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How do you deal with ignorant people?

Hey everyone, I was diagnosed with chronic migraine amongst other illnesses a couple of years ago – since then, I’ve told all my peers so they are aware that if I drop out of events last minute etc. then it’s for a good reason! However, I’ve been experiencing those same people saying repeated comments like ‘I’ve had a headache for 3 days, it’s probably classed as a migraine now.’ and ‘Oh my, I have a migraine! I’ll take some ibuprofen and it’ll go!’ Obviously, for those here who experience migraine often, they do not simple leave with ibuprofen, and we can’t function/work normally (as they do!) when in the midst of a migraine attack. How should I deal with them? Thanks all x

Community Answers
  • Anne
    4 weeks ago

    The more I’ve been willing to share about what I experience with my migraines, the more I’ve found other people whom I never knew suffered with migraines and I’ve educated others who don’t really understand what we go through. I call migraine a neurological condition – because that’s what it is – and let them know all the other things that go along with it, not just headache. In fact, headache is the least of my problems when I get a migraine as I have meds that work for the pain – it’s the rest of the stuff – vertigo, fatigue, confusion, aphasia, nausea, muscle weakness, hypersomnia, vision changes, nerve pain – that sucks.

  • jmedlin
    5 months ago

    Actually it’s also other migraine sufferers who think your symptoms have to match theirs, or it’s not valid. So many people I no longer bother with. I am not going to wast any well time on people who make my worst times worse. As for family, a good dose of satirical wit is in order with some good boundaries.

  • 42xsammi author
    5 months ago

    Hello @Coco

    ‘Migraine disorder’ sounds impressive – but I’m more for raising awareness surrounding the original issues. Indeed, if my friends/family didn’t listen, I might just end up calling it a disorder, as it seems like a pretty solid explanation!

    I think that getting someone to spend some time with you is great, too, but I get terrible mood swings during the start of my migraine attacks so I might just end up insulting them!

    Agreed with the drugs – nothing works for me either, especially the over-the-counter painkillers! More for regular headaches, methinks!

    Sammi x

  • 42xsammi author
    5 months ago

    Hi @Mmelle

    I have the same issue – people always feel the need to tell me what I’m feeling and that it is ‘so relatable’!

    Might try and suggest to friends and family that reading the articles on here might help their understanding – thank you for that – I’m glad that your friend was happy to discuss it with you, too, and come around to a more sensitive way of dealing with your migraine.

    I don’t blame you – I would’ve kissed my computer screen, too!

    Thank you for your reply,
    Sammi x

  • 42xsammi author
    5 months ago

    Hi Nancy!

    Thank you very much for the links – I’ll give them a look and hopefully they’ll be useful.

    I’ll try and remember to let you know how these go.

    Thank you,
    Sammi x

  • Allie77
    5 months ago

    God, unfortunately I recently lost a friend of mine because of my migraines. She wouldn’t – or perhaps couldn’t – understand how sick I was. She drug me to the arcade and when I got a migraine from the flashing lots and exploding noise she ignored me and I had to tell our other friend that I was sick, who thankfully understand and rushed me home. My “friend” Shelly was furious though and complained the whole way home. She also tried to drag me to Bath and Body (I put my foot down for that one!). Eventually all the things just added up and I realized I couldn’t be her friend any longer after she texted me a long rant about how she felt so abused and hurt that I could never hang out with her, go out with her, party with her – etc. It seriously hurt me because I would love more than anything to be normal and not have migraines. I realized for my own emotional health (and around Shelly perhaps physical health as well) that I should distance myself from her. It hurt but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad has her comments and actions (and at times lack of actions) did.

  • Coco
    5 months ago

    I tell people I work with (and friends) that I have ‘migraine disorder’ or ‘a migraine disorder’ …if they think migraine is just a headache this makes it sound like it’s something more complicated, and not what they think it to be. Another way to prove it? Spend time with these people when you have one, that will do it. My face swells, I slur my speech, I grip the railing when going down stairs, I get super carsick, people notice! And will realize, that’s no headache. Once a friend told me she got them and would just woof down Excedrin. I think she just gets regular headaches because that drug literally does nothing for me!

  • Mmelle
    6 months ago

    I have been dealing with this, it seems,for my entire life – even before my migraines had a name I’ve tried explaining to people who I felt needed to know what my migraines were like and about things I’ve read here and elsewhere on migraine People usually tell me that they understand and then prove their ignorance by telling me about how they had a migraine one day. I have suggested to my family that they might want to read one of the articles here, but I don’t think they have except for one friend who was expressing disappointment that I cancelled plans with her I sent her a link to an article on and was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from her saying that she had no idea and that she wanted to talk about it when I was feeling better. I was so grateful for her sensitive response that I could have kissed my computer screen!

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi 42xsammi,

    Great question!! Unfortunately most of us grapple with this all to frequently.

    There are a number of great articles here I can share so you can get an idea of an “elevator” speech to give out to your friends and family. I’m still working on mine! and

    Let me know what you think of these, OK?

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