The Balance of Knowing Limits: Relying On Being Unreliable

My family and friends can rely on me to be unreliable. I doubt they have me on speed dial when they need help moving a couch or need someone for a one person surprise party. I can’t be trusted to be there. I can, however, be counted on to change my schedule at a moments notice. My heart may desperately want to show up, but my head is constantly making other plans.

My migraines control my schedule

The text I got read: Hey, would you be able to pick her up after school and watch her with your son?

I felt instant panic. I stared at the text so long that if my phone had a face it would have blushed. I wanted to say “yes,” but I wasn’t sure how to respond. I checked in with my head, knowing I had no idea how I’d feel tomorrow. My migraines are my schedule maker.

On a minute by minute basis, my migraines let me know if I’m ready for a dinner date, or a movie night, or daydreaming about Chris Pine. My inner circle knows me and my unpredictable head, but the woman who sent the text was a new friend. I hadn’t gotten around to sharing details about my brain and how it can feel like it’s being barbecued. With her, I was enjoying just being a person, and not being a person with migraines.

An unreliable adult with migraine

Once I gave her my answer, I’d be seen as my ol’ unreliable self— a self I, unfortunately, don’t get to choose. My migraines do it for me. What would she think? Too bad the classic coverups like “The dog ate my homework...” or “My alarm didn’t go off” won't work. My excuse is ironically reliable, “I can’t. I have a migraine.”

My friend needed a reliable adult. Since there are instances when I’m forced to have back-ups for my back-ups for my own son, I wasn’t sure I could be hers. I considered explaining via text how my brain gets barbecued, but that would certainly turn into an epic horror novel. I opted for a different solution:

“Are you free tomorrow afternoon?” I asked my husband. I could help but had back-up.

Explaining migraine to friends

Not long afterwards, and in person, I told my new friend about how my head has a mind of its own. She was (thankfully) understanding. Taking care of myself and my migraines may make me unreliable; however, my friends can rely on me to do my best in taking care our friendships. My head and my heart are of one mind on that.

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