on about 15 meds, for migraine, depression, and anxiety. He thinks the amount of meds I’m on is unacceptable and unnecessary. The worst illness he has ever had is the 24 hour stomach flu. He thinks I’m unattractive because I’m overweight, and thinks that if I went to gym and worked out with him, not only will I lose weight and become more attractive, but he also thinks the increase in physical activity will bring my migraines down. I can JUST take care of our two year old, and when he’s home, just lie on the couch, and he thinks getting up and going to gym is the fix.

    I’d also look like to gift a migraine to every doctor (especially ER and Urgent Care) that has ever treated me like a drug seeker. Even my neurologist won’t prescribe me rescue/breakthrough meds. He told me whenever I have a bad migraine that has lasted more than two days, to come in for a special infusion. Well, I did that once, and it seriously knocked out my migraines for a month. I tried to go back for another infusion last week, even convinced my husband to work from home (because you need a driver because the infusion makes you really tired and loopy) and my doctor was out of the country, and wouldn’t be back till the following week. You’d think that doctors who have patients with chronic pain conditions would leave their charts with another physician in the office, but no. Also, for these infusions, I won’t always have the ability to get transportation, because I need someone to watch my son, too. Luckily, the one time I went, my mother in law drove me and picked me up, and watched my son until my husband got home from work. That won’t happen every time. SIGH.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I’m so sorry you’re surrounded by less than supportive people. It’s never helpful to us to not have that support.
    In my experience aside from having a ride, infusions are not all that easy to deal with on their own.
    ER doctors are most definitely on the top of my list.
    I’m so sorry that your husband is no longer supportive of you and your illnesses. I always hate to hear those situations.
    – Amanda Workman (contributor & moderator)

  • Newdancerco
    2 years ago

    God, yes, the urgent care/ER docs and nurses! If I’m at their door, I’m non-functional and have been for days. I don’t have the eloquence to write prose or poetry to capture my pain- I wish I could just expose them to what I’m feeling instead.
    I get why they think I’m a drug seeker at first, but once they open my chart and see I come in rarely, always looking for a non-narcotic option, they could consider the possibility I’m actually in pain. If I could let them see, I think both sides would be happier.
    As for your husband, I agree with DivinePK. It is unacceptable, not to mention ineffective and even counterproductive. Surviving and caring for a young child with chronic migraine was literally ALL I could do, too- you are not alone in being maxed out already.

  • DivinePK
    2 years ago

    Your husband’s behavior is unacceptable. Calling you unattractive and trying to guilt you into physical activity is the last thing you need on top of your migraine pain. (No one should tolerate that anyway.) I’d go so far as to say it’s verbal abuse, but I don’t know him. As a fellow chronic migraine sufferer with a super-understanding husband, hearing stories like yours makes me livid. There are great guys out there. You should not have to endure this man’s mistreatment.

  • Kim1972
    2 years ago

    YES, YES, YES! Sorry, I’m not sorry I feel that way!! I am 45 years old. I’ve had migraines since I was 12 years old. Around the same age I came down with a bad case of Mono and ever since my medical issues have worn me down to a pulp! I’ve tried 100’s of medications and seen so many doctors I’ve lost count. I still tell people “I’m fine (I have fallen 4 times this year, 1 broken bone)…my marriage fell apart in 2012 after 21 years (he said I had given up and really wasn’t sick..he had a girlfriend too)…In 2013 I tried to commit suicide by over dosing. I could only take so much, I broke. I was in a very dark place. I wake up every morning with a migraine, barely able to walk from the stiffness and pain in my body. I have pain from my head to my toes. No focus, no motivation, the fatigue is very bad and dealing with the depression is an ongoing battle.
    So back to would I gift a migraine, hell yes! I would also gift all the pain, fatigue, lack of concentration and so on from my fibromyalgia. I wouldn’t stop there they need to feel everything at the same time, just like I do. So I would give them a healthy dose of depression also! I would give it to everyone I am close to. I am to the point that I don’t want to be around anyone. I can’t afford to do anything anyway with all my bills. I wish your article were a true story!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I wish it was possible as well, I really do. I also have fibro and it definitely is not pleasant or easy to deal with much less combined with chronic migraine and anything else.
    You have to find something to hold on to, something to give you a reason to keep fighting every day. Maybe a small pet or something that would be low maintenance?
    I hope you know we are always here for you. I am sending you much love and strength
    – Amanda Workman (contributor & moderator)

  • frogeyes
    2 years ago

    i get what u mean & think we all feel that way in regards having chronic illness ( eg migraines, cfs, fm, bipolar, asthma, etc. ) as we don’t wish the eg illnesses, symptoms, cycles & flares on anyone, except to maybe have them experience them just long enough do that they can relate, as that then helps leads to eg compassion, empathy, respect & teamwork in relationships.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @frogeyes
    It seems most of us have several comorbid conditions mixed together which does not help anything at all. I think it would change our treatment and the medical community as a whole if everyone experienced our issues for a while. Sending lots of love
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • arobe1002
    2 years ago

    YES!!!!! I used to have a boss who didn’t understand and got mad at me for calling in sick. I also have some family members who really just don’t understand at all what it’s like to try and function and act like I’m fine, when I’m not!!!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @arobe1002
    I don’t think you’re the only one who pretends to be okay even when they are clearly not okay and in a lot of pain. Sometimes I wonder how much this comes back to bite us in the butts when people expect us to just “push through” or “try harder”.
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • easterli
    2 years ago

    Every. Single. Day.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @easterli
    Sending you lots of love and strength!
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • Sarah
    2 years ago

    Oh, good gravy! YES!!! Sometimes I really wish I could just gift this to people who say I’m making it all up to avoid doing something. For the most part, my work location(s) have been super supportive, although in my current one, it took a 9-1-1 call for them to take me seriously…and in my previous one, it was the people who were at my work level and not higher up, for the most part, who went to bat for me and did what they needed to make sure I was okay. The ONLY person that has never even really had a headache, yet completely understands, is my sister. She has grown up with autoimmune diseases in her surrounding family members and is probably the most empathic and sympathetic person I have ever met. Nevermind that she has never directly experienced any of it, she gets it in a way that most people don’t. I probably wouldn’t have made it through the first half of last year without her.

  • Janet
    2 years ago

    These articles are always so wonderfully written, however, the target readers need not be us who suffer from chronic migraine…but those who don’t and have a mom, sister, daughter, friend, spouse who JUST DON’T GET IT 🙁
    I wish I could figure out a way for my family and friends to understand that I can’t just sick or up and move on. Chronic daily migraine for 16 years now…migraines began for me 40 years ago 🙁
    Great article..meds to be in the NY times or wall street journal..some periodical the population reads. With great respect
    Janet

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @janet
    I know we need to target the others in our lives more. I just worry that if they don’t believe us as it is, will they be bothered to read our articles? Lisa Benson did a video for those around us after I interviewed my sister and she simply said I was withdrawn. It’s a great piece.

    https://migraine.com/video/why-are-we-so-withdrawn/

    And I would love for any of us writers to be able to get pieces about migraine and other health issues in major publications, even if it was not mine!! The migraine community needs the attention!!
    Thank you so much for sharing and reading my articles.
    – Amanda Workman (migraine.com moderator and contributor)

  • sysad
    2 years ago

    I would never wish this on anyone, but yes, if they could only suffer one for the purpose of realizing what we go through. I was just in the e/r last week, the nurse pretty much said I was in there for the pain medication and got me dilaudid. She had no clue what I was going through, what a migraine felt like and the laughter the migraine monster was having at my expense over dilaudid. When the doctor came in, realized it was a massive migraine, he had her give me toradol. The e/r is my very last resort, often for this reason.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @sysad
    Honestly that’s exactly why my husband and I attempt to refrain from going to the ER ourselves. Toradol is definitely much more effective for us, yet even here they act like asking for toradol is asking for dilauid. I’m glad the doctor at least realized what you needed.
    Sinding you lots of love.
    – Amanda Workman (migraine.com moderator and contributor)

  • GardensatNight
    2 years ago

    I’ve had this same reaction before, too. And I’ve felt guilty over it, because the kind part of me would never wish this suffering on anyone. But then there are the doctors who accuse me of making the whole thing up, the coworkers who shrug and say I am too difficult to accommodate, etc, the HR people who treated me like a piece of trash for having the nerve to come down with a horrible disease, and I do feel this. I wish they could have to live with what I do just for one week. Because I truly believe it would open their eyes. They would realize I had never been lying. That this was terrible. That I had only ever been asking for what I absolutely needed. That I came to work and got a migraine because of it every day even when they caused me lazy. And of course, there are plenty of great people out there. But I completely get what you’re saying about the people who just don’t get it and need a wake up call.

  • texotexere
    2 years ago

    I have an indirect supervisor I really want to just have one migraine, preferably caused by her perfume. She reacted so badly to finding out that her perfume was one of my worst triggers (so bad I was allowed to work from home when she was going to be around), that I now have to file a formal complaint and request for accommodation in order for my boss to give me any accommodation at all.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @textotexere
    Perfume is one of the worst things and those people who have the scentsy burners at their desks!! I truly wish companies would be more willing to allow people to work from home. There’s really no reason to not allow it more often. I’m sorry your job is making everything complicated for you. Sending you lots of strength.
    – Amanda Workman (migraine.com moderator and contributor)

  • easterli
    2 years ago

    Ditto.

  • Tamara
    2 years ago

    I had this happen a few years ago just before I went chronic – so 1-2 severe migraines a month. My manager (about 4 years older than me so we were both young) thought I was lying some days because I “looked fine” when I got to work and now an hour in I want to go home?

    Then she ended up in the hospital with a migraine (she thought it was a stroke because of he numbrness and tingling (common symptoms for me). She took FIVE days on after it and when she came back and I talked to her – she sheepishly say to me she thought she was going to die but they said it was only a migraine.

    I listed off symptoms and yes she had all of them and I told her the frequency of the migraines I get she was very sorry for me – she had a horrible time handling one. From then on I didn’t have to fight to g,o home – you have a migraine? We will see you when you feel better, do you need a ride home?

    But I want to be my boss! She never got another one again and it’s been 6-7 years now!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    @Tamara
    I can definitely understand you wanting to only have the one experience!! There is no shame there. But I am glad she finally had one and is now at least understanding of when you are dealing with one. Definitely be careful trying to drive with one though, especially if it’s extra bad.
    Sending lots of love.
    – Amanda Workman (migraine.com moderator and contributor)

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