Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

Life with migraine can feel like traveling alone to an unfamiliar country on the other side of the world. The journey can be long, lonely and stressful. People with migraines must maneuver through life with the heavy baggage of a complex neurological condition and its accompanying symptoms. Given the isolating dynamics of migraine, it’s easy to feel alone in facing these struggles. In reality, one billion people in the world have migraine; and 4 million people in America have chronic migraine.

Parlez vous anglais

Trying to help others understand our lives can feel akin to being in a foreign country, speaking a different language from those around us. Many can’t understand why things seem so challenging because the stigma that minimizes migraine as “just a headache” continues to run rampant. Even support from those more enlightened can sometimes ring hollow if they have never had a migraine in their life.

A profound relief occurs when we arrive at our destination, put our bags down, and see a familiar face.

I experienced that relief when I met my fellow Migraine.com contributors at a recent meeting. It felt like putting down several heavy suitcases. I felt lighter just being in their presence. There was no need to prove or say anything, because I knew these people understood my life in a way few others could. My body relaxes and I breathe deeper when I simply think about them. Just knowing they are in the world is a relief to me. I wouldn’t wish the kind of severe pain I experience on a daily basis on anyone, but knowing there are others in the world who have it just as bad, or worse, is like opening the door of the hotel room at the end of the longest travel day, kicking off my shoes and plopping down on the plushest, most comfy bed.

Turning us into turtles

While most chronic migraineurs do know others who have migraines, we rarely know anyone who have it as severely as we do. With 1 in 4 U.S households having a person with migraine, you would think we would all know and be well connected with one another. However, by their very nature, migraines are isolating. The condition causes us to retreat from the world. We have to block out light, sound, smells, and ultimately other people as we do our best to move through the severe pain.

Virtual support group

My migraine specialist recently mentioned that one of the primary requests he hears from his patients is for a support group. Migraineurs are thirsty to connect and relate to others in the same boat. The challenge in bringing such a wish to fruition, of course, is that most people with migraine are frequently incapable of keeping appointments. Perhaps the best way to proceed would be through an online/visual/facetime type of approach wherein participants could sign in from home regardless of their well-being at that particular moment.

Thankful for Migraine.com

I keep being reminded of, and grateful for, the depth and beauty of Migraine.com. There remains a vast amount of work to be done in increasing public awareness and educating the world about the complex neurological condition that is migraine. Migraine.com contributes to this need through its articles and the support and information it provides. I’ve seen many people forward articles to their friends and family in an effort to help enlighten their support system as to what they are up against in dealing with migraine. Additionally, both the website and presence on Facebook and other social media platforms provide places for community members to connect and relate through the sharing of stories and comments.

For me, as a contributor to the site and a member of the community, I find enormous solace in the comments of other members. I am moved by the life stories of others; I see our numerous connections and remember that I’m not alone. Indeed, I am reminded that we are all part an enormous and vibrant community of people who are providing support to each other in moments of sorrow, celebrating one another’s accomplishments, demanding solutions, and seeking joy while trying to make sense of life in the midst of pain.

While on this journey of life with migraine, what a relief and gift to connect, be inspired by, and relate to others along the way. It’s nice to know there are others who can help to share the load when my bags get too heavy, and hope I can lighten the load of others when they hit a rough patch. We are in this together and we are not alone.

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

  • Jen Cragen
    2 years ago

    How did you get to be a contributor to migraine.com?

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    HI Jen Cragen- Thanks for your question. I had a blog/website dedicated to migraine (many of our contributors start that way) and connected with migraine.com through that and by meeting one of the leaders of the site in person. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Chen
    2 years ago

    I do feel alone with the migraines. I am a member of this website for a long time. I sometime read interesting articles here, but I miis being part of group of migraneurs that can share little coping tricks. I have several and I am open to get more. Participating just a providing aresponse to what some of the contributer writes doesn’t do the job.
    From the article I understand I am not the only one that needs that.
    Thanks

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    @chen – I’m sorry I missed this comment. I think you raise a good point here. We are always seeking ways to make migraine.com more interactive. I wonder if you’ve checked out our facebook page? It’s a bit more interactive with community members sharing and connecting. Also we have a forums section here: https://migraine.com/forums/ that provides an opportunity to interact. Lastly, we have a Q&A section where anyone can pose a question and community members can post answers and start discussions that way. I hope these might prove helpful for you. Thanks again for your comment. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • beautyinadversity
    2 years ago

    So true! I have yet to meet anyone in person who experiences chronic daily migraines like I have over the past ten years. The hardest part is how it effects my relationships, especially my kids and spouse. It’s hard to be around a person who is so sensitive to the world and often irritable and tired. I try to keep reminding myself God allows everything for a reason and I have become more sensitive towards others since all of this so it’s not all bad, might even be for my good!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi beautyinadversity- That is an interesting philosophy and I’m glad you’ve found a lens through which to look at migraines that is helping you. I wholeheartedly agree that migraines increase our capability for compassion. We really understand like few others what it is to go through life in pain or struggling in any way at all. This is one of the huge takeaways of migraine. Wonderful that you can focus on that positive. Thanks so much for sharing and glad you’re a part of our community! Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Lisaone
    2 years ago

    Hi I’m new here but not new to migraines. I’ve had them since I hit 30. I get the 3 days in pain. I am having a very difficult time with work. I have lost jobs because I call off every time I have a migraine. I tried going Into work but I have to go right home. Once I tried to go to work and because my migraines sit behind my eye I misjudged the curb parking and banged the front of my car. I need help.. How do I keep a job with all this? I did find here on this site to try taking Inderal.. I have but just a little relief.. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Chen- Thank you so much for sharing. Do you have a way to seek out in-person support groups in your area? Here are some resources: https://migraine.com/blog/top-places-to-find-support/

    Additionally, if you are active on Facebook, feel free to take a look at our page where you can connect with many others who are experiencing the same.

    Lastly, a fellow migraine.com contributor also recommended these two groups

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/MoveAgainstMigraine/

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/practicallychronic/?ref=group_browse_new

    Best of luck and keep in touch. Holly B. (migraine.com team)

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Lisaone- So glad you joined the conversation and that you are a part of our community. You are definitely not alone! Working with migraine is an enormous challenge and one that many people face. We have a deep bench of resources on the topic so rather than listing them individually here, I’m simply going to provide a link for you the peruse our catalog on the topic of migraines and work to let you see which articles pique your interest. From exploring disability, to workplace accommodations, to considering whether or not working is for you, hopefully these articles will get you thinking and will certainly confirm for you that you are NOT alone. Please let us know what other questions you have as you continue in your thinking process. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team)

    Here is the link!
    https://migraine.com/?s=working+with+migraine&submit=Go

  • Gemini
    2 years ago

    This is a moving commentary on what it feels like to have migraines, physically, socially, and emotionally. Thank you for writing such a good article.

    You raised a subject of support groups. I am undecided about what I think of this idea. I absolutely support the good that support groups generate by getting people together in discussion. As for myself, I am wary of over identifying with illness. I want to concentrate on wellness and am doing everything I can to reduce the number and intensity of my migraines. Combining the practices of taking my medical prescription at the earliest stages of onset, practicing daily meditation, planning my diet and applying self awareness – these have been my emphases. Perhaps others have ideas on this.

    Again, thanks for a very good article.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Gemini- You raise a very thoughtful point about which I hope others will respond. The matter of how to seek a balance and strive for health when migraine can be all-consuming. When in the midst of an attack, the condition requires our full attention and energy. It is very hard to think of anything else. And, as we know, in order to prevent future attacks, we must keep many other aspects of our lives in mind at all times (diet, stress, sleep, lighting, medication, and one). In this way, the condition is omnipresent. Some might think adding a support group atop all of this will just add more of the topic to their lives and tip the scales into an unhealthy focus/navel gazing/obsession. Others might say it is a simple acknowledgement of an issue that is already a constant, so why not get advice and support about how to best manage it? The answer as to proceed with or without a support group is a personal one- or perhaps one to be tried to know for certain if it suits? Here’s an interesting article on the topic that might be of use:https://migraine.com/living-migraine/benefits-support-groups/ Thanks so much for joining the conversation! Holly B. (migraine.com team)

  • SouthernUtahGal
    2 years ago

    Thank you! Very well written. It’s nice to be reminded that we are not the only one suffering out there. Botox has helped lessen the severity of my migraines, but I still have to limit my exposure to triggers, which are many. Makes living life to the fullest very difficult and frustrating. I really enjoy reading these articles.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hey SouthernUtahGal- so glad this piece resonated with you. You are so right that the many limitations migraine places upon us can make living to the fullest quite a challenge. Especially difficult when the attacks are frequent. How to feel fully free even in the moments of wellness when we find ourselves looking over our shoulder and watching our footsteps for fear of setting off the next attack? As you said, sometimes it feels as if triggers are everywhere. I also rely on botox. Also like you, it decreased my severity but not frequency. Still, without it, I’d be bedbound. So glad you have found us and are a part of our community. You are not alone, indeed. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Poll