Migraine” – that generic word that means to so many people –  “a really bad headache.”

Add the fact that everyone knows at least one someone who’s had “really bad headaches,” plus the hours watching TV ads assuring them that a pill or shot fixes everything, and there you go.

And once in a while I come downstairs, and even sometimes can smile and laugh for a short period of time.  And the comments fly:    It must not be so bad, then.  Just take a pill.  Find out what’s causing it and fix it.  So, what’s your deal… you have really bad headaches?  You are white as a sheet.  You are cringing in pain.  Your eyes are almost swollen shut.  We hardly ever see you…

Last week, I was waiting for my sister to take me grocery shopping, and here comes a fellow resident of my apartment complex.  Mind you, she does not know me personally.  Also, I was standing right at the front door stoop.

Her opening was:  Why are you waiting here?  Trying to be friendly, I said I was waiting for my sister to take me to the grocery store.

“Why don’t you just get a car and take care of yourself, and quit trying to get everyone else to take care of you?!”

She doesn’t even know me personally, and she getting in my face?  Where in the world did that judgment come from?!  Once more, I patiently told her that upon the 3rd type of chronic/constant migraine, my neurologist said that my driving days were over, period.  At 62 years old, I had grieved for months over this loss of independence.  But it is what it is, and I must work around that reality.

She proceeded to compare me to her son, and her nasty attitude and judgment and volume just increased.  Enough Is Enough.  My typical response in trying to be kind and gentle is, “I’ve been doing this for many years at this level.”  Which I repeat it in various forms.  But this lady…

I held up my hand in the universal sign for Stop, and said, “My story is my story, not his.  It is not to be compared with his.  Please quit telling me what I should do, comparing my story to your son’s.  I know my story, and you don’t.  It is your son’s choice to drive against doctor’s orders.  But if he were to get into a wreck and they find out that he is driving against doctor’s orders, he would be in big trouble.  I am choosing to go with my neurologist’s decision, as hard as it may be.  I grieve the loss of driving. But, I believe it is the right thing to do.  It is not open to your opinion.”

She opened her mouth to start in again.  Hand up again, I firmly said, “You do not get to speak into my story!!”

Migraine disorder does not lessen my right to be treated with respect and dignity.  That moment was so liberating!   And a way to be kind and gentle with myself, and so strengthening.  And, that’s my story.

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