Showing Grace While Living with Migraine

The Migraine Strong team discusses how they show themselves and others grace while living with migraine

Do you find it hard sometimes to show yourself grace when it comes to living with migraine? Our partners at Migraine Strong reflect on how they practice offering themselves grace. Practice is exactly what it takes!

Eileen’s Take: Prioritize Self-Care

I fell into the trap of trying to be all things to everyone in all situations since starting the Migraine Strong Facebook group in 2016. I commented on every post, write articles and conduct live chats. On top of that, I took care of family obligations and tried to find some downtime (what’s that?). Frequently, I felt like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do a “good enough” job. And this was not counting my chronic migraine that can sideline me for days at a time. The guilt I felt when I needed to step back from work to take care of myself was real.

But I try to remember: I am one person. I am blessed with a great partnership team to help me run Migraine Strong and a team of wonderful people that help manage the Facebook group. The world won’t end if I step away or sleep to help my medications work while treating an attack. I take a deep breath and remind myself that the conversation I have with myself must be as kind and encouraging as anything I would say to my best friend or post to someone asking for help in our group. I embrace where I need to be in that moment. And I allow myself time to rest without worry is what practicing grace looks like for me.

Danielle’s Take: Understand Your Priorities

I had a lot of tearful moments in the past few weeks from being in the “sandwich generation” where I’m taking care of my own family and my aging dad. Tears of frustration happened when I realized I overcommitted as a volunteer at my daughter’s school and for a colleague launching her business. In my current overwhelmed state, it’s often hard for me to plan and organize. If you give me a task, I can do it. But do not rely on me to lead a project right now.

For me, showing grace to myself has been canceling on commitments that I should not have made. It was very hard but it was the right thing to do for all involved. Sometimes showing grace to yourself means understanding your priorities. That can mean saying “no” to all other requests for your time and attention. My priority is keeping myself healthy and minimizing migraine attacks so I can take care of my family. My next priority is pursuing my passion in helping those in the migraine community via my work with Migraine Strong and other powerful organizations like the AMF. The article on stress and migraine is one of many articles that has helped me recently.

Jennifer’s Take: Extend Grace to Friends and Family

I think part of practicing grace while living with chronic illness involves extending grace to those around us. Migraine impacts every area of our lives, and one of the most destructive parts of living with migraine is the effect it has on our relationships with our family and our friends. It’s easy to feel hurt when a family member makes a snarky comment about our diet or a friend offers us yet another “migraine cure”. I try to remember they’re coming from a place of love. They care about us and are generally only trying to help even when it doesn’t feel very helpful.

The truth is if they live with us or are close to us, they live with migraine, too, because it impacts them. It affects them differently than it affects us, but it does impact them. So I try to hold onto my close relationships by trying to see migraine through their eyes and understanding they’re doing their best to be there for us in the best way they know how. Migraine can steal our friendships and our relationships. Offering grace is a way of standing up and saying “Hey migraine, you’ve taken enough. You’re not taking that away from me.”

No matter how we approach extending grace to ourselves, it’s a necessary practice for maintaining a healthy relationship with ourselves and others. How have you practiced offering yourself grace lately?

The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.