Share the Knowledge
Now that you have become a migraine expert, and you have sharpened your understanding of your own symptoms and struggles; you can pass the information along to the valued people in your life so they have a better understanding of how to help someone with a migraine. Communicating effectively will produce the best success. Here’s how:
Set Your Goal
Starting a conversation without a goal is like going sailing in a boat without a destination. You might wind up somewhere fun, but it would only be a coincidence. Think about the outcome you desire and what you can do to encourage success. Setting goals allows you to plan and prepare what you might say in a particular situation.
If you are only interested in providing information, focus on the facts. If you want the other people to grasp your struggle, share the personal, private thoughts and feelings. Remember, your goal should only center on yourself. It is not realistic to set a goal to change the thoughts, feelings or behaviors of the other person. Focus on you.
Lastly, never set a goal that involves being “right” or proving the other person “wrong.” No good can come from this.
Know Your Audience
Once you have a goal, think about the best way to achieve this result with your audience. Surely, you would speak to your grandmother in a different way than your boss at work. Your best friend would not appreciate being spoken to like a 10-year-old and your nephew would be confused by the full power of your limitless lexicon.
Some people respond well to humor while others require a more serious, formal discussion. For this reason, you will improve your chances for success by arranging times and places to have these conversations. Otherwise, you may be caught off-guard and respond reactivly. In situations like this, the conversation is less likely to be fruitful.
Assertive communication is always the best communication. If you are frustrated or annoyed by the lack of understanding other people present with, it may skew your communication to be more aggressive or passive.
Passive communication involves being quiet, guarded with disclosing your thoughts and feelings, being a pushover and caring more about others than yourself. Aggressive communication is usually loud and defensive. It will display a lack of respect towards others.
Assertive communication is more interested in facts, data and straightforward expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas. When in doubt with assertive communication, use an “I” statement like this: “I feel disappointed that you do not accept and understand my experience with migraines. I would appreciate you reading this information to learn more about the condition. Also, I would be happy to have a conversation with you about my symptoms and stressors.”
With crisp communication like that, the other person would be foolish to refuse.
The invisible nature of migraines naturally leads to some confusion on the topic. You didn’t sign up to be the spokesperson for any migraine association, but gaining information and effectively sharing it with the important people in your life is worth the effort. When you advocate for you, you advocate for everyone with migraines.