Being there through the good, the bad and the migraine

There is no question that migraine can be lonely and isolating. But what if every person living with migraine had a support system to lean on during the worst headache days? Life would be a whole lot easier for the 37 million Americans who are living with this disabling disease! So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we asked our Move Against Migraine group members to share what their loved ones do to make managing migraine a team effort. Read on for three ways you can support a loved one living with migraine.

1. Helping out around the house

When your head is throbbing, but the guilt of dishes piling up in the sink is almost too much to bear, having someone lend a hand with household tasks can be a huge relief. So while your significant other can’t make a migraine attack disappear, they definitely can help take tasks off your plate so you can focus on recovering. Move Against Migraine member Ann-Marie shared that her husband helps with picking up prescriptions, buying soda and caffeine pills, and grocery shopping because the fluorescent lights trigger her migraine. Similarly, many members shared that their partners help put the kids to bed, take the pets out and cook simple, migraine-friendly meals.

Talking to your partner about migraine isn’t always easy, so we put together a guide to explaining a new diagnosis to your loved ones. Another way to start the conversation with your significant other and family members is to link them to our guide to supporting someone living with migraine. This free, downloadable guide talks about simple ways to show support and champion someone living with migraine.

2. Advocating on behalf of your partner

People living with diseases like migraine find themselves having to explain themselves and advocating for better care on multiple fronts. While we have been making progress in educating the world on the fact that migraine is a real neurological disease, advocating for yourself is a big part of the puzzle. But even more awesome is when you have someone in your support system advocating on your behalf.  In the group, Melanie shared that her husband educated himself on her specific type of migraine, which helps him take care of her and explain her symptoms to others. Jayasri shared how her partner helped for her advocate for accommodations in her workplace, including adequate time off and lunch breaks.

Group members Mary Kay and Andrea both shared stories of how their partners advocated for them in the emergency room, refusing to leave their sides and pushing for better care. For example, Andrea’s partner provides nurses with helpful information during Triage and gets her warm blankets if the waiting room is too cold. While everyone’s workplace and ER experience is different, the AMF created a free downloadable emergency room survival kit to help navigate the situation.

The AMF resource library is full of guides and resources for those living with migraine. If you have an idea for a guide you’d like for us to create, please contact us here!

3. Showing compassion

Small acts of kindness often speak louder than words. Move Against Migraine member Cherisse is grateful for her husband and shared, “When I text or call that I have a headache, I come home and my jammies are laid out, the noise is gone and the lights are dim.” Similarly, Mike doesn’t know how he’d manage without his fiancé, who massages his aching neck and shoulders and brings him his medication when he is having a hard time getting out of bed. It’s the little tasks that can make the biggest impact.

As support group members shared their stories, many commented that reading the thread reminded them of all the small things that their significant others did that often went unnoticed. This week, be sure to thank your partner for being part of your migraine support team and let them know how much you appreciate everything they do. It really does take a village!