Outcast because of migraine

My experience was foreign to them and they never did understand. Some were even cruel in their responses. Migraines made me an outcast with my new family. I wish that I could set them straight. I wish that they would listen and try to understand life from my perspective. After all, they seem like reasonable people. If they only knew the truth.

Not all migraines are the same

There is no one-size-fits-all Migraine. Sometimes a patient will have symptoms that are so unique to appear as though it is not migraine at all. Perhaps you have migraine or know someone who does. To borrow a phrase from autism advocacy…If you’ve met one migraineur, you’ve met one migraineur. That’s how different we are. Even if you didn’t count our personalities, talents, weaknesses, family history, social environment, and all the things that make everyone unique we’re still an ecclectic group.

Breaking medication overuse

We didn’t have much to work with — just aspirin and Advil. The idea of preventive therapy or more aggressive abortives were ideas I wouldn’t be introduced to for at least five more years. I had learned enough to know that I needed to treat an attack at the first sign of trouble. Nobody knew about the risks of medication overuse.

Dr. Seuss is to blame

I managed to develop critical thinking skills, despite the influence of certain conservative-backwoods-redneck elements of my hometown. This is in no small part to the heroic efforts of teachers. My earliest introduction was to that lovable renegade, Dr. Seuss. I didn’t realize how influential Seuss had been until I started reading to my own children. The moral lessons are disguised by creative wit and I am grateful for the entertaining indoctrination.

Your brain is not the enemy

Migraineurs have an acrimonious relationship with our own brains. We see our brains as the cause of our troubles, an enemy to be defeated (or destroyed). After all, we are told that it is within our brains that all the trouble starts. Neurotransmitters, coritcal spreading depression, overactive pain receptors, hypersensitivity to stimuli…it all happens in the brain.

Migraine is not invisible

A lot of people call Migraine an “invisible illness.” I disagree. It is most certainly not invisible. The problem is that there is not enough awareness about the condition. If more people understood what it is to live with Migraine, then many would recognize the signs. It is not “just a headache”, and inconvenience, or nuisance. It is a serious neurological disorder with no know cause and no cure. There are symptoms all the time, not just during an acute attack.

Playing by the rules is effective

“Cutting off your nose to spite your face” happens when we focus on being right or fair despite the negative personal consequences. For migraineurs, there are a lot of opportunities for this to happen. Right or wrong, fair or unfair, sometimes we have to play by someone else’s rule in order to get what we want. It can be difficult to swallow our pride and do what is effective in order to get what we want.

One mindfully in the moment

Most people spend their days on “automatic pilot” not really paying attention. We often engage in one activity while our mind is focused on something else. We think we can accomplish more by doing several things at once. This is simply not true. When we bring our whole being into focus on one thing at at time, we are more productive. Sometimes we must quickly switch from one activity to another. The key is to give your full attention to each activity only when you are doing it.

Non-judgmental stance and migraine

Like a lot of the skills already covered, this one appears simple. Putting it into practice can be a little more complicated. We all like to think that we are non-judgmental. Yet we place value judgments on ourselves, others, and events all the time.