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“It’s Just a Migraine”

It’s just a migraine… — the one phrase every sufferer hates hearing. And yet, it’s the one phrase I tell myself the most.

It’s just a migraine… I don’t need to take a sick day.
It’s just a migraine… I can work a little longer tonight.
It’s just a migraine… I can go down to the lake in this sunny weather.
It’s just a migraine… I can go to the concert with my friends.
It’s just a migraine… I can run errands today.
It’s just a migraine… I don’t need to rest.

While many of us are so debilitated by our migraines we can’t leave the bed, I don’t know when to *stay* in bed.

Perhaps it is denial. Perhaps it is an attempt to salvage any piece of my life that’s left. But, I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve been hunched over at my work desk, or sprawled on a bathroom floor, or holding my head in my hands all because I chose to venture out with a migraine.

It is hard to come to terms with the fact that chronic migraines have taken over my life. It is hard to give myself an OKAY and allow myself to rest. You’d think by now I would know better.

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.


  • Sandy
    5 years ago

    thank you Katie for your article you wrote. i am also in the stages of grief and just now realizing it. Kitty i too have been told even by very loving people “It’s just a migraine….” even told myself. did not realize the damage i was doing to my own body. would have moved beyond the it’s just sooner than now had i had the understanding on migraine i have now. to me it is kind like the damage alcohol does to one who is addicted. in the beginning, one drinks, not much damage is noticed in the body. over time or yrs of heavy drinking or (in our case heavy pain and frequent migraine) very noticeable damage to our bodies. not necessary our fault bc of bad choices. it just is bc of the progression of this terrible disease that even some of my friends don’t understand that have episodic migraines. readjusting my expectations of myself.

  • Rocky Land
    5 years ago

    I had someone say to me ONE time “It’s just a Migraine” come on. I told them, OK, Let’s go out to my shed, I’ll take out my sledge hammer, You lay your head down on the concrete, I’ll swing just ONE time hitting you in the head with that sledge hammer, Then I’ll say to you, “Whats Wrong, It’s just a Migraine”.
    They had ALLOT more respect for me after that and NEVER said that to me again.
    I was just in the ER Saturday night because I had one so bad, I was vomiting and had TWO seizures too. I was given a high dose of Valium in my rectum and then some other pain killer and was sent home. THE ONLY reason the doctor let me come home is because I had 24 hour care by someone who REALLY CARED and understood what a Migraine is.
    Anyone who says this should have just one.

  • Jules2dl
    5 years ago

    Kitty, I think we all go through different phases in our relationship with the monster who lurks in our head. Sometimes we refuse to let it get the best of us and keep pushing on despite the pain. Sometimes we give up and give in to the cool darkness of our bedroom.
    Eventually we all learn our limitations as well. We learn how much we can push, and what the consequences will be in terms of pain if we push a little too much.
    Maybe you could add an addendum on to your migraine mantra; It’s only a migraine…if I don’t spend some time resting up for it, it might be the joke of the decade!

  • J Clay
    5 years ago

    I can fully understand. I’m this last year my migraines have become chronic and severely taxing. Not just on my job but on my family as well. It all seems overwhelming and few people around me can even come close to understanding.

    After a fight with an 8 week unrelenting migraine I began to realize that this is my life now. I still struggle though. Today despite the pain I got up and went to work. After about 15 minutes I was asked if I should just go home. I tried to hide the pain but it was just too much.

    I hope things get better for you and I wish you a pain free life.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    5 years ago

    We definitely all feel that way at one point. It kills me to not engage in social activities the way I used to. It just doesn’t feel like “me.” So I’ve had to redefine who “me.”

    It sounds like you are going through the stages of grief. Although no one has died, your normal life did. And it’s ok to be in denial, get angry, have depression, want to bargain and then come to acceptance. Some of us go through these stages on a weekly basis.

    I wrote about it. I hope it helps you feel like you are not alone:

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