Monday, June 11, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #11: Say What?!

It's difficult to choose the most ridiculous thing that someone's ever said to me about Migraines.

I know that the way I respond to the question, "How are you?" isn't the socially acceptable "fine," "good / great," or "okay." For a long time, I did respond this way... but, I reached the point where I just couldn't do it anymore. I still don't just spill everything about how badly I've been doing, but I felt like I wasn't being true to myself by saying that things were all good. So, I may get blank stares, since my comments are outside the social norm.

My interactions with people vary from short conversations with new people to longer conversations with people I've known for years. Regardless of the communication between us (sometimes it's just a short statement) about the fact that I've been dealing with chronic Migraines for several years, people still feel that it's appropriate to ask:

  • "Have you tried Excedrin Migraine?" - Okay, really?! Yes, I've tried this over-the-counter medicine... along with many, many other medications over the years.
  • "They still don't know what's causing these chronic Migraines?" - I don't really understand why this question keeps coming up. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease. The chronic, debilitating nature of my Migraines was triggered by an auto accident in 2008. Other than that, I don't know what kind of answer people are looking for here.
  • "But, you look so good..." - Well, that's because Migraine is an invisible illness. I "look so good" because I try very hard to appear normal and enjoy the time that I do spend out with others (no matter how rarely that may be). What you see is a mask. It may not be on very well, at least not to those that truly know me well; but it's a coping mechanism that I use. If I looked as bad as I feel, I'd be a monster, scaring everyone in my path.
  • "Do you really have a headache every day?" - Yes, I really have a headache every day. Even if I tell you that I've been doing alright, that doesn't mean that I've been pain-free. My "normal" is very different than before the accident, and very different than other people's (many cannot even begin to understand). My pain ranges from moderate to excruciating.
I know people mean well, but their comments can often be hurtful and/or belittling. It's hard to remember that we're all human, and we can't blame each other for acting as such. So, I do my best to deal with it in a respectful manner and move past it.

This post was written as part of the Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge (MAMBC), which is initiated by and the National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation (NHF).


  1. Navelle Houk GossmanJune 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Excedrin Migraine merely makes my stomach hurt as much as my head and does NOTHING for my head.

  2. I totally know where you are coming from. I've had a constant migraine for 2 years or more. I've been to neuorologist's,a pain specialist, regular doctors and the ER. No one can do anything. Nothing over the counter helps and lets face it pain medicine only last for maybe an hour if even that long. I've not had insurance for a year now and that doesn't help anything because when I'm in pain I can't even go see my doctor. I've noticed huge changes in my mood, my ability to live like I want, and I'm fearful everytime my migraine gets worse or the pain is worse because I don't know if it will be my last few moments on earth. I have a wonderful husband and 3 wonderful children that I wish I could do more with. I hate that you have to live through pain but reading what you posted makes me realize I'm not the only one in the world who has to live like this.

    1. Anonymous, I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a difficult time with everything. You are definitely NOT the only one that lives with constant pain and chronic migraine. There's a whole community of fellow migraineurs online - I can help you find some to check out, if you're interested.

      You might consider checking out Diana's website ( She's a patient advocate and might be able to help you get the care that you need, even without insurance. On her page, under "Links," you can find some links for "Patient Assistance Programs."

      I hope you're having as little pain as possible today.



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