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Living with Migraine

Work, and what's the point in my life now?

  • By rc11

    Today my boss told me that people were getting frustrated because I wasn’t reliable due to migraines. And basically told me I need to take a leave of absence. I also kind of got the feeling he was trying to tell me to quit. I know I’m lucky that they aren’t trying to fire me and that they put me on intermittent Fmla instead.

    But for years, when my migraines were just periodic, I was one of the most reliable and productive people they had. Boss acknowledged that, which is great. But I’m upset that after all those years of me covering for others they are frustrated about covering for me.

    I get it. We already work in a stressful environment, and I just make it worse. I’d finally gotten to a point, though, where I could believe it was not my fault. I’ve lost plenty of sleep feeling guilty about being a burden. Why did my boss have to point it out?

    Over the past couple of months I’ve mostly been getting a bit better due to starting Botox. But it wore off and the past couple weeks have been really bad. I’m scared my boss and coworkers are loosing patience.

    It does make sense to quit. It’s a loud environment that triggers and exacerbates my migraines. From a business perspective they are better off without me. And my reputation at work is now shot, so I’ll never get anywhere there.

    I’m not hireable right now though. Besides missing work migraines also make me dumber and more emotional. I feel like I’m not wanted it the world; I can’t do anyone any good. I have so little self esteem left. I don’t know who I am or where I fit in anymore. Migraines have shaken me in every way. If I quit I’d be so lost and not know what where to go. I feel so trapped.

    Am I being selfish for not quitting? How do you even start to think about switching careers in this situation? Where do people with migraines fit in to the world? How do I contribute to the world? How do I survive?

  • By clairenicole

    I wish I didn’t understand this as well as I do.

    You’re not selfish for keeping your job!!! You’re doing the best you can and until you get a solution figured out that is all you can do.

    Can you live without the job? Because in my case I can not. I thought about applying for disability but that can take years and I have a small child so that isn’t an option for me.

    Keep trying things!! Keep fighting for hope that something works for you and don’t let those people at work get you down because they don’t understand. You can’t let it bother you. It would be like being mad at a kid for not understanding a complex emotion. You can, but it’s not going to help anything and generally will just drive you crazy. Until you’ve had a migraine, you can’t even begin to understand what its like and until you’ve had enough of them that you struggle and can function through a lot of it, you don’t understand. Even my friends who have had migraines think that I have to be lying because if I had so many migraines how could I work… and the answer is I work because I have to.

    Besides, where else would you work? Because anything that is going to pay enough to live isn’t going to be migraine friendly that I can think of.

    Just remember that you are not defined by your migraines. If you’re a reliable good person then you still are and just because you’re sick it doesn’t change that you’re a reliable good person. It just means that sometimes you CAN’T do something. Its like your car breaking down. You can’t help it.

  • By marrmd

    Your post so exactly mirrors how I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing in my job right now that I cried while reading it. Like you, I have suffered from periodic migraines since a young age, but over the past year, the migraines have become much worse in frequency and in intensity. I have always had a career that is integral to my self identity and self worth. But now that career is in jeopardy because I have become “unreliable” in that at least 1-2 days a month I cannot do my job because I cannot function due to the severity of the migraines. I’m afraid I’m going to be fired or forced onto disability, neither of which have ever happened in my life. I feel so isolated and alone because even close family members don’t understand or support me. I feel like a failure, worthless, with nothing to contribute, and in despair over the bleakness of my future of unending/unabating pain.

  • By Not-Again

    You are not alone. I am in the same situation but can’t quit work. I wish I had the magic answer for you. I will pray for you to find peace in this time and all who are in your life, including you, will learn to extend grace to you.

  • By Lisaone

    My heart breaks for all of you. I have worked so many jobs only because migrains are so severe and so often I have to call off my employers don’t understand and fire me. Now I work part time at Walmart.last week I missed 2 days the week before I missed 3 days. So now they cut my hours to 2 days a week. I can’t make rent at this rate. So I understand how you feel
    I’m scared and lost. Disability denied me twice. I don’t know what to do.

  • By Befanie

    RC11, Lisaone,

    How is everything going? I too am in a similar situation. I see your posts are a few months old. I’m hardly a dream employee with my migraines taking me out of the picture all to frequently. I’ve already lost one job. So now I’m fighting with the thought of applying for SSDI. Yet I want nothing more than to work and do so in a productive way. I love working hard, but my migraines don’t. I wish migraines were more recognized as the debilitating illness they truly are.

    I hope everyone is doing better. God bless you all!


  • By Jannii

    Yes I think most migraine sufferers have been in this situation and also think it makes the migraines worse and more frequent because you worry so much about having another attack, also feel you are being discussed and definitely get picked on when you are not well it seems to appear to others as a sign of weakness and sadly they will never understand until they have had a migraine themselves. With a severe migraine it was impossible to get up or do anything during the pain, maybe a little water that never seem to go down and then would be sick, used to drag myself to the bathroom unable to stand, it used to feel like my brain was loose and banging on the inside of my head it was so difficult to lift my head from the pillow that I had to roll out of the bed a real living hell if ever there was one. After the menopause the migraines changed and are more frequent but not as severe, they are still a debilitating disability. I’m very sorry for your current situation and hope things will work out well for you we can only pray for a cure one day.

  • By AshleyM

    You aren’t alone. I hear you.

  • By ndw6888

    I hear you too. You are definitely not alone. I hope you find a space that can support and highlight the difference between work ethic and disease. You are not your migraine.

    Thank you all for being honest. I have avoided forums and support groups since I was diagnosed with chronic daily migraine over 2 years ago. We’ve tried everything I can feasibly afford to try (after a sizeable amount of medical debt) so I’m trying to learn to love life under these potentially crushing labels of “unreliable”-friend, -worker,-wife, you name it. My career gives me daily purpose and motivation to continue getting out of bed. Prior to migraine, I worked and strove to make reliability a core feature of my sense of self. Redefining yet another view of my sense of being has taken me to some really dark places.

    It has affected my husband’s joblife too. My migraines are weather related, so we’ve had to relocate from Missouri to Colorado to California. I’m fortunate to be in a high demand profession that has contracted “travel” options to be able to trial these places, but taking that route means my husband had to leave his profession to follow me. Since our housing is connected to my job and I’m the primary income, getting me to work ends up taking priority. So anytime I’m disabled enough to not be able to drive or severe enough to need an infusion, he has to call in on short notice. He’s lost one job and nearly lost another before we had to move again.

    We’ve decided that “3 strikes” really is the rule to garner the “unreliable” label from even sympathetic employers. I am fortunate to have found a system of treatment that makes the day to day bearable on the whole to let me work (as long as I’m in California near the coast and there is no fog or rain or clouds or wind or hot or any indication of a change in fronts, and I’m well-rested, healthy, and “stress-free”

  • By sick-of-it

    To rc11 especially and to all of the others with similar experiences,
    I am new to this site and I stopped at this forum first because of the title. Last year I started, yet again, another new job. I am a traveling teacher in a rural setting. From the start, my boss began to ride me about sick days. Then she began posting my days taken vs. sick days left on official documents. I ran out, of course, and started being sick in private at school. I’m terrified when migraines affect my driving, embarrassed when they affect my speech, and so wiped out at every moment of every day.
    I am dreading the return to school this year. It will be with the same people,but for how long? How long until some kid turns me in for being confused, slurring my speech, or using medicine at school? How long until I wreck my car or someone else’s? Oh! And Don’t try telling a doctor anything … my new primary care physician has labeled me with “somatoform disorder”. In other words, he can’t find a reason for my symptoms, so they are all in my head. I must just have a mental illness and need to be pacified. What do you do about that? Thank goodness I have a better neurologist.

  • By lindaann

    Hello ladies, at least I think we are all women. I made it through the day! So I am sitting here with Cefaly on my head and ice behind my neck with yet another migraine. Can’t take anything tonight because I have to save it for tomorrow so I can go to work. Sleeping tonight should be interesting,might have to take a sleeping pill to get through the night. This will be my second time this week taking Maxalt so I guess that is it for this week, good thing I am off Friday, but that sucks for the weekend and any social plans because if or should I say when I get my migraine on the weekend I will just have to suck it up because I have used my two medication times up. I am self-employed so I have to be really careful about taking time off. No work, no pay. This worrying and planning and thinking and wondering takes up so much mental space in my head. I am thinking those of you who have written in this forum know what I mean.I have been told not to take triptans more than 2 times a week or 10 times a month but I have to wonder what taking them 6 to 8 times a month for 10 yeas is doing to me. Thinking about seeing if I can get into the Michigan treatment program with Dr. Saper, anyone been there?

  • By Tamara

    In the same crappy position. I am 29 and just got fired from my part time flexible sales job …. thought my numbers were ok but boss has decided they aren’t. I have daily pain and miss 2-3 days per week because of the severe pain. How in the world am I suppose to find another job? Even the local career centre doesn’t think I will be able to find a job that will accept the issues. Life really sucks because of these migrInes. I don’t have the money to try and fight for disability …. trying to move back with my mom but out houses won’t sell and every month I’ve forced to pay my bills from my credit line. What to do when I max out the credit line? I hope you and everyone else finds a way to muddle through this thing we call life