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How to Talk About Migraine Symptoms

June 12, 2013

Chronic migraines are considered invisible disabilities. Migraine symptoms are severe, painful, limiting, and too often seen as “just a headache” to outsiders. While many people suffer through these constant headaches by learning to live with the pain, there are emotional burdens that come with having this invisible disability.

If you experience these types of chronic headaches, then you know that even though migraines are physically painful, missing out on your favorite activities can be emotionally taxing as well. Because of this heavy burden, it is important to be honest with family and friends about your feelings. Keeping quiet and ignoring migraine symptoms can be destructive to your health and increase your pain.

How to Talk About Migraine Symptoms How to Talk About Migraine Symptoms

Talk about Migraine Symptoms with Family and Friends

Overcome any fears you have that people won’t understand you; start speaking up about how your disability makes you feel.

Are you frustrated? Angry? Scared? Disappointed? How does it make you feel when you miss out on family events or outings with friends?

Make sure you discuss the emotional pain you feel with close friends and family so they have the opportunity to understand both the physical and emotional strain you experience. It is likely that they will be able to identify with your feelings, even if they cannot imagine the severity of your symptoms. This is why it is important for you, in these conversations, to explain the differences between headaches and migraines, and be open with sharing what triggers your migraines.

How to Talk About Migraine Symptoms with Children

It is every parent’s instinct to appear strong and healthy for the sake of his or her children. Much of the time, parents avoid sharing how difficult living with migraine headaches is because they want to protect their children.

Have you experienced this sensation? Wanting to shield your child from knowing the pain you suffer silently?

It is important to tell you children that you experience these types of severe headaches. When they are old enough to understand you, pick a special time to speak with your children about this subject. To make sure the conversation goes well, choose an opportune time, be honest, and encourage your children to ask questions. Ultimately, this topic will come up many times over the years. Think of these talks as introductory conversations that are important for building the relationships you have with your children.

Tips for Talking about Migraine Symptoms

Below are some wise tips to follow when talking about migraine symptoms. These suggestions may help your friends, family, and children understand the invisible pain you suffer from, and assist you with the emotional burden of this disability.

– Be honest – Don’t pretend everything is fine when it is not. People who care about you want to be supportive in your times of need.

– Share information that people need to know, but don’t go overboard. (I.e. not everyone needs to know that migraines make you vomit profusely.)

– Never blame anyone for “causing” your migraines – while there are migraine triggers, usually people themselves cannot cause attacks (although it may seem like it at times).

– Choose your words and tone of voice carefully – remember, even while you are in pain, people only want to help. Being nice and courteous will make it so there is less to apologize for when the pain passes.

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