Save Me from the Well-Intentioned, but Unknowing Ones

Apr 11th, 2010 | By Beth | Category: Whats on My Mind

Those who suffer from migraines also have to ensure a high number of well-intentioned people who think they know about migraines, but clearly cannot. Unless you’ve suffered a migraine, you cannot, I repeat, cannot know what it takes to get through them.

Let me give you a few examples of how well-intentioned people have tried to help me when I’m suffering a migraine.

  1. It will help if you get up and eat something – then, you’ll feel better.” While everyone’s migraine symptoms are different, mine happen to cause severe nausea. I have a slightly touchy stomach anyway, and when I’m experiencing the excruciating pain of a migraine, my stomach becomes a monster of it’s own and I’m very likely to toss anything I am able to consume nearly immediately, so no, eating something is not going to help. In fact, it’s likely to contribute to me getting further dehydrated, which will only make things worse.
  2. Here’s one a fellow sufferer contributed when we were commiserating on this phenomenon one day: “Here, try this wonderful herbal remedy my (insert hairdresser, dry cleaner, deli counter guy) gave me … it works great on migraines!” Please stop recommending this stuff to us. While we can admit that a number of homeopathic remedies work for some people, we have a serious medical condition and no idea how this ’stuff’ you are recommending will interact with the prescribed medications we already have to take in an often vain attempt to avoid our migraines. We simply cannot risk the inevitable side effects.
  3. Here’s another joint favorite: “If you didn’t eat chocolate or drink red wine, you wouldn’t have this problem.” We know you are trying to help, but it’s important for well-intentioned advisers to understand that chocolate and red wine are migraine triggers for some people, but not all people. Each migraine sufferer has their own triggers and yes, of course, those should be avoided, but even avoiding every trigger we have will not permanently and completely end our migraines. Sometimes, a migraine just happens – even when we are doing everything we can.
  4. And here’s my all-time favorite: “Oh, I get those. I just take two generic pain relief tablets and it goes away.” If you can say that, you have never had a migraine. Never. Please go away now.

A little compassion please folks! We didn’t ask for this disorder, we don’t want it, and we wouldn’t wish it on anyone of you … except if you continue to spout these little tidbits of judgment as if they were gospel truth. And now I’m stepping well and fully off the soap box and putting it away in the closet. Thank you for your support.

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