In your daily struggle coping with the Migraine Monster, sometimes it feels like you’re on the losing team at the last count. It’s hard to believe that things can ever get better, or to imagine that things can ever get worse when you’re dealing with migraine headaches and nausea day in, day out. Here are some helpful strategies that work for coping with migraines.
6 Inspirational Truths was Part I of Coping with Migraines. Part II, 6 Things NOT to do, discusses unhealthy habits that should be avoided in trying to cope with migraines.
#1) Don’t let fear control you
When you have chronic migraines, your thoughts become riddled with fear: What if I’m getting a brain tumor…What if I’m at risk for heart attack, stroke, or seizure…What if I drive on the freeway, and I get a migraine attack? The only way to confront these fears is to arm yourself with knowledge. If you’re concerned about your safety driving, then consult in your headache specialist or neurologist. While there is a high correlation of heart disease and seizures with people who get migraines with aura, the link is not 100%. Don’t be embarrassed to express these fears with a doctor. The more solid information you collect about your migraines, the less anxiety you will feel.
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#2) Don’t hold in anger
Anger causes stress, and stress triggers migraines. Yes, it’s angering when people make rude comments about your need for medications or time off. It’s unfair that you should suffer from debilitating migraines, while others never get a headache strong enough to keep them from work. That fact that a situation is angering doesn’t mean you have to respond with anger, nor should you. Think of anger as a cancer that drains all energy from your body, causing fatigue, illness, and depression. You can’t change the fact that you were born with migraine disorder, and you can’t control other people’s ignorance of migraines, but you can control your feelings about them. If necessary, seek psychiatric counseling, but do not allow cancerous anger to consume your life.
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#3) Don’t try to be Superman…or Supermom
You’re having a hard time putting your life back in order- migraine attacks have completely ravaged your home life, and you’re left putting back the pieces, one by one. You sense that certain people have given up on ever seeing you in daylight again, and in the back of your mind, you worry that your children will never forgive you being absent, mentally and physically, every time a migraine headache courses through your system. There’s no use feeling guilty about it- if you had superhuman powers, then you could manage migraines and the dishes at the same time. But you don’t, and feeling guilty about it only creates negative emotions.
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#4) You don’t have to share
People ask you how you’re doing all the time. “How’re those migraines treating you? What kind of migraine drugs are you taking?” They might try to cajole a response from you because they’re curious, or because they really want to help. In any case, you don’t have to answer if you don’t feel like talking about your migraines, or feel like being identified as “the migraine sufferer.”
The polite response is, “I really appreciate your asking, but I don’t feel like discussing migraines right now. If I do feel like talking about it later, then I hope you will be there for me.”
#5) Don’t rush it
Recognize that migraines are a serious disorder, and treat your body accordingly. Don’t feel that you have to march to the same beat as other people who don’t have migraines. Give yourself more time to complete errands than you have been, and take breaks.
#6) Don’t be the social butterfly
Don’t feel guilty about declining social outings. The fact is that overstimulation is as much of a migraine trigger for some as eating a chili cheeseburger is for others. If milling around a buffet table chatting up acquaintances with music blaring in the background gives you migraines, then by all means, excuse yourself from your cousin’s 25th anniversary gala, and suggest meeting for drinks another time in a quieter setting.
Please tell us…
If you could offer one piece of advice on coping with migraines, what would it be? Please share by providing your comments!
Read more about migraine prevention:
Coping with Migraines, Part I: 6 Inspirational Truths
Top 20 Simple Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent Migraines
The Emotional Pain of Migraines: Coping with Frustration and Guilt
Coping With Migraines and Headaches