Shatter the Stigma With Migraine Memes
Last updated: June 2023
Migraine isn't "just a headache." We've said it so often that we sound like broken records and every time we do, we wonder, "How is this disease still so misunderstood and stigmatized?"
What is life with migraine like?
So, what exactly is migraine? Migraine is light and sound sensitivity forcing us into dark and quiet rooms for hours, days, and sometimes even weeks. Migraine is a tsunami of nausea that overtakes our bodies and at times drives us head-first to the bathroom. It's the anxiety between attacks, leaving us questioning when the next debilitating one will come and how long it will take up residence. It's also knowing that when we say "I have migraine" or "I'm dealing with a migraine attack," that we aren't using it as an excuse to cancel plans or take a sick day. It can be like a battlefield. Its weapons can change over time meaning that our arsenal needs to change as well. It's constant moves and counter-moves. Migraine is and always has been so much more than head pain.
How can I get others to understand?
Migraine has a significant impact on a person's life. We all know that from our own experiences. So how can we lighten the frustration and shatter the stigma and misconceptions that cloud this serious disease? Well, you may recognize a few well-known memes below that we've adapted to shed light on the realities of what life with migraine looks like. We've also included suggestions as to what someone can say instead and how you can respond to change the narrative.
How can you respond? “I’m sorry you have a headache disease too. They are complicated and we aren’t all alike.”
How can you respond? “I take several things to help manage this disease, but I unfortunately they don’t always work.”
How can you respond? “Migraine is a complex neurological disease and for me it is a lot to manage.”
How can you respond? “I wish I could but I've learned too many times that the severity of my migraine will not be reduced because I choose to ignore it.”
How can you respond? “Unfortunately, that's part of living with migraine. I didn’t choose to have this disease, but I’m trying to manage it the best that I can.
You might be asking yourself, why should I have to change how I respond? Why can't others be empathetic and take the time to understand? Well, words have more impact than we think. Those who have never experienced a migraine attack or are leading the charge for new treatments and research will never understand the truth unless they hear or read first-hand experiences. It's the migraine community who knows the burden of this neurological disease and it's the migraine community who is best equipped to shatter the stigma.
What comments have you heard?
We'd also like to invite you to share your own experiences by telling your story with migraine and the stigma surrounding it.
Have others downplayed your migraine pain?