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Using a smart phone during an attack

I admit that I use my iPhone way more than I wish I did. When I see other people in public using their phones instead of engaging with the world around them, I get very judgmental. “Why don’t you read a book?” I think self-righteously. “Or hey, here’s an idea—look up and smile at the people around you. Or look at the trees!”

But don’t worry: I’m not a total jerk. Within a second of having these judgmental thoughts, I realize that I myself am tethered to my phone in public and in private way more than I am comfortable with. I have this knee-jerk reaction when i’m in public looking at my phone. It’s like I want to call out, “I’m doing something important!” or “I do read a lot, I just forgot my book and I’m using this phone to keep in touch with friends, very real friends who will be here soon and with whom I will make genuine and meaningful eye contact!” People probably aren’t giving me a second glance, so why the self-judgment?

Let’s face it: it’s not for me to judge why other people are on their phones, and I need to chill out a lot when I am judging myself. It’s clear to me that when I start to feel critical of others, no matter how briefly, I’m likely reacting to something in myself that I find undesirable.

But onto the good news: sometimes smart phones and other similar technology can actually improve our lives. We just have to harness their powers for good and keep an eye on how much time we’re dedicating to a screen versus the world (especially if light, especially the blue-spectrum light emitted by phone screens, is a migraine trigger for you).

Last weekend, though, my phone was a godsend. I was not bedridden, exactly, but I was feeling too groggy, tired, and migrainey to get out of bed, power up my computer, and send off notes to my employees to let them know I was MIA for the day. Most days they don’t need hand holding from me, but on this particular day there were a lot of loose ends to tie up and time-sensitive issues I needed them to take care of.

I pulled my phone out, squinting at the brightness of the screen as I started to type out a long email full of instructions to the booksellers working at Avid that day. Wait a second, I thought. I don’t have to type this all out—I’ll dictate it! I then proceeded to press the tiny microphone symbol on the virtual keyboard and then give them verbal instructions that were converted to mostly-correct words. Within 60 seconds, I had all of my messages to my employees sent off through the air and I could close my eyes again.

Thank you, phone, for all the things you do right.

How many of you have used the powers of technology to help you function better during a 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.


  • Msmmain
    3 years ago

    I do the same thing- when my migraines are too bad to see (at all/due to light/clearly) I use my voice commands to text/email/call the people I need to get in touch with to let them know about any change of plans or if I can’t get to work.
    I ADORE that feature now that it “learns” your voice so I no longer have to repeat myself a hundred times because the migraine made my enunciation all wrong or I can’t speak loudly. It will even repeat back what it typed so that I don’t have to proof read before it sends.
    No one cares if my text-to-speach used the wrong they’re/their/there and I don’t end up with an even worse headache because I was forced to type a long email during an attack. Sometimes technology is not headache-friendly in the slightest, but sometimes it has saved my job/friendships/etc and it’s worth every penny.

  • Brooke H moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Msmmain, Thank you for taking the time to share your tip! That is excellent that your phone is able to learn your voice and assist you during an attack. It can certainly be hard to balance the pros/cons of using a cell phone during a migraine, but in this case, it sounds much more helpful than not. Thank you again. Please come here anytime for support! Best, Brooke ( team)

  • an.iron.butterfly
    3 years ago

    I use a ‘blue blocker’ app called Twilight–and for what it’s worth, I might just be reading a book or three on my phone! 🙂

    Or recording data in my migraine tracker app…or interacting with my friends who do get migraine-brain and ignoring the people around me who don’t, because sinking into my phone (or tablet) is a great escape for an introvert in pain!

  • Annie Giudicessi
    3 years ago

    If you have an iPhone that allows you to use the Night Shift mode try that. It removes the blue in the screen to try and convince our eyes that we need to sleep and not make them so tired and strained at night. It’s helped me a bit when my eyes are bothering me with a migraine, even if it’s not late at night. I know I need to stay in a dark room when my vision gets off. It’s a totally helpful feature. 🙂

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