Migraine Awareness Month #7: “List Topper”
“There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about Migraine. Which one tops your list as the biggest and most common? What can we do to get the truth out there?”
Although the answer to this question is blissfully easy for me, the explanation I want to give feels complicated, tangled, and filled with emotion.
It’s inconceivable to me that a condition so ignored and misunderstood, yet so mired in controversy, hearsay, and ridicule could be so painful, completely paralyzing and life-altering. Because of the controversy and misunderstanding, this disease is often under-treated, under-reported and horribly under-funded. Its sufferers often go without pain medicines in order to avoid being called “drug-seekers” or ration migraine “abortive” medications because of the drugs’ exorbitant cost and/or limitations imposed by insurance companies. In extreme, but not rare cases, many migraine sufferers take their own lives in desperate attempts to end the suffering and searing pain that this disease promises – and delivers.
This debilitating disease bears more than just the brutal blow of physical pain: the psychological pain imposed by misunderstanding and myth many times buries the sufferer in depression and a hopelessness that doesn’t exist in more “accepted” diseases and conditions. This is the epitome of a migraineur’s suffering.
Below is my “take” on the myths and misconceptions that affect me the most in this “fight of my life” (given in “quotes” of comments I’ve been unlucky enough to have been told or have overheard):
- “I don’t know why she just doesn’t take an Advil – I’ve had headaches, too and I can get through my day! She must just be a “Barbie” – always trying to get people to feel sorry for her so she doesn’t have to DO ANYTHING!”
- “Yeah, I know –she looks SO GOOD. She can’t be “that” sick…”
- “She’s always been a nervous wreck: if she’d just CALM DOWN, I bet that little “headache” would go away – what a whiner!”
- “I’m sorry, but I have to let you go; you just can’t miss any more days. Maybe this job is just too hard for you…”
- “He must have a brain tumor or something – no one can have that much pain in their head without having a tumor or brain cancer.”
Of course, I’ve developed a little chip on my shoulder over the years, but these words, these fatal beliefs, these life-destroyers just can’t continue to exist any more. That’s where WE come in: together, as migraineurs, will we change all these misconceptions that have become such roadblocks to our relief, comfort, medical coverage, CURE.
We are doing – right now – exactly what it is we need to do to help ourselves:
Reporting… and, finally
What we know WILL be our cure.
Stay tuned – we’re on our way…
National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com
Jill Dehlin says
Amen, sister. I was hesitant to blog because I am (was) ashamed and embarrassed to discuss this disease out in the open. Now that we’re on day 7, I have to say it is liberating. You are right. It’s exactly what we need to do to help ourselves.
Thank you so much for your comment. I think your feelings (and words) speak for so many of us. Many times I leave the doctor’s office with such a sense of shame and embarrassment, too (when they don’t understand or “blow-off” my pain). It takes so much to “get my power back” and feel like a “real” person again. Self-esteem and belief in ourselves is what the stigma surrounding this disease robs us of. Getting the facts out and supporting each other will get us through! Best to you!