The Intersection Between Introversion and Chronic Migraine
Experiencing chronic migraine can encourage a life of introversion as we learn we must live quietly and in solitude in order to have a greater chance of avoiding attacks.
How are migraineurs and introverts similar?
Some migraineurs are natural introverts and trend toward a quiet life. Chronic migraine strengthens our tendency toward a life of solitude. Regardless of whether or not we were extroverts to begin with, both chronic migraineurs and introverts:
- Keep an eye on energy reserves
- Avoid events that will deplete energy or have triggers
- Encounter things that are enjoyable for others that are overstimulating/draining, or triggering for us
- Feel pressured to attend events
- Encounter the view that extroverts are ‘better” than introverts in the same way that migraineurs are viewed as “less than”
- Are viewed as choosing to be this way in order to get out of things when indeed these are inherent conditions/traits.
Have I become introverted?
As someone who initially was borderline extrovert/introvert, chronic migraine tipped my scales to become a full-blown introvert over many decades of having migraine. And, in that time, I have finally come to accept the reality of having migraine, just as I have come to own the fact that I’m introverted. Neither of which I've chosen - both of which are a part of me.
I've come to see the positive qualities that come with being an introvert. It is just as valuable a personality trait as being extroverted. I’ve also come to see the value in having migraine. For as much as it has taken from me, there are gifts this condition has brought into my life.
How has my life become quiet?
I thrive in solitude and in an environment I can control. Whether it be temperature, sound, smells, or light, I enjoy having a space that is mine to choose. I can keep things dark, cool, scent-free, without noise running in the background (unless it’s there to distract me from an active attack). And when my world is set just so, I am more able to have a successful less painful day. When everything is turned down, I notice other things more.
How do migraine and introversion intersect?
There are many ways in which being introverted and having chronic migraine intersect. Most chronic migraineurs and introverts have difficulty in loud overstimulating environments. Music blaring, people yelling in order to be heard. For me, when I overextend myself in a social gathering, I'll come home exhausted - and that will make a migraine more likely the following day. These situations can drain an introvert and can trigger a migraine.
How can we manage it?
As migraineurs, we need to keep a close check on our balance - our reserves - and when we drain those energy reserves, we become vulnerable to attacks. We have to take such care with our energy and pacing ourselves to do the best we can to prevent migraine. Asserting ourselves regarding how we move through the world becomes very important.
How does introversion or extroversion impact your migraine experience? Share your earned wisdom in the comment section below so we can learn from you!
My dark room: