The Realities of Isolation, Support and Hope
For individuals affected by chronic migraine, life can sometimes feel like a guessing game. Will I get a migraine this week? Will this activity trigger my symptoms? This month, our migraine community shared their experiences, including managing an invisible illness, the role of family and friends, and importance of hope in facing a chronic condition. If you are like many of our community members, and sometimes feel like you are losing hope, please know that you are not alone, and keep reading to learn more staying hopeful while confronting your illness:
Feeling left out
“I can relate…Missing out on things, feeling left out” “Feeling guilty for taking care of myself” “Feeling isolated” “Everyone around me is whooping it up”
As described by our community members, migraines are often accompanied by feelings of invisibility, missing out, and isolation. When you’re dealing with an invisible illness, it can be difficult for friends and family to understand what you’re going through. Especially when a migraine forces you to turn down an invitation or cancel plans, it can be frustrating to feel so alone. Although many of our community members shared experiences of feeling isolated or frustrated with their invisible illness, within the migraine community, you are never alone! Even on days where your symptoms keep you at home, we encourage you to connect with fellow migraineurs, and share your story with members of the community.
“Mommy has a headache” “I inherited [migraine] from my mother… Now I truly understand what she went through”
For individuals affected by migraines, balancing family life with self-care can be tricky. Even though it can be challenging to explain your symptoms or express how you’re feeling, when managing your migraines, family support is critical. While some families are made up of multiple migraineurs, on your toughest days, you may have trouble keeping up with family activities, or chasing down your kids. However, there many options for talking to your family about migraine (even for explaining migraines to your kids!), and we encourage you rely on your family for support, and seek help for your symptoms.
“I’m not a depressed person normally, but I’m starting to lose hope” “Migraine has definitely interfered with my enjoyment of life” “What if I don’t get any better?”
With any chronic illness, many patients struggle to balance hope and acceptance of their condition. In describing their migraine experiences, many of our community members shared stories of losing hope,
especially they feel like “I’ve tried everything!”. In addition to finding the medications, natural remedies, and/or complementary therapies that work best for you, for many migraine patients, healing can also come in the form of acceptance. Although difficult days may be an unavoidable reality, it is possible to achieve acceptance, rather than resignation, of your migraines. When you feel like you’re losing hope, we encourage you to lean on your migraine community, and plan for the good days still to come!
Friends who are keepers
“Having a chronic disease...weeds out the ‘good weather only friends’ from the good friends”
“I finally have a friend who accepts my limitations”
With chronic migraine, you have to rely on the support of your friends and family. However, for many of you, some friends just don’t seem to understand what you’re going through. Even if the idea of making plans when you may develop a migraine seems futile, for several of our community members, spending time with loyal friends has led to a much better quality of life. Friends can serve as an influential ally in the fight to keep migraines from controlling your life. This month, make plans to spend time with just one more person, and lean on this friend to enjoy your good days more often!
Perservering through it all
“Don’t give up!” “I’m thankful to God, and my friends” “Gratitude keeps me sane”
“I just keep trying to get through each day, hoping that I will find something someday that will help me”
For some of you, tough migraine symptoms can make it all too tempting to lose hope. However, when describing life after a migraine diagnosis, many of you also discussed how hope, gratitude, and perseverance have made all the difference. Even on your worst days, for many migraineurs, a positive outlook is just as powerful as any available treatment. We know that your migraines may bring tough times, and we want to support you throughout your migraine journey. However, along with other strategies, we hope that a positive outlook can be a powerful tool for you too!
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?