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The Big Lie

The Big Lie

When I first started getting migraine attacks, I had the distinct advantage of being surrounded by loved ones who recognized the symptoms and validated my pain. You would think that with all that support, I would have a lifetime of good migraine management. Yet in the first 25 years of my life, I heard more lies than truths about migraine.

The biggest lie of all was that I had a “migraine personality” that would doom me to a lifetime of painful attacks. It was my curse for being born smart, motivated, and independent. That explanation never did fly with me. It didn’t make any sense. I could name dozens of first and second-degree relatives with personalities exactly opposite of mine who lived with horrible migraine attacks. I don’t remember who first told me about this “theory” but I remember not buying it one bit.

Frankly, these personality traits that were so carelessly blamed for my lot in life might actually be the very factors that have kept me sane all these years.

  • A thirst for knowledge drove me to keep looking for answers even when everyone around me said to give up.
  • I possess a stubborn refusal to accept a life of constant attacks with no hope for improvement. My brain just can’t get stuck in helpless mode. I’ve been there on vacation many times, but I always come home.
  • A burning desire to have an impact on the world around me would not let me quit and accept an invisible life of pain locked inside my house forever.
  • My insatiable desire to help others forced me to share what I learned with others, which also took my mind off my own troubles and kept me out of that “woe is me” rut.

If that’s what they call a “migraine personality” then I’ll take it any day. Without these traits, I would have suffered a lot more.

Your turn

Have you ever been told that your personality caused migraine? How did you respond? What personality traits do you have that are strengths when coping with migraine?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Endless Search
    3 years ago


    Thanks so very much for response back to me. It made my day a little brighter! Also, thanks for the links. I will certainly do more reading about our disease. The best to you. Bonnie

  • Endless Search
    3 years ago

    Hi Tammy,

    I so desperately want the medical world to pinpoint exactly what causes migraines. I have read everything from researchers don’t know what causes migraines to migraines are a genetic biological disease. I want the validation that I do have a true disorder or disease which by definition is through no fault of my own. I have felt so isolated over the past 30 years because I know that some family members and coworkers think that I must be emotionally weak and therefore get migraine headaches. I have been asked numerous times if my doctors have figured out why I get migraines or what is wrong with me. In addition, I get the laundry list of remedies that others think I should try to get “cured”. It is frustrating because people with asthma or diabetes or epilepsy would never be questioned as to the legitimacy of their diseases. When I read that migraine is a disease, I feel validated for the years and years of pain and suffering I have had. However, when I read that doctors aren’t sure what causes migraine I feel a sense of doom and question myself as to why I have this dreadful companion who will not stop harassing and torturing me.

  • Tammy Rome author
    3 years ago

    Like you, I found great relief and comfort when I learned that migraine is a disease. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. Just remember that doctors aren’t sure what causes a lot of diseases. That doesn’t make them any less real. Even when the cause of a disease is known, there may or may not yet be a cure. We will get there with migraine someday.

    I’ve read many studies that include fMRI and PET scans that PROVE migraine is real, the attacks are not our imagination, and that there are actual differences in the brain even between attacks. I have included several links to articles that offer this proof. Do not ever let anyone challenge the truth of your disease, especially a doctor. The proof has existed for a long time. Anyone who believes otherwise (IMO) is an ignorant troll. The proof of migraine’s existence as a neurobiological disease is abundant. Only a fool would ignore the truth.

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