We all know of the game Bingo, but in recent years the popular chart has also been used for awareness purposes of various issues. In this way, the Bingo chart is often meant to represent what a particular community is hearing all the time from others, to hopefully give some insight into what they face every day.
Unsolicited advice and comments about migraine
So along those lines, we asked our community what types of unsolicited advice or comments they get from others about their migraines. We compiled the most common answers in the shareable chart below. In honor of Migraine Awareness Month this June, we've grouped the list into a few categories and given responses to help educate the world more about migraine.
Complementary or alternative therapy suggestions for migraine
Of the almost 5,000 people surveyed in our 2019 Migraine in America survey, the overwhelming majority listed complementary and alternative therapies they do on a regular basis to help their migraines. For example, over 200 listed yoga, over 300 listed supplements, and about 800 listed vitamins. It’s not that the specific suggestion is unwarranted, it’s that suggesting it can downplay the seriousness of a medical condition like migraine, which often needs numerous medical interventions before showing any improvement.
“Thinking” your way out of migraine
- You just need to think positively.
- You just need to de-stress.
- You just need to pray.
We can’t think or de-stress our way out of any disease, period. Depending on how badly we are suffering at the moment, it may or may not be possible to be positive. In terms of prayer, there are many faiths and many belief systems, and if praying is included in someone’s belief system, then there is no harm in speaking to a higher power. But that is a person’s personal and private choice to partake in prayer or not, and not for someone else to dictate. Instead of telling someone with migraine to pray, maybe ask them if they’d like you to pray for them. And instead of forcing positivism, show you care by standing by our side, no matter our mood. We really do appreciate the support.
Hormones and migraine
- Are you pregnant?
- It will go away with pregnancy.
- Why don’t you just get a hysterectomy?
- It will go away with menopause.
The 4,387 women who responded to our 2019 Migraine in America survey were in all stages of their lives. 2389 were postmenopausal, and though we don’t know the number of women who were pregnant, we do see that women from all stages of life live with migraine. Hormones affect each woman differently. If you’re lucky enough that one of these hormonal changes has affected your migraines in a positive way, great! Just don’t assume it’s that way for everyone.
The stigma of migraine
- It’s all in your head.
- You don’t look sick.
- You’re just being a party pooper.
- You just have a low threshold for pain.
- You just don’t want to go to work/school.
- It’s not possible for a migraine to last for days.
- I still go to work/school when I have a headache.
- I wish I could stay home and watch TV all day.
- I get “headaches” too.
We discovered that about half (47%*) of people who responded to our Migraine in America survey felt that their family, friends and colleagues didn't understand that migraine is more than just a headache, and 33%* actually hide that they have migraine when possible. We know that it can be hard for others to see our pain, and we worry that because of this, they resent when we are unable to participate in everyday life. It's no wonder, as many of us living with migraine say that migraine negatively impacts our ability to work. We're asking you to please cut us some slack and reserve the judgments. We truly are doing our best.
The best thing to say?
- “Tell me about your migraines”
One of our community members wrote something so heartwarming we had to share. She said:
The best thing a current coworker told me was, “If you get a migraine at work, what do you need me to do?” “What are your triggers, what can I do to help you avoid them?” “What meds do you take; where do you keep them? “Do you need me to call someone to pick you up?” “I’ve never had a migraine. I can’t imagine. If you need to go/stay home don’t worry we’ve got it covered.” Best group of ladies I’ve ever worked with!
The thing you might notice about most of the comments are that they are open questions, inviting her to explain what she needs and share her experience. The questions are extremely empathetic and caring. We know there are some wonderful allies out there, and we thank you! For those looking to be allies, take your cue from the words above; it means the world to us.
*Top 2 responses on a 7-pt. scale
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