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Why I say “Disorder” and “Migraines”

There is always ever evolving language.

In communities debates often occur over word choice.

Am I “of asian decent”, “caucasian”, “african-canadian”, “a p.o.c.”?

Am I Deaf, HoH, deaf or DeaF?

Well, I am none of those.

But I am a person with migraine disorder who experiences migraines.

I chose “disorder” as my health is out-of-order and so is my life because of this debilitating state.

“Condition” includes the possibility of “good” or even “great” condition. (What condition the patient is in.) While “disorder” limits possible answers– “fair” or “poor”. And that is the current state of my condition–fair to poor.

And I say “migraines” as much as “migraine” in part because I have more than one migraine diagnosis. The The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd ed. allows for and recommends multiple coding, even if my healthcare plan balks.

Also, I use Migraine and Migraines as to me the singular is the over condition or the singular experience (I had a migraine yesterday), and the plural are multiple events (I had 15 migraines in the last three months).

I need the plural.

If I were to say to myself I’ve had migraine for three years it sounds like one long episode when I actually had symptom-free periods. I need to remind myself of the free days.

And I need personal truth and hope.

If I say only I have migraine condition, it belies the disarray of my physical and psycho-social health.

The word disorder implies order, and for me personally it invites hope. Saying disorder opens the door to order, gives me hope for order.

Migraine/s Condition/Disorder varies so greatly with each person.

For me at this time in my life my personal truth is that I am a person with a headache disorder; I experiences my migraines and am in fair condition most days, poor others, good frequently, and excellent occasionally.

But that’s a mouthful, so I use shorthand, vernacular.

I say disorder and migraines.

These words work for me.

I encourage each of you to use the words that work for you.

Enough mincing. (:

Thank you for reading.

Have a great day all!

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

  • 1scarlett13
    2 months ago

    Everyone has their own methods of coping and/or staying grounded.
    Disease: Illness or sickness characterized by specific signs and symptoms.
    We switched to Migraine Disease because 1. It fits the definition. 2. Secular and medical communities do not take Migraine seriously. We experience this everyday. Take a look at the funding chart. See Migraine all the way at the bottom with Otitis Media? Arthritis gets more research funding than we do. Which word do you perceive as more serious? Disorder or disease? Which sounds more urgent? Disorder or disease? While I respect and accept different points of view, I encourage sufferers to honestly think, am I minimizing to make it not seem so bad? Minimizing our suffering and level of debilitation contributes to Migraine stigma. Our goal is to smash Migraine stigma. Migraine stigma hurts us all. Thank you though, for sharing your thoughts. How you feel is just a valid as how any one of the rest of us feel.

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    2 months ago

    @1scarlett13 thanks for chiming in on this article. Stigma is hard enough to overcome for a ‘visible’ disease so with migraine disease it’s worse in my opinion. Enjoy your day! Tom ( migraine.com team)

  • 1scarlett13
    2 months ago

    Everyone has their own methods of coping and/or staying grounded.
    Disease: Illness or sickness characterized by specific signs and symptoms.
    We switched to Migraine Disease because 1. It fits the definition. 2. Secular and medical communities do not take Migraine seriously. We experience this everyday. Take look at the funding chart. See Migraine all the way at the bottom with Otitis Media? Arthritis gets more research funding than we do. Which word do you perceive as more seriously? Disorder or disease? Which is more urgent? Disorder or disease? While I respect and accept different points of view, I encourage sufferers to honestly think, am I minimizing to make it not seem so bad? Minimizing our suffering and level of debilitation contributes to Migraine stigma. Our goal is to smash Migraine stigma. Thank you tho, for sharing you thoughts. How you feel is just a valid as anyone else’s, no matter how we label it.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    2 months ago

    Hey there @glassmind! I am so thrilled that you shared a story on this topic! Migraine is so very unique to each & every person that experiences it & it is so important we never get hung on applying general terms as how everyone should be referring to it! I totally agree with your sentiment of “using the words that work for you”!

    Thank you for being such a supportive & active member of our community here! Always great hearing your perspective!

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