To Push Through or Not...THAT is the Migraine Question!
Last updated: April 2023
One of the greatest challenges that many of us face when living with a chronic disease like migraine is figuring out when to “push through” and when to stop. I find myself torn between trying to listen to my body and rest when necessary and yet not wanting to “give in” to this monster that keeps trying to take over my life. Figuring out that balance can be challenging, and I wish I could say that my life is a success story when it comes to that.
How is migraine like a rollercoaster?
Sadly, the reality is that life with migraine is often like a rollercoaster. We figure something out and then realize it isn’t working as we want it to. We think that things are under better control, and then everything goes starts falling apart. We feel confident that we’ve finally found the “right balance,” and then all of a sudden, something new or unexpected gets added, and we’re back to square one. It’s an ongoing challenge for sure, and if any of the above sounds like you, then YOU’RE DEFINITELY NOT ALONE! Here are five tips that help me figure out when to push through, when to stop, and how to get things back on track:
Why should you make your health a priority?
Living with migraine often means that being kind to yourself gets put on the back burner. However, making your health a priority is NOT selfish; it is NOT giving in to the disease. Being kind to yourself is realistic because it means that you are acknowledging that you live with a complex neurological disorder for which there is no cure. It is smart because it means you recognize there are things you can do to help yourself or to make things worse. It is forward-thinking because it acknowledges that what you do TODAY impacts how you feel and what you can do TOMORROW.
Why shouldn't you be embarrassed by migraine?
This may sound obvious, but the struggle to be honest, is all too real. We often hide how we feel or how sick we are, even over-medicating in a desperate attempt to keep going. It could mean a reluctance to take a medication or use a medical device around others. And it could mean not wanting to share how much certain things trigger our attacks, such as scents, bright light, exercise, or food – resulting in attacks that may even have been avoided. There’s no blame or shame here – just acknowledging that being honest about migraine can be tough!
Why should you ask for help when you need it?
Life with migraine can be stressful, emotional, depressing, exhausting, and often overwhelming. What this means is that it’s important to get help when you need it. Preferably before you are completely overwhelmed and feel as though life isn’t worthwhile. Talking to a therapist or health coach can make a huge difference. It can provide a much-needed place to be heard and help with tips on how best to manage emotional stress. Talking to someone is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength and courage!
Why should you connect with others for support?
The impact of connecting with others who truly “get it” cannot be overstated! Talking with others who live with the same challenges means discovering that you are not alone, different, or worthless. Finding a safe place to vent and seeing someone else write “gentle hugs” can be incredibly healing. Discovering tips and ideas to better manage life with migraine from others who are on this journey is empowering!
Why should you research your treatment options?
It’s easy to lose hope when treatments fail us or our migraine attacks suddenly get more frequent, more severe, or have new and scary symptoms. We may even find ourselves “freezing” and going into survival mode. Exploring what is out there can help restore hope. Migraine advocacy communities provide a wealth of information on treatment options, things that are in the clinical pipeline, talks and interviews with world-renowned headache specialists, and much more. Researching what is out there and advocating for yourself puts some of the control back into your hands and helps make the future a little bit brighter.
So let us know if this is something you struggle with. Have you figured out when to push through and when to stop? Have you tried any of these tips for yourself, and have they made a difference in helping you manage your migraine?
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?