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College Rejection and Migraine Stigmatism

Recently I was rejected by my dream college. This seems like a sentence that almost everyone has said but to me it’s different. I live with chronic migraines as well as a daily headache that hasn’t dissipated for six long years. College admissions stressed me out but only because they make you wait an eon for a reply but because my migraines had a significant impact on my life and grades. During my sophomore and junior year my migraines were so severe that I would black out three times a week. Combine that with doctors appointments, additional tests, trips to the ED, and the regular migraines where you can’t leave your bed I missed a lot of school and my grades suffer. I always maintained a passing grade and for the most part still achieved average grades but this wasn’t good enough for “my” school.

Do I feel like I deserve admission to what ever college I want? No. Do I feel like my migraines have ruined another great opportunity in my life? Yes. Do I feel like if this was a more socially acceptable disease that I would have gotten special consideration? Absolutely. The rejection left with a feeling every migraine suffer knows all to well; defeat. You could have experienced it when your medication stopped working, when you couldn’t go to that family event, or just when you couldn’t get out of bed. I felt like my migraines had snatched yet another opportunity away from me. Like no matter what I do they will always be there to hold me back. While this may seem extreme for a college rejection; you have to understand I had built my whole future around getting into this school. Not only did I feel defeated but I felt angry. I was so angry because people refused to acknowledge what people with migraines go through.

When I first went into the neurologist I had to go in for an EKG, EGG, MRI, and a CT. Even though I was only thirteen at the time I knew exactly what they were looking for on that MRI. Since I had been blacking out they were checking to make sure it wasn’t a tumor. But does anyone think about what that thought does to a kid? No they sit there and think it’s only a headache get over it. The fact is non-migraine suffers just don’t understand how debilitating migraines are. They don’t understand the nausea, the sensitivity to sound, the way you can actually hear the nerves firing in your head, and that it is not just a headache. I feel like the admissions department didn’t take me seriously when I said I have chronic migraines. And I can’t blame them because they really just don’t know. I have days where whole body parts go numb and I can’t even get out of bed to pee because I am so dizzy I can’t stand. Migraines are not just a pounding in your head.

Even though I feel so utterly defeated right now and I’ve been none stop crying for a hour (which I am sure I will pay for tomorrow-grr triggers) I refuse to let migraines beat me. They have been mentally and physically beating me up for most of my life but I refuse to let them win. I just finished writing an appeal to the college; which to be honest probably won’t do anything but at least I did something. And there is always transferring in after a few years. Even though we may not be able to control our migraines we can control how they are perceived. Turning around migraine stigma starts with us. I urge you to put yourself out there and help people to understand it is more that a headache. Start small educate your friends and family. Their understanding can leas to you having a closer relationship because they now understand what you’re going through! Also they can share what they’ve learned with others. When you hear someone spouting false knowledge about migraines correct them don’t just sit in silence. Be the change you want to see. Even though non migraine sufferers may never fully understand what we go through we can help give them a piece of the puzzle. An added bonus more public interest leads to more research and maybe one day a cure. Even in the worst situations don’t let your migraines defeat you. Don’t become a victim of your own condition.

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.


  • yashasri.s
    2 years ago

    Hi, I am in the exact same state as you are. Constantly juggling between good grades and migraines has troubled me so much through the years. I was planning to study abroad for postgraduation but that dream seems too far fetched given my chronic migraines. Reckless pill popping has given rise to other fears. I have tried Ayurveda and Homeopathy but they haven’t worked. Right now Im

  • Z.A1999
    2 years ago

    Same is happening to me right now. Feels like someone has actually talked my mind. This world is way too ignorant to people like us. I can totally understand this feeling. Can i talk to u in a private message ? If thats not a problem to you.

  • Z.A1999
    2 years ago

    Okay then wait for this site to be modified . we want to live like civilized people on this site dont we . :p otherwise i dont have problem in talking through emails etc. Hoe u r doing fine these days . 🙂

  • asimp1025 author
    2 years ago

    Of course! I’m new to this site is there a way to talk on here or is there another way I can get ahold of you?

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi there asimp1025, Unfortunately, personal contact information cannot be shared (per our community rules), but we are however in the process of enhancing our site and there will be options to connect with other community members!

    Managing school/college and contending with stigma can be extremely challenging, so we greatly appreciate you joining in on this conversation to help provide support.
    Take good care,
    Joanna ( Team)

  • Tamara
    2 years ago

    Hugs – you will get through this. I am lucky enough to only have chronic migraines now and only had to fight through migraines once a week or so during my university degree. Now that doesn’t mean it didn’t ruin my plans – my plan since 6 years old was to become a vet. I worked hard, I volunteered at shelters, vet clinics, gaining about 4000 hours of experience from 16-22 years old.

    My migraines got worse just as I was applying to vet school and my marks were a touch too low – no vet school. So I changed direction and started online schooling for holistic nutrition. I had super bad food allergies I had to fight and got very much in holistic healing so vet school would have been hard because I would have disagreed with a lot of the treatment methods.

    Last year and a bit ago I had to take a break from the 3 year online program because my
    Migraines are now chronic and severe. I’m 3/4 of the way through and can’t do anymore. I have short memory issues so it’s impossible to study, super fatigued and any good days and energy I put into work so I don’t lose my house or I’m laying in a dark room with a migraine.

    I have spent many a days upset and mad at myself for the way my migraines have ruined my life so I feel and completely understand how you feel. I do believe that god sends us in the right path (even if I disagree and have no idea what I should be doing now) – maybe he has something else planned for you?

    At the moment I’m glad I didn’t get into vet school because I would have been miserable and probably would have triggered the chronic migraines earlier and still never finished.

    University is very difficult and not flexible at all – you may be better off seeing if there is an online program or part time that you have more flexible in scheduling the classes and information. But only you knows what you can handle. Just trust you are headed in the direction you need to be.

    Sorry for the rambling …. migraine is coming on and I just took my meds and starting to feel them but I wanted to answer this before it hits and I can’t look at my computer. Hang in there. Hugs

  • asimp1025 author
    2 years ago

    It’s encouraging to hear that you found something after vet school. I still intend to persue university but may have to step back for awhile to get my health in order. No need for apologies rambling is always welcome; especially when providing good insight! I appreciate your answer and I hope you’re feeling better today!

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