Raising Compassion One Person at a Time
One of our community members recently shared the following comment about the way she is approaching the challenge of raising awareness about migraine among her circle of friends, family and coworkers:
“Being honest can be helpful”
“I have found being honest can be helpful. I can’t control if others will take the time to understand what migraines are or how they perceive me. But what I can control is how I talk about migraines and how I educate others on what so many go through. So, recently I started to openly talk about migraines and everything that comes with it on my personal social media platforms and have it as an open discussion. That way if someone wants to ask a question, they can. I post about everything from information on what migraines are, to secondary symptoms to even how migraines affect my everyday life, mentally and physically. One of my most appreciated posts was how family members and friends can help someone they know who suffers from migraines. Doing this has allowed others to share their stories as well as help educate those who want to take the time to learn how to be compassionate.”
Tackling lack of understanding, one social circle at a time
This is a wonderful way to raise awareness and compassion. By doing so, she is setting a great example for others to follow. More often than not, the insensitivity and judgment we receive about migraine disease is born primarily out of ignorance and a lack of understanding. Perhaps one migraineur at a time, finding our own ways to inform our circles of friends, families, and coworkers about the disease, we will make a meaningful difference.
What works for you?
That said, doing so is not for everyone. Informing and educating others takes energy and time (as the community member outlined above). She really dedicates herself to this effort with an energy that some people with migraine do not always have. And perhaps, for her, it may not be a consistent effort that can be made. Some may try to make this type of effort with their social circles just to be greeted with misunderstanding or further judgement in the process.I've always tried sending articles that resonate particularly strongly with me to my friends and family members as a way to raise their awareness or to start dialogue. We each have to find whatever way works best for us.
Choosing how to spend our time
As we all know, migraine can be deeply depleting. We each must choose how to spend what little energy we have. Whether it’s spending time in nature, with a pet, watching a movie, or listening to a podcast, restoration and rejuvenation are important goals when living with a complex neurological disease. If educating others is a depleting task, it's best left to others.
However, if we choose to spend some of our time raising awareness on migraine, and find it to be energy-giving, we may also find that we are helping to build a more sensitive, understanding world. In so doing, we ourselves may benefit from our efforts, which is ultimately a move toward self-care as well.
Trickle down compassion and kindness
Using this tact of educating others and raising awareness might not only help improve the way you are treated- but there is a trickle down dynamic that can follow. Those you educate may be more kind to other migraineurs because they are more likely to understand the disease and they in turn may educate others on the topic. And on it goes!
Have you ever tried an approach like this with your circle of friends, coworkers and family? Has it worked or backfired? Let us hear from you in the comment section below so we can learn from one another.
How much has your migraine disease changed or evolved over time?