Ways to make a difference in the lives of those with migraine
There are many ways to be an advocate in the migraine community. In celebration of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM), we asked our Move Against Migraine Facebook support group to give insight into how they practice migraine advocacy. Group members shared how they support themselves and others living with this disease. We’ve rounded up the best tips for you to take action.
How do you practice migraine advocacy?
Sharing Your Story
Because there are so many misconceptions about migraine (like the often-heard phrase “migraine is just a headache”), personal stories help to change the conversation about this disease. This can happen with friends, family, coworkers or any person looking to learn more about migraine. While talking about your migraine journey can be deeply personal and a bit intimidating, sharing your story is a way of advocating for yourself and the community.
You can also advocate for the community by sharing your story on our website or entering our annual Migraine Moment Short Film contest each spring. For example, filming a video is a great way to share your story with others, according to MAM member Lisa. “I submitted my short migraine video this year and have passed everyone the link as a way to build awareness.”
Group member Jennifer explains that sharing her story has helped her build relationships. “I am very open with everyone I meet in my personal and professional life about having migraine,” she said. Jennifer explained that keeping this open dialogue has encouraged others to share their own migraine stories with her, creating a support network that benefits everyone.
Educating Yourself + Others
People can also advocate by sharing doctor-verified facts about migraine. Everything we share online and in our Resource Library has been reviewed by a team of doctors to make it easy for you to feel confident reading and sharing our educational information.
Despite over one billion people living with this disease around the world, migraine remains misunderstood and surrounded by stigma. Member Lisa advocates for the community by keeping others informed with facts about migraine. “I do my best to teach family, friends and even people I do not know,” said Lisa. “Putting out facts is important because the general public is misinformed, for the most part.”
For MAM member Paul, advocacy through education has helped him and others feel less alone. “I have been sharing interesting information with friends and family,” he said. “I try to make others aware of new treatments and methods for dealing with the stigma. It’s amazing how many people thought they were the only one with this pain.”
Increasing Visibility of Migraine
While some symptoms of migraine are visible to others, migraine is often referred to as an “invisible disease” because pain, aura, photophobia, nausea and other common symptoms are invisible to the people around you. Look the part for migraine advocacy by wearing purple, the color of migraine awareness. You can also add the migraine awareness Facebook frame to your profile picture or find other ways to incorporate purple into your photos like adding a sticker from Foundation’s free digital sticker pack.
MAM member Lisa chooses to show her advocacy during MHAM in more ways than one. “I wear a lot of combinations of purple which gets attention, and I dye my hair purple for the month of June for the awareness month,” she said.
The migraine community stands out for being supportive and caring. That commitment to caring for others is apparent online. Our Move Against Migraine online support group is a great place to learn about advocacy and meet others who live with migraine. Members post educational resources, anecdotes about their personal experiences and receive support from the community when they need it.
Outside of the group, online advocacy can happen on your own profile page. For example, MAM member Clara uses her social media and blog to talk about her migraine journey. “I write and discuss migraine online: on my blog about chronic migraine and on my accounts on social media.”
In celebration of MHAM, member Connie uses her social media accounts as a platform by increasing her post frequency. “In June during MHAM, I post articles, share my experiences and ask what people learned from an article,” she said. “Throughout the rest of the year, I’ll post things about life with migraine.”
Living with migraine isn’t easy, but people who advocate help to change the way the world views this debilitating disease. If you have any ways that you like to advocate, share those with us on social media by telling us how you #MoveAgainstMigraine. Otherwise, find more information on advocacy or living with migraine on our website.