A woman lays in bed while light shines from a doorway where her family is looking at her.

Does Your Family “Get” Migraines?

It’s hard to understand something you’ve never experienced. And that certainly is so applicable to the life of a migraineur.

What I think is most frustrating as a migraineur, is someone thinking they know a migraine because they too have had a "headache" before. Enter #morethanjustaheadache.

It’s a catchy hashtag that resonates with the migraine community, but do those outside of our circle really get it?

Who do I feel needs to understand migraine?

Over the years, I’ve become less concerned about the opinions of those outside my inner circle, but I need my inner circle to “get it."

My family is my rock. And I never wish a migraine on anyone, so I don’t want them to know firsthand the pain and frustrations of a migraine life. But I want them to know that I’m not exaggerating. I’m not making it up.

How do you get them to understand?

I personally feel the best way for a non-migraineur to understand the intensity of these attacks is to support you through one. Yes, this means asking for help. But it can be the greatest gift you give to yourself and your support team.

Did it work for me?

This was the game-changer for my fiancé, Brian. In our younger dating years, I was on a girls' weekend at the beach and got a migraine attack. It was a debilitating one that had me vomiting and too weak to walk let alone drive home.

I wanted to be home in bed.

How did he respond to my plea for help?

I didn’t want to disrupt the weekend for my friends, so I called Brian and told him I needed him to come pick me up. He was about an hour and a half away, but he heard in my voice I needed help. He and his best friend drove down so they could bring me and my car back. I remember barely saying anything on the car ride home. I’m pretty certain I slept most of the drive and then slept for hours more when we got home.

Seeing the realities of migraine

There wasn’t any explaining that I had to do. He was seeing with his own eyes the effects of migraines. I’m typically a very strong-willed, lace up your bootstraps and positive woman, but a debilitating migraine will strip me of all of that.

He still talks about that migraine to this day – years later. That was the moment for him when he saw that the migraines I experienced were far different than even his worst headaches. There are no words that I could have told him that would have given him the same understanding.

We need to help people "get" it

Sometimes people need to see it to believe it. And I know, I get it that we don’t want people seeing us during a migraine – it’s not our finest moment – but asking for help can give you the support you need in the moment and help your family “get it” as best they can without having firsthand experience.

What’s been your best way to help your family and inner circle to understand the reality of life with migraines?

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