Other's Guilt of Using My Knowledge
It may sound strange when you consider it, but I cannot explain to you how many times I have had a text or phone call from somebody and it start with something along the lines of “I know it is nothing like what you deal with but…”
Pain is relative
To begin with, pain is relative to each individual. This means you cannot tell me that your pain is worse than my pain and I in turn cannot tell you that your pain is less than my own. Our pains can be relative due to how long we have been chronic, due to any other contributing health issues we may have, our age and body compensation, and ultimately how much we have to push despite the pain. For example, I work a fifty hour work week and am also an individual with daily chronic migraine. Does this mean my pain is less than the individual with daily chronic migraine who does not work? No. I do what I have to do for my family to survive and I have lived with this condition for an extremely long time. I do hit my glass wall but for the most part I push through because I know I have no choice but to do so.
I have gathered my migraine based knowledge at this point over life time of migraines. I was an episodic child and teenager who became chronic in college. Through years of trial and error, I have found a good many tips and tricks that work to help ease the suffering associated with a migraine. At the same time, I have tried a number of those ‘old wives' tales that were basically a waste of time in general. Since I began working with Catherine Charrett-Dykes back when there was no plan for a non-profit and we were simply a support group of people all dealing with the same demon, I started sharing what I had learned with complete strangers, in an effort to help anybody. I have seen products that failed to do anything for me work wonders for somebody else. It is most definitely a process of finding out what works best for you.
My own family
Despite knowing my role as an advocate in the chronic migraine community, my own family falls into that group of people I mentioned earlier who will apologize for asking me a migraine question. My own husband feels guilty when he gets a migraine, since he is episodic, and cannot function during a migraine. My step-father has done the same thing when it came to a bad blood pressure medication causing him severe daily headaches. Ultimately in my eyes, this is no different than you having a splinter in your foot and I help you pull it out. You would not apologize for asking me to help you get the splinter out of your foot, so do not apologize for asking for migraine advice.
It is with appreciation
If you feel obligated, possibly approach us with understanding or appreciation. Something along the lines of “since you are more familiar with dealing with migraines” is much less off putting than an apology. To me an apology always means you did something wrong and caused whatever it is you are apologizing to me about. Since countless doctors cannot tell me why I went suddenly from being healthy to living with chronic migraine, who are you to apologize for it or for the fact that I live with it? But by all means, I am here with all my endless years of knowledge and when you need it, just ask me. Do you need to know what to do to get through the migraine? Do you need to know what all to ask your doctor at your first appointment? Do you need to know if somebody is full of it with their ‘miracle cure?’ By all means, just ask me. If I do not know the answer, I bet you with my resources that I can get the answer for you.
Does anybody every feel guilty bringing up a migraine or headache around you or seem unsure about asking you for tips/help?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?