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How to Turn the Corner When You’re Feeling Down

How to Turn the Corner When You’re Feeling Down

When fending off the severe and relentless pain related to migraine, it can be very hard to remember times of wellness. However, doing so is key when it comes to managing life with this disease. The truth is, migraine can involve a roller coaster ride of gut wrenching pain followed by windows of clarity and wellness. How do we keep our eye on the horizon and maintain the important perspective that pain will pass when it is all consuming?

When pain pulls us under

Most of us can recall times we have lost our perspective and felt consumed by migraine. The relentless nature of migraine with its related and comprehensive symptoms are enough to bring anyone to their knees. Vomiting for multiple days, not being able to sleep, an inability to handle light and sound means that there’s nowhere we can go to get comfortable. Any movement exacerbates the pain so we are left paralyzed and simply wait for the pain to pass. Minutes move like molasses and turn into hours; hours can turn into days. Before we know it, we can’t remember what “normal life” is like.

Be gentle – be compassionate

When we are in the trenches and fighting off a migraine attack, we can add to the challenge by being hard on ourselves for missing out on our responsibilities. During this period of time, it can help to treat ourselves like we would treat a loved one in pain. Let yourself off the hook. Do what your body needs to be comfortable and get through this time.

Ask for help

Asking for help can be hard when we are at our lowest. When the pain is keeping us from seeing straight, it is easy to lose sight of the horizon. It can also be difficult to remember that we have support within our reach. Being in constant pain can challenge anyone emotionally. Add to that depression, a common comorbidity, and it’s possible to lose our perspective and sense of hope. Additionally, migraine is incredibly isolating and does a number on our ability to foster and nourish our relationships. We are frequently left with a short list of friends and family members waiting in the wings to help. Regardless of the length of that list, it is important to mobilize those folks during our lows.

Waving a white flag

Try sending out a brief text or email to one or two key people – to symbolically wave a white flag. A one sentence message that simply says “I’m struggling and could use you checking in with me once a day for the next few hours/days until this storm lifts”. Additionally, spend some time on to read articles and comment on other people’s materials as a way of starting a dialogue. Remembering that we’re part of a community of millions who are struggling with migraine can be incredibly reassuring when we’re feeling isolated and sad.

A good therapist can be a rich resource

If things are particularly tough, consider calling a therapist. I’m of the mind that it’s a smart idea to have an established relationship with a therapist if you are living with chronic pain. It’s a very challenging reality to navigate and having a good therapist who knows you can be a rich resource in times of need.

Reaching out for help during dark times

Lastly, for those incredibly dark moments, it’s important to remember that there’s a suicide hotline available 24/hours a day by phone 1-800-273-8255 and now available by online chat as well. It is possible to lose perspective as to the importance of life when we are battling such severe and relentless pain, so having that number to call is never a bad idea if you find yourself in a corner.

Record well moments

Finally, take the time to record the times that the pain lifts. These can serve as an important reminder and provide perspective in times of suffering. Take a video of yourself taking a walk and describing feeling well, and watch it if you feel deeply pained and sad about the situation. Or write down a description of one of the days when the intensity of a migraine finally breaks and you feel better. We all have felt that incredible moment when everything feels all the more incredible because we simply can see straight for the first time in days.

Do you have thoughts about how to turn the corner when you’re feeling down? Please share them here so we can learn from each other.

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.


  • jt24p6
    2 months ago

    I recommend seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist. I saw one for pain, depression, and anxiety and was impressed with the results. They teach you techniques for dealing with problems. In my experience it’s much more effective than expensive, long-lasting talk therapy.

  • April.Sluder moderator
    2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this @jt24p6. I’m glad you found something that was helpful. April – Team

  • kim8868
    1 year ago

    It took me quite a few tries to find a great therapist. Just when I was ready to give up, I found one of the best. My suggestion is, keep trying. I see her once a week and have for months now. That’s pretty much what’s helping me get through this last year. I’ve had a lot of pain and also loss. It helps to talk to someone that is there to listen and not judge you for the daily pain.

  • Holly Harding Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you so much for offering this encouragement and advice. It is very helpful to hear how accessing therapy has been useful to you- and how it’s important to keep looking to find the right person. Would you mind offering some guidance as to how you found the right therapist? What resources did you use? Thanks again.

  • CobyMeg
    1 year ago

    It’s incredibly hard to turn the corner when you are down. Turning to your loyal band of friends and loved ones isn’t always an answer because you feel that you are gradually wearing them down with your ongoing misery. My current migraine is of 62 days duration. Can’t keep texting my friends for help.

    Personally I have found the suicide line useless. I have never finished a call to them (and I have made half a dozen or so). True I am near hysterical by the time I make the call but the interminable wait for the call to be answered and then the (seemingly) dispassionate, disconnected, formulaic voice of the responder unhinges me. I find therapists to be similar. Good luck to anyone that finds a good one.

    Sorry for the negativity but there’s no easy answer.

  • Holly Harding Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Dear CobyMeg- You are right. There are no easy answers. So many of us are battling emotional pain a top physical pain. It’s wonderful that you are continuing to seek solutions. 62 days in- what an intense attack.

    I am grateful to you for sharing your real world experience with the lifeline. I certainly hope that is not the case for all. And you’re right, finding a good therapist IS hard. It really is a journey – but in my experience, it’s a worthy one. The challenge is that finding one when we are at our lowest can be the most difficult time to make a connection.

    Have you tried any of the online support groups that facebook has to offer? I know that there are several. Also, many of us are juggling clinical depression atop migraine (a frequent comorbid condition) so discussing the low, lows with a physician and our migraine specialist can lead to new resources and solutions including SSRI medications. They don’t work for all, but have helped many. Are you working with a migraine specialist? They are the best trained to help manage this complex neurological disease.

    Can you share any strategies that have worked for you?

    One thing is for sure, you are not alone. – (read the comment section as well).

    Thinking of you and so glad you are a part of our community. Please stay in touch.

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