When Migraine Pain Fuels Anger and Impatience


Migraines and Anger

Migraines and AngerWhen the pain of a migraine sets in, I often find myself struggling to get through the day, longing for a dark, silent place to simply lay down, close my eyes and shut out the world.

I am no longer myself. It is difficult to have patience or act like am in a good mood. I feel grumpy and miserable and then I feel guilty for being that way. And much of the time, I must continue with work, driving and all my regular obligations, all of which can accelerate my migraine to the next level of pain and my grumpiness to zero tolerance.

I admit it; everyday challenges, situations, people, and noise get to me much easier when I am suffering from a migraine. Noise can actually make me angry – like I am so caught up in the pain I am in that I am actually mad at whoever is responsible for any unnecessary noise. It is the pain talking, but it is coming out of my mouth.

Noise that increases my pain can be anything from someone turning up the radio for their favorite song, to whistling a happy tune in the elevator. Whistling especially makes me lose my cool because it typically involves high-pitched notes that seem to strike the pain in me like a bolt of electricity and make me feel like my head might explode.

I have to watch what I say during these situations because whatever my response, it is coming from a place so desperate it feels like my life depends on making the extra noise stop. I probably don’t have to tell you that I can come off sounding abrupt or angry to others as I plead for mercy.

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People Without Migraines Don’t Understand

I have found that most people who are not prone to migraines do not have a clear idea of the type of headache that we are dealing with. They simply think that migraines are much like the “bad headache” they occasionally get.

People have asked me why I am cranky and wearing my sunglasses on a cloudy day. They judge my mood, my conversation abilities and roll their eyes in a way that makes me feel like they are deeming me “overly dramatic.”


But the fact is, I happen to be able to handle a high level of pain, have given birth to four children without taking anything for pain during labor and I suffer from lupus, which causes dramatic pain throughout my joints and entire body on a regular basis.

I am tough. So when I cannot hold down food because the migraine pain is so intense, it makes me angry to be told I am anything but strong.

What Not to Say to Someone With Migraines

There is also a lot of advice, some good, most of it not very helpful, and some downright irritating, that people without migraines feel the need to share. Here are a few things never to say to me or anyone with migraines:

My Aunt (Mother, Sister, Cousin) Changed Her Diet and Her Migraines Are Gone

I get it. You want to help. But honestly, I have tried avoiding certain foods and even have gone gluten-free, dairy-free and tried just about all the latest miracle diets out there.

The result was that none of it prevented my migraines. There are very specific migraine trigger foods that I avoid, but I am not about to drink all my meals in a magic shake only to learn weeks later it does not work.

Next page: more things not to say to someone with migraines, and managing your pain and resentment.

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