Unexpected Gifts of a Regimented Migraine Life

Unexpected Gifts of a Regimented Migraine Life

Are you:

  • Going to sleep at the same time every night
  • Waking up at the same time every morning
  • Eating at regular intervals
  • Avoiding all dietary triggers (smoking, alcohol, dairy, gluten, nuts, sugar, etc.)
  • Taking your medications on time (but never too much)

For the chronic migraineur, perhaps the best chance for fewer flare-ups is a regimented life that includes a strict sleep schedule, eating regularly, careful avoidance of triggers, and a healthy diet. Accepting this reality can be a challenge and may cause us to feel that we are giving up our freedom. However, our views might change after time spent living within these confines, if we experience a decrease in pain and frequency in our migraine attacks. Indeed, we may even come to see some of these limitations as an odd but effective way to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Acceptance

When a migraine specialist gives us the aforementioned list and asks us to restrict our lives in order to have the best chance at preventing flare ups, it can feel like a big ask. After all, our lives may already feel so small due to the many limitations the condition places upon us. We are known for canceling plans. We have learned to avoid noisy restaurants and concert venues. Now our doctors want us to go to bed early and at the same time every night, restrict what we eat, yet take care to eat regularly, etc. But that’s just it. When we really think about it, our doctors aren’t actually asking any more of us than our bodies are. If we listen carefully, our bodies are likely already asking us to go to bed earlier, to sleep longer, and to eat more frequently. Indeed, some migraine flare-ups might be the body’s way of telling us it needs more care and focus. In truth, the condition is already causing us to live in a restricted manner.

Giving up freedom to get freedom

It can be hard to accept the idea that we can’t stay out until 3am without repercussion; that we can’t eat whatever we want; or, have a couple of glasses of wine with friends without ending up with a major attack the next day. We watch friends enjoying these life pleasures without effect and it can feel unfair.

However, once we own up to the fact that for many of us, these actions almost inevitably lead to more attacks, we might reframe these limitations and learn to embrace certain restrictions because they are our best chance for freedom from pain.

I’ve gotten to the point that I’m no longer bitter if I can’t partake in a glass of beer or a piece of birthday cake, because I’m clear that these activities will lead to pain for me. My happiness, instead, comes from the fact that I’m simply able to be present. I’m there! After years of missing out and not being able to be at the party, I am celebrating the fact that I’m able to be there at all.

And there lies one of the great gifts of migraine. The way it makes us grateful in ways that few others can be. We take nothing for granted because we know what it’s like to be sidelined, home alone in a dark room while others are living it up. So, ultimately, I’ve learned to do what I must so I can increase my chances of being there. Better sleep and a better diet are ultimately healthier choices anyway. Ultimately living with care is small price to pay if it means I’m more likely to be able to show up for those important moments in life.

What about you? How do you feel about living a regimented life? Is it something you try to accept or push against? Everyone is different and we are all learning from one another – tell us where you are in your journey!

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

Comments

View Comments (38)
  • Hendrix12
    1 year ago

    I believe that migraines have taught me to appreciate moments of solitude and feeling okay with spending time alone. I have appreciated time to myself since I was a child. The severe pain that I often endure and endured made me more of an observer. I didn’t participate in a lot of group activities, because I saw value in things that others didn’t and had a keen focus on human behavior and was always able to separate frivolous concerns and activities from something more important. I can sit quietly just sit observing nature or art and intensely feel connected with it, when others would be bored. This is especially true when you realize the pain is gone and you feel that euphoric exuberant appreciation of that moment. Does this make any sense to anyone?

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hendrix12- this makes SO much sense. Your articulation of being an acute observer of life- an ACTIVE observer, rather than a passive one, is spot on and I’m sure is one with which many of us can relate. And yes! The moment when the pain lifts! Ah. What a moment. We are awake in a way perhaps others are not. Maybe this is akin to people who are blind or deaf- whose other senses are more heightened because they have to be- for us, perhaps we are more observant than others because we’re often times unable to partake? Love your take on this. Thank you for sharing. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Hendrix12
    1 year ago

    I’ve often wondered if there are personality traits that are more prevalent in migraine sufferers. Have there been any studies regarding this? Anyone?

  • Hendrix12
    1 year ago

    I believe that migraines have taught me to appreciate moments of solitude and feeling okay with spending time alone. I have appreciated time to myself since I was a child. The severe pain that I often endure and endured made me more of an observer. I didn’t participate in a lot of group activities, because I saw value in things that others didn’t and had a keen focus on human behavior and was always able to separate concerns and activities from something more important. I can sit quietly just sit observing nature or art and intensely feel connected with it, when others would be bored. This is especially true when you realize the pain is gone and you feel that euphoric exuberant appreciation of that moment. Does this make any sense to anyone?

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi Hendrix12- Great question on the topic of personality traits that are prevalent among migraineurs.There have been studies on the issue. We have an article that tackles the subject/study here: https://migraine.com/living-migraine/why-the-migraine-personality-is-total-bunk/ . Hope this helps! Thanks for the question. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Marcus
    1 year ago

    After having episodic migraines since I was a little kid, and then exactly on last week of July 1994 they became transformed new daily migraines (41 at the time). I won’t bore you with my journey, but I’ve always been a take charge person. All triggers have been removed. When I take my wife out to eat on a date, I only order a safe soda. Same thing if taking my son and family out to eat. Only trigger not addressed is passing weather fronts.

    I’ve seen every conceivable traditional medical specialists, and every conceivable non-traditional ones—ever try cranium-sacral therapy? Same for all preventives, abortives and supplements, and combos thereof. Even botox. Pulsating devices. Gobs of migraine websites. You’ve so far have been for the most part very safe, and I commend our facilitators for encouraging comments, along with understanding without judgment!

    I’m a month from qualifying for Medicare, though I ended up retiring much earlier than I had hoped. Then again, my chronic thrice a day breakthrough migraines, where for about the last 8 years my chronic daily migraine disease had become intractable or refractory, I was close to a burnout.

    But years before it had already shredded my first marriage of 26 years, and made a mockery of what I thought was my relationship with my daughter, carrying right on to my first two grandkids, her children. By then I had also already had to part with 75% of what was a thriving financial advisory practice. Maybe most difficult was having to say goodbye to 35 years of joyous active participation in spiritual ministries within my Christian church community, first as a professional parish pastor, then as a business and home health care chaplain, and then for even more years as a very active lay leader and worship leader.

    I trembled the most when my disease finally kept me from attending church, something I had done as a baby, as I came from a long family of church pioneers in South Brazil—almost 60 years. I miss it more than anything else I’ve had to walk away from. Which now includes having sold almost two years ago the final 25% of my financial advisory practice.

    Then I began to realize that it was stealing that which has been most precious to me than foods, my energy, participating in social or even family events, my business, my first marriage, being close to my daughter, being active in church, or even being able to join a community of believers and seekers alike in public worship at a church. It was eating away at my faith in my Lord, Savior, and best friend, Jesus. Whom I had come to experience a complete and total surrender of my life, my plans, my hope and my dreams, ever since a cold New England January during my sophomore year in college, at the start of a revival which swept my church denomination in 1971 (about the same time as when the Jesus Movement was breaking out in the West Coast).

    I’m happy to say that is one thing this disease DID NOT SUCCEED in taking from me. And I’m eternally grateful for a life companion who married me in spite of my disabling disease even AFTER I had downsized my business by that 75%! She has been so supportive of my quest for solutions, and accepting of my current status. In fact, she’s the one that noticed my growing burnout, and my need to retire early.

    I praise God that my son, who had become a financial advisor practitioner with the same financial planning firm as I, once he graduated from college (he was part of a somewhat large group practice while I had all along been a sole practitioner), BOUGHT my practice almost two years ago, enabling me to afford to retire early. And I’m ever so grateful that the two little boys he and his wife have—well, we’re very much part of their lives. Due to my chronic migraines, I no longer travel back to Brazil or to further lands such as Alaska, Hawaii, and a good chunk of the northern part of Western Europe. Nor take driving trips throughout this great country of ours here in the US (48 out of all 50 States), plus Canada and Mexico. But we still take long weekend trips to Nashville, where my son and family live.

    This has been too painful and a very nasty thief of a disease—painful physically (my health care team and I make sure I don’t needlessly experience any kind of extended physical suffering—I’ve had enough of that already; and we have effective strong abortives for when one begins to become a runaway breakthrough; ERs must always be an almost absolute rarity, though it happens).
    It has also taken much of my physical, emotional and spiritual energies. I’m not a complete recluse, but most days I never leave the house. I can better manage my chronic daily symptoms and breakaway migraines, so they don’t become a runaway train wreck.

    I know. It seems like I didn’t spare many details. Trust me, I haven’t told you a fifth of what my journey has been.
    I don’t believe in positive thinking as a magic cure. I prefer being realistic. Be honest with myself and those close to me that my migraine disease might not kill, but it sure can and does steal.
    I try to celebrate with each of you that try a few or many of the things I’ve tried, and find something that works, or decreases the frequency, or the like. But I won’t lie and say it is easy to read it, and know each one didn’t work for me.
    But in my book, I’d say try all you can. Be realistic. Go with open eyes. Read or listen all you can. Be your own advocate, if you are so inclined. Or else you’ll need to find someone who will. Don’t wait on health care providers. Their plate is full. Hold them accountable, but don’t wait for them.

    Accept as you can handle it. Find a talk therapist, because your plate will also become full. And be open to help bigger than you or anyone else in this world. You need not walk alone!!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Dear Marcus,
    What a gift you have given our community by sharing your story with your heart wide open. It is something that will help guide and support others on their journeys to read about the way you navigated the difficult terrain that is migraine. I’m grateful for your honesty and, as someone who has had migraine for over forty years, I can relate to much of what you wrote (and yes, I’ve tried craniosacral therapy!). Thanks again for opening your history and your heart for our community to learn from. I’d like to remind you that you, also, are not alone. We are glad you are here with us. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Bamavic
    1 year ago

    I definitely see that migraine, although something I would never wish to have, has had beneficial effects on my life. In my youth, I did a lot of binge drinking before learning that I just did not seem to tolerate alcohol as well as many of my drinking buddies. Some of those drinking buddies went on to become alcoholics–as I may have had I not been forced to stop drinking by migraine. I also adopted many changes in diet and exercise that have given me a body that looks much younger than the 72 years of my actual age. I adopted regular meditation and other spiritual practices hoping that might help me find a way out of migraine pain. I still have migraine but, who knows, maybe with less pain than would be the case had I not adopted those practices. And the benefits of those practices extend far beyond just migraine. I could go on, but suffice it to say, while in some ways a curse, migraine has forced me into a sustaining lifestyle that has many benefits. I am just grateful that medications exist today (primarily triptans) that work effectively to control my pain and make my life much more productive than would have been the case prior to their development.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Bamavic- Thank you so much for chiming in! I appreciate you sharing the way that this condition, even though it has imposed many restrictions on your life, has in turn, strangely benefitted you for the better in terms of having a healthy body and existence. I don’t think this happens for everyone, or immediately.

    Many people fight the idea of giving up what are seen as freedoms (alcohol, sugar, staying up late, smoking, etc). Some continue to do these things almost as a protest against having migraine (“You already give me pain every day. You can’t also make me stop doing _____”. Eventually, perhaps we are forced to stop because of the pain, but many times we also choose to embrace a calmer and quieter life that involves meditation, a healthy diet, and exercise. Doing so becomes a way to have some control over migraine, I think. By asserting ourselves and making healthy choices, we stop feeling that we are in the passenger seat of our lives and climb into the driver’s seat, where we belong.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful comment. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Marijo
    1 year ago

    Where am I in my journey? Still too new to know all my triggers, but regular sleep always helps! Dietary triggers don’t seem serious, but stress….well that’s a big one! I long for a regimented lifestyle!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi Marijo, Thanks so much for joining the discussion. It sounds like you are starting to figure out some major triggers even though you are new to the Migraine thing. Just by stating that you know how important regular sleep can be and that food doesn’t seem to be a major trigger for you, and that stress is a big one shows that you are paying attention.

    If you long for a regimented lifestyle and feel that it will help you with your migraine attacks, it might serve you to try keeping a migraine diary. Especially if you are relatively new to the condition. Gathering more information about what triggers your attacks will help clarify where in your life you need to tread with more care. You can then create a plan of action/response for when you encounter your triggers which can help you feel a bit more in control of a disease that often leaves us feeling out of control. So glad you are a part of our community! Stay in touch. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • CinderMic
    1 year ago

    I was working toward a more structured life then it felt like reality drove a tank in and parked. I went from part-time caregiver to 24/7 for my Mother. I was in anger at having to change my whole life because of migraine. I had to leave my career, lost friends – who didn’t understand, lost my finacial independence and lived in fear I would suffer

  • Marijo
    1 year ago

    CinderMic, this is amazing that you did this for your mother! You will be blessed! There are many programs in the states for help. Call the local non 911…in my state of Indiana it is 311. They can lead you to community organizations that will help you. Also, local churches can often help in ways that are Devine. Reach out, and you may be joyfully surprised!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi CinderMic- thank you so much for joining the conversation. I’m sorry to hear that your family is not acknowledging all you are facing and have been through. Migraine is a complex neurological condition that is misunderstood by many as “just a headache”. Sometimes sharing an article or two from this site with family members or friends can help educate them about the realities of the condition. I’m glad you are a part of our community where you can see that you are not alone. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • CinderMic
    1 year ago

    A stroke. It took 7 years but I stsrted to move to change my life start over with built in regiment. Then family called. My Mother think migraines are excuse for not being able to do everything. Some of my family doesn’t understand my condition even though I grew up with it. So they aren’t helping with caregiving. I am on

  • OlPossum
    1 year ago

    I have so many freaking triggers the worst being bed time. 😛 My body has a natural clock that is set to sleep at 7 a.m. I have had issues with bed time since I was a child. Sleeping pills don’t work (though Ambien did start giving me sleep paralysis which is no fun.) I have yet to figure out how to go to bed at an even semi reasonable time. Having a loud sleeper in bed with me doesn’t help!! I wear earplugs but it only attenuates hubby’s sleep sounds. I think I’ve tried everything. Now I just try to make sure I get at least eight hours. It usually takes me 12-14 hours to get that! 😛

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi OlPossum- Great points raised around the importance of sleep! So many of us struggle with this trigger (and with noisy sleep mates). I thought you might be interested in this link to several articles we have on this topic (though it does sound like you’ve tried everything. https://migraine.com/?s=sleep&submit=Go
    Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team)

  • 3jaleet
    1 year ago

    I have known for a long time that following a regimented lifestyle would be good for me. I have always stayed away from alcohol and other culprits, such as loud parties, late night etc. unfortunately, I’ve always been surrounded by friends who just don’t get it, and are no longer a part of my life. They’ve been offended by my lack of attendance, or found my no alcohol consumption odd, and cancellations insulting. I don’t hear from them anymore. Nor do I want people in my life that cause stress. I have had several migraines with numbing and tingling, admitted to hospitals for a possible stoke. Thank God it was never that. Being that I have had several people in my life that have had to deal with cancer or brain tumors, I considered it a small price to pay. Trying to be positive is my new motto, and I try to stop and smell the roses on a good day. However, there is an underlying bitter voice that can arise and resent that people without migraine or chronic pain feel good, happy, more often.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    3jaleet – I really appreciated your comment- I believe many of us can relate to what you shared. I thought you might find this article of interest on the topic of the dynamic of canceling with friends:https://migraine.com/blog/constant-cancellations-the-rare-friend-who-can-navigate/
    The pain related to migraine can indeed be terrifying- and I’m glad you’ve never had anything related to a stroke or cancer/tumors. It’s great to push yourself to find the positive if you can and also very valid to feel bitter about all that migraine takes away. You are not alone in any of this and I’m glad you’re a part of our community. Please stay in touch! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Kathy
    1 year ago

    You are so right!! I have done just that! I go to bed at 11pm and get up at 7.30 or there about almost without fail. I have slowed my social life. I am now eating pain free foods only! So incredibly healthy looking it’s untrue!! I have only done it for one month so far but I have already seen an enormous improvement! Yes it’s restictive , yes it’s bland, but hey if that’s the price for no
    migraine pain then I’m on board!! Some people are much worse off than me and so I’m grateful for any help and advice Thanks so much Holly

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi Kathy- So glad this article resonated with you and that you are finding substantial relief after a month of focusing on what sounds like very healthy living. That’s wonderful to hear. Happy you’re a part of our community! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Inoexactlywhatumean
    1 year ago

    I am with AmalC here. Bitter. There is nothing to celebrate. Migraine has no gift to offer. It cost me my marriage, and I am so sick of people offering advice and/or telling me about someone else they know who used to get migraines but they “just went away.” Better yet, those who had “a migraine once.” Really?

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Inoexactlywhatumean- Yes! Those stories get very old for those of us with chronic migraine to hear. How many phone numbers or email addresses have I been given by well-meaners for people who are “on the other side” of migraine? I don’t know because I’ve thrown them all away immediately. I’m glad you’re here, in a place where others can relate. This is a rough, complex, exhausting condition and one that requires a good support system both online and in real life. Hoping you have some people in your life with whom you can vent. Stay in touch- Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • AmalC
    1 year ago

    I am so very bitter about everything I have had to give up thanks to this condition. Very bitter. I do, however, still live somewhat of the life I want. At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and say I wish I had done this or that, I don’t want to look back and say that chronic daily migraine limited me so much.

    I accept that I have a lot of pain from red wine so I don’t drink it. I don’t like sugar, so I don’t eat it but I make those choices based on what I can do to substitute it. I work to mitigate but it doesn’t alleviate the deep bitterness I feel.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    AmalC- I’m so glad you voiced this frustration. It is very real and felt by all of us either constantly or at various times. Feeling robbed by migraine is universal. If we conform to all of the limitations placed on us by chronic migraine, we can be left feeling that our life is very small. I have had the same feelings as you in that I don’t want to be full of regret when I look back at my life in thinking that migraine has limited me from experiencing so much. I desperately try to reframe the way I look at the experiencing of life so that I won’t feel that way. I might not be able to travel round the world, but I can love the heck out of the people in my life, for instance.

    And when we become really familiar with our triggers, sometimes, just sometimes, we have to throw caution to the wind- and live a little (go out and have a picnic in the sun for a half hour- drink a beer, stay out late, etc) – even knowing that we will have a major migraine attack the next day because of it. To me, that’s part of accepting migraine too.

    I’m glad you’re here. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • texotexere
    1 year ago

    I think most of my acceptance issues tend to come from not wanting to stand out. It’s hard having most people’s first impressions often including needing special accommodations or learning some of the restrictions. I’m doing some freelance work for where my sister works this weekend. Since it involves food and she has some coworkers who love scented products, they are trying to be accommodating and asking people to not wear scented things or bring chocolate to the day long meeting (even things cross contaminated with chocolate will set off severe migraines and vertigo), but they are telling everyone the reason why. So now I have to go and stand in front of a group of people where most of them only know me as the reason they can’t have chocolate or perfume.

  • dani416
    1 year ago

    I know exactly how you feel! Scents are a huge trigger for me and I just had this conversation today with a coworker who sells oils. She commented that some smells used to give her a headache. But that’s not the case anymore! I explained that it is any strong scents that trigger my migraine and she responds with a comment that someone had sprayed an oil in the nurses station ( I work in an ER) and that they said it didn’t bother me. I told her I don’t always say something because it gets awkward sometimes and I don’t like being the person who needs special treatment! Hopefully my rambling made sense! On some days I just accept that it’s going to be a rough shift or ruin my next day. I feel people just think I ” don’t like scents ” or am just being fussy.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hey texotexere- I’m so glad you shared. This is really tough and you are not alone in this. None of us like being known as the person who cancels, or the person who needs special accommodations. I’ve gotten to the point that anytime I meet a new person or start a connection with anyone (my kid’s dentist, etc), I feel the need to let them know ahead of time that there may be times that I will have to cancel last minute- and to ask about their cancellation policy to make sure we/I won’t be penalized for doing so. It’s a terrible first impression. And then actually having to call and cancel anything- I have had enough cold silences on the other end of the line to last a lifetime. I hope you will focus on and take pride in the fact that you are getting out there at all- which many of us cannot do. That is wonderful. The fact that you have taken steps to ensure that the environment will be one that will allow you to do your work effectively simply shows that you are resourceful and thinking ahead. MIgraine is the 7th leading cause of disability and it is fully fair for you to make the requests that you did. That said, I hear you that it still really sucks. Please remember you are not alone and we are here for you. So glad you are a part of our community! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • DeannaLynn
    1 year ago

    I have asked my doctor several times what habits I need to change, eat less of certain foods or exercise more. He didn’t offer any changes. I have a hard time figuring out my triggers. I know I can’t have any artificial sugar not ever sucrose. I am willing to try any lifestyle changes that will help.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi DeannaLynn- Thank you so much for joining the conversation. Keeping a headache diary is a great way to start uncovering links between pain and triggers. There are MANY triggers out there, unfortunately. (https://migraine.com/migraine-triggers/). Many that are in our control (food, drink, sleep, bright lights) and many that are not (weather, hormones, and again, stress) to name a few.

    Within each of those triggers there are ways that those triggers can work to cause an attack. For instance, certain foods might trigger an attack while others will not. Certain changes in the weather might trigger an attack, while others will not (for some it’s a rise in barometric pressure, for others it’s a drop, for others, it’s simply the change in pressure that causes an attack).

    It can really serve you to consider yourself as an investigator trying to get to the bottom of a mystery. The mystery is very complex- and that is to figure out your migraine triggers. It’s time consuming and can be a long process but is well-worth it in the end to become knowledgeable about your personal triggers. Why is this important? Because the more you understand about what causes your attacks, the better armed you become to prevent them. You can then take medication preventatively when you know you are about to encounter a trigger (such as weather or hormones) AND you steer clear of avoidable triggers altogether (food, drink, bright lights, etc).

    Here is a link to an article about connections between migraine and diet to get you started on that piece if you are interested:https://migraine.com/living-migraine/andgoodbye-sugar-too/

    Hope this helps and stay in touch! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team)

  • DeannaLynn
    1 year ago

    Thank you for your information. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back with you. I am new to the online information and regret leaving this as a last resort. Being part of migraine.com has helped me mentally. The nerve blockers that I tried a couple weeks ago did not work and a migraine followed soon after. I rarely miss a day of work but I had to this time.
    I am going to look into the article that you have linked in your message!
    Thank you again!

  • Kathy
    1 year ago

    Holly is right! Have you tried pain safe foods???

  • EVWA1
    1 year ago

    I agree that an organised, even regimented life, makes me calmer and less prey to a migraine. Even when a lovely treat is involved, like a holiday or a visit to a friend’s house, I know beforehand that the changes, especially in meal and bedtimes, will make me feel ill and dependent on medication. I’m older now and can accept the order which gives me less pain.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi EVWA1- thank you for joining the conversation. I believe there is another layer of acceptance when it comes to those lovely treats that arise from time to time. First, we accept that we must avoid them much of the time in hopes of avoiding frequent pain. But second, once we make peace with that fact, we might decide that indulging in those treats from time to time is actually worth a bumpy ride with a migraine attack so that we don’t feel like we are completely missing out. Every now and then, choosing to stay out late so that we can enjoy a concert with a dear friend, or having a wonderful piece of chocolate cake on a special occasion might just be worth the migraine the next day or two. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Caitlyn
    1 year ago

    I fluctuate back and forth with where I am in my acceptance. I only eat all natural foods, but I haven’t accepted that I probably shouldn’t be eating sugar. I also live in a community of family and friends that center socializing around local craft breweries, vineyards, and restaurants. Luckily I live in a town that is very aware of preservatives and pesticides so eating out isn’t always an issue. My friends however, do not cater to my migraine needs which leaves me at an awkward spot. At parties I either have to bring my own meal and look like a jerk refusing the offered food, or eat at home first and look like a snob refusing to eat the offered food. I get angry that I can’t go out for a drink with friends. Most of my social group prefers to spend time together later in the evening, and even though I have explained that I can’t do that, things haven’t changed (they keep waiting for the day I will be “well enough ” to go out with them again) If I want to be social then I can’t have a regimented schedule. Top all that off with my freelance career in theatre and a normal schedule isn’t an option. If I’m working a job I most likely won’t be home to start making dinner until at least 9pm (often later) , and my day job doesn’t leave room for sleeping in. I live in a constant state of exhaustion and pain with fear I will lose my job and social connections if I change my way of living any more than I already have.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi Caitlyn- Thank you so much for sharing. It sounds like your life is leaving you feeling cornered when it comes to making choices that might lead to a better balance. I often think about the connections between coming to terms with chronic migraine and the five stages of grief-those being denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You mention some of those themes above- all really normal parts of dealing with migraine- and it’s a nonlinear process, unfortunately. It sounds like you really are doing your best to navigate this incredibly complex condition while surrounded by social and employment situations that are increasing the complexity. I’ll share with you what I tell my sons who are dealing with the stress of a highly competitive high school environment: “all you can do is the best you can do”. And then the next step, as migraineurs, is to ply ourselves with compassion and reminders that we are incredibly resilient, and are demonstrating grit and deep strength just be battling such severe pain and the other confounding symptoms of migraine every single day. So, perhaps accept where you are on acceptance- we all give ourselves such a hard time on top of feeling so much pain every day. I’m so glad you’re a part of our community and hope you’ll stay in touch. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • tmoskop
    1 year ago

    This is something my husband and I were talking about this morning. I am having a hard time trying to do what I need to do in hopes that I will have fewer headaches. I have headaches everyday and when I do all I want to do is lay in bed. It’s like I don’t have any fight in me. It seems hard to have the motivation to change your habits and life when you feel bad most of the time. I hope I can change this.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    1 year ago

    HI tmoskop- I’m so glad you touched on this very real dynamic. I know when my pain is at my worst I actually feel like i deserve something sweet just to have made it through a day of intense pain! For someone to ask me to stop eating chocolate or go exercise feels infuriating when that is one kind thing I can do for myself after wrestling with severe pain 24/7. A very real and very tough reality that many of us push against. So glad you commented. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

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