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Chronic Migraine, Mental Health, and Invisible Illness Stigma

Last updated: December 2022

Mental health illnesses are commonly thought of as stigmatized conditions. Additionally, other conditions that face a lot of stigmatization are invisible illnesses. A large portion of society does not believe mental health illnesses or invisible illnesses to be real or actual health conditions.

How is mental health stigmatized?

While some people do not validate mental health issues at all, others consider individuals with mental health issues to be a danger to themselves and to society. Due to the side effects of some mental health conditions, some individuals label these people as a drain on society since they tend not to be as productive as individuals without mental health problems.

How has my mental health been perceived?

My mental health issues have been challenged by my own family members. Certain family members completely discredit the idea of any mental health illnesses. They believe you simply need to be more positive, and everything will go away. My own family members feel like my past trauma of almost dying should be simply behind me now. Even worse, I have had to suffer through comments from my own family about how I am simply seeking attention.

What impact has it had?

All this kind of judgment leads individuals with mental health conditions to not seek treatment or to not continue with treatment. Due to the harsh opinions of other people in my life, I have decided to find both a psychologist and a psychiatrist online through Doctor on Demand.

This is comforting because I am being treated in the comfort of my own home. It is also nice that if I cry during a session, I do not have to journey home afterward. These factors make it much easier for me to continue my treatment.

How is chronic migraine stigmatized?

Chronic migraine itself can be stigmatized. This happens a lot since it is an invisible health condition. This is the case since chronic migraine does not show itself the same visibly. It is not visible like a broken leg and does not show up on tests, such as cancer or other health conditions. This can cause others to discredit the effects of chronic migraine.

How has it impacted my treatment?

Unfortunately, the invisible nature of chronic migraine can make it more difficult to find a doctor to take the situation seriously. I cannot even count how many doctors I have seen in order to get my chronic migraine treated and taken seriously.

How has my mental health treatment been?

Mental health issues are also considered the be invisible illnesses. In most cases, individuals can acquire treatment for mental health issues quicker than something like chronic migraine. I have been lucky enough to have all of the therapists I have seen believe my issues. The hard part for me is explaining everything from the beginning when I start seeing a new therapist.

Invisible does not mean less serious

While health conditions such as mental health issues and chronic migraine may be invisible illnesses, that does not mean that they are less serious than more visible illnesses. Individuals suffering from these conditions may face stigma from family, friends, society, and even health care practitioners in some cases. It is important that individuals do not give up on seeking the necessary care they need and deserve. Sometimes we have to fight for proper care, and it is important to know that it is okay to do so.

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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.

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