She’s your coworker or your somewhat allusive friend. He’s your teacher or boyfriend/husband. S/He has a secret: chronic migraine disorder.
Sure – she may come into work with a smile on her face, but she’s hiding the fact that the stress and fluorescent lighting causes her extreme pain. He may continue to lead class, but the noise or scents of the classroom trigger his chronic pain. They take pills, injections, nasal sprays, or whatever the new trend is for migraine pain relief. They see their doctor regularly for Botox injections, have their neurologist on speed-dial, or a regular acupuncture or massage therapy appointments in order to supplement the prescriptions.
S/He is fighting the stigma of “it’s just a headache” on a daily basis, while trying to convince her/himself that it is just that in order to go on with life. S/He is suffering through the piercing light and pulsating sounds of daily life in order to have a life. Then when the day is over and the charade is done, s/he curls up in bed and wonder, “How long do I have to pretend that I am okay?”
For those with chronic migraine, the struggle and pain are real. We fight an invisible illness that only 4% of the population understands. We try to grin and bear it even though every ounce of our being wants to curl up in a dark room and rest until the pain is gone. We don’t want to admit that it impacts every aspect of our lives because then it feels like there is no escape from the pain. In reality, we lose jobs, lose our friends, lose lovers all because of chronic migraine disorder.
So what do we do? How can we fight this illness that has no known cause or cure? I believe it’s time to shine a light on the invisible illness. After all, we make donations to cancer research, animal shelters, children’s hospitals, etc. trying to make a difference. Let’s make a difference in our own lives for once.
Talk about your illness and symptoms. Donate to migraine research. Support others who share the struggle. Instead of hiding our illness, let the hospitals and pharmaceutical companies see the face of chronic migraine disorder. Maybe then we can get back to just being our every day selves and not hiding our symptoms from the world.
It’s time to shine a light on chronic migraine disorder. We had the ice bucket challenge, perhaps this will too go viral. I urge all readers to share a video of themselves either turning on or shining a light at the camera and share your struggle. Tag your friends and encourage them to do the same. Have fun with it or get serious – but when doing it, promote the donation to the Migraine Research Foundation: https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/our-research/research-we-support/
It’s time to shine a light on migraines.
PS : No I do not work for or have any affiliation with the Migraine Research Foundation.