What migraine means to people living with it

Pain, isolation, missed opportunities and guilt. That’s how Move Against Migraine member Stephanie J. described her migraine. This disabling disease affects more than 37 million people in the United States alone and has physical, psychological and life-changing effects on those living with it. In preparation for Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, the American Migraine Foundation asked our support group for their migraine #SixWordStories. Here’s what they had to say.

“Migraine doesn’t just affect the patient.”

Move Against Migraine member and AMF partner Erica C. stressed that migraine affects the patient and everyone around them. Self-care may look like missing out on family gatherings or canceling plans with friends, but open communication will help all parties understand that it’s not personal and find alternative ways to maintain those relationships.

The AMF encourages patients to talk to their loved ones about their migraine and to tackle migraine as a team. Our free guide to managing a migraine diagnosis has a section about explaining the diagnosis to loved ones. Use concrete examples to prepare them for what a migraine diagnosis may look like in your lives, and tell them what their support and understanding means to you.

“Life in constant fear of attack.”

Support group member Christy O. reminds us that many people living with migraine stress about when their next attack will come. Similarly, Ashley W. contributed this six-word story: “Life stopping on a dime, anytime.” The fear of having a migraine attack and having plans torpedoed can cause patients anxiety and discourage them from making plans at all.

Taking inventory of your migraine with a headache journal is a vital part of migraine self-care and can help you identify your triggers and minimize your exposure to them. Getting to know your migraine not only helps you reduce the frequency and intensity of your attacks, but can help you predict them and prevent your life from being overrun by them.

“My struggle does not define me.”

Support group member Kristen C. shared that she didn’t let her migraine define her. While it won’t fend off a migraine attack, a positive battle cry can make the difference and encourage you to find a headache specialist, join a migraine support community or learn more about managing your attacks. You are not alone and there are resources at your disposal to learn more about your options for managing the frequency and symptoms of your attacks.

“Nobody understands the pain we tolerate.”

Migraine is an invisible illness and like Move Against Migraine member Tiffany K. said, many people can’t imagine what living with migraine looks like. June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, so what better time to share your experience with those around you? Awareness is key to getting migraine recognized for the disabling disease that it is and can encourage empathy and funding for research.

Learn more about the AMF’s social media initiatives for the month of June, and tweet us your migraine #SixWordStory so we can share it with our followers. Your experience is valid and your story is important. Let’s #MoveAgainstMigraine together this June and promise not to stop until there’s accessible treatment for all.