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My Worsening Migraine and Depression

I’ve suffered with migraine for about ten years, but have never really had any issues with depression. That’s what I used to think. When my migraine presented itself as episodic the depression was not so easy to detect. I was working a full-time job. It took up most of my time, and my family life and commitments used up the rest of my waking hours. I guess I was just so busy and into a routine that I didn’t notice the depression.

Not aware I was depressed

At the time I had a low awareness of the ever-looming emptiness that is depression. I was getting quite accustomed to pushing myself alone and self-care was the last thing on my mind most days. I do remember feeling the fatigue and general tiredness that I experienced surrounding a migraine attack, but I never attributed it to depression. My daughter suffered from depression so I thought I knew what it was but I was wrong.

The downward spiral

As my migraine disease worsened my attitude started changing as well. It had to. I knew I was going to have to fully recognize that my migraine condition was getting worse. I was on a downward spiral into chronic migraine. I was missing more days at work, and the days I was there were less productive.

I was half sick most days in that I was either recovering from a migraine attack or rolling into another one. It was during these days I really felt the downward pull of depression settling into my being. It was more and more of a struggle to constantly rally myself not to mention my work team every day. I was focused on keeping going and just treating my migraines. I thought if they were under control the depression I was feeling would ebb.

Disappointments due to migraine

Depression didn’t go away as I had hoped. Treating migraine is hard. It’s trial and error chocked full of disappointment from failed therapies, drugs that weren’t tolerated, and countless tests that showed little or nothing at all. The migraine alone was not depressing enough! The journey for me had so many let downs. It seemed like all the wins were in favor of the disease having its way with my body and my life.

I began to mourn the things I was losing to migraine. This is where I noticed depression really getting a foothold in my life. The more frequent my attacks were becoming the harder it was to fight off depression. In May of 2018, I began an intractable cycle of migraine. I was forced to go out on disability at my job of twenty-four years. That’s when depression had me gripped tight.

I was sidelined from my job

I was fighting for my job from the sidelines. Disability was paid to me from my employer, but only for a month and then denied forcing me into unpaid disability just so I could keep my job alive in the hopes the migraine cycle would break and I could return to work. This battle only added more fuel to the depression fire I was undergoing. There were many days when getting out of bed was a struggle. Waking up each day hoping there would be no pain, no other nasty migraine related baggage, or the like was the new routine.

It is no wonder why people who suffer from migraine have comorbidities like depression. It’s almost a given for many of us. I continue to fight for pieces of life lost to migraine and depression. I encourage all who read this to never lose hope. Keep fighting because life is worth living even if we have to do it with migraine and it’s baggage.

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.


  • Aaron Atkisson
    2 months ago

    This story is so relatable Still dealing with depression, anxiety, chronic intractable migraine and cluster headaches. I lost my career to these things. I’ve been fighting for disability for the last 4 years but to no avail.

  • blueangel1980
    2 months ago

    This story is almost exactly how I lost my job to my migraines. This hit home, but it helps to know I am not alone even when I feel like I am.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    This article resonates with me too. You are definitely not alone with this. Feel free to come back and join us in our discussions.
    ~ Peggy ( team)

  • Kenny5
    9 months ago

    Thank you for posting this. Although I have not suffered from depression I can see how this could affect those of us with migraine. Migraine is a constant battle and while I don’t dwell on it or worry (well at least try not to worry) I can see where constant beat down from migraine could lead to depression for many. Thanks for posting

  • glassmind
    9 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a challenge to maintain mental health when struggling with physical health also. The same factors that caise a decline or increase in wellness for the body do so for the mind and vise versa. Your articles always elevate awareness. Thank you again.

  • nowIknow
    9 months ago

    Hello Tom!
    This is my first post. I want to say that I can relate to what you shared here. Depression is comorbid to many health conditions it seems. I have suffered with depression for many years as well as suffered with migraines for many years. I am newly diagnosed with the migraine part of it and it came as a complete surprise. Depression is a sneaky thing. When I go into an episode of depression I don’t know it until I am on my way out. I always say I need to create a little booklet to read for such times. A booklet that shares what things help because while in it I completely forget what helps. Anyway. Just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone and say thanks for posting it!

  • Luna
    9 months ago

    Well stated.

    “The migraine alone was not depressing enough!” “The journey for me had so many let downs. ”
    “the ever-looming emptiness that is depression.”

    Depression, grief and acceptance all are part of this fight we have every day. Distraction helps me but many times the depression and grief tries to overwhelm. Never give up for lose hope!

  • Luna
    9 months ago

    Never give up or lose hope!

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