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Young and struggling

My name is Payton. I am 17 years old and need help. What are some ways people make it through a day with migraines. I am so young and getting ready to head off the college in the fall and my parents told me that I can’t go if we do not figure out my migraines. I just got put on meds to try and help. I am afraid that I will be on meds for this my entire life. Does anyone have advice? I am having a really hard time dealing with it and hearing “it’s just a headache” “work through it it will go away” “you are just being dramatic” and “it can’t be that bad. Stop whining. I get bad headaches too and you don’t see me complaining”

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  • Chrysanthemum4488
    4 years ago

    Hey Payton,
    I experienced my first migraine when I was eight years old. So it’s been something I’ve had to deal with for a long time. Firstly I think you need to clarify to your parents that a migraine is not actually classified as a severe headache and is more or less classified as a syndrome or a chronic neurological disease. Some of the best ways to deal with them involve painkillers, bed rest, ice packs and caffeine as it speeds up the pain reactants in your body. Some other useful options include things like hot showers and baths and scents like lavender to rub on the neck to relive tension and stress, to relax muscles. Good luck. !! 🙂

  • KaciMo
    4 years ago

    Hi, Payton. I started getting migraines when I was 16 and then went away to college 2 years later, so it can be done. The ladies have given you several good articles to read, but let me see if I can think of some practical tips for managing college and migraines.

    –As Katie said, apply with Student Services (or whatever it’s called on your campus). This way, if you run into an issue with a professor not being understanding, they’ll back you up.
    –Let all your teachers know at the beginning of each semester that you have migraines and may have to miss class/step outside/whatever you envision may be the case for you. Give them a doctor’s note or form from Student Services.
    –Don’t be afraid to ask for an extension on an assignment. Just don’t abuse it. Also, notify your instructors ahead of time if you know you aren’t going to get an assignment done by the deadline because of a migraine. If you’re a good student, they’ll most likely be understanding.
    –Don’t procrastinate! When my migraines got severe my junior year of college, I did as much homework as possible on weekends, because I knew I wouldn’t have the energy on weekdays after class.

    Social life:
    –Don’t try to hide it from your friends, or minimize it. Faking it usually only makes you feel worse.
    –It’s okay to cancel plans.
    –Always carry: earplugs, whatever abortive medication you use, snacks.
    –If friends want to go somewhere you know will be full of triggers, be honest with them and suggest something else.

    –Keep an eye mask and earplugs handy, especially if you have a roommate.
    –Make sure your roommate knows what’s going on so they don’t think your crazy.
    –Keep microwaveable foods in your room for times you can’t make it to the cafeteria.

    The “just a headache” stigma will always be there, unfortunately, but I actually think my college friends seeing me experience Migraine changed that for them (or I hope).

    I know that’s long, but those are some of the things I wish somebody had told me before I headed off to college.

    Best wishes,

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    4 years ago

    I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s not easy.

    I remember being in the middle of a final and I got a visual aura. I panicked because I couldn’t see the test enough to take it. I went up to the professor and told him what was going on and luckily he was understanding and he came in early the next morning to let me finish.

    Jenn gave you some great resources on how to get your Migraines under control, so I’ll share how you can work with your college to help you when you are experiencing an attack.

    Most colleges will work with you if you have an illness. Be proactive and talk to someone in the administration office about what you need to do. This article includes a form you can give your professors.

    This article mostly covers kids in grade school, but may give you other ideas of how to approach the college.

    We threw a lot of articles at you, but let us know if you have any more specific questions.
    Best wishes!
    -Katie Moderator

  • Jenn Lebowitz
    4 years ago

    Hi Payton,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, and for being part of the community.

    While you may get more personal feedback from the community, I thought of a few articles you may find helpful.

    The first is about ideas on how some people deal successfully with migraine, so to speak:

    Another article is tricks for dealing with the pain:

    Please know you are not alone – and that we hear you on how frustrating it is when people don’t understand that migraine is not just a headache. We thought this article could be helpful in validating that fact:, and that this one may help in dealing with relationships:

    Lastly, this article might be useful in explaining the different specialists who may be able to help with migraine: We encourage everyone to be in touch with their medical professional(s) regularly, especially when symptoms increase or worsen.

    I truly hope this is helpful. Please know we are here to listen and support you! You are not alone. Feel free to post here any time and keep in touch.


    Jenn (Community Manager,

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