What Not to Say to Someone With Migraine
Those of us who suffer with chronic migraine pain have probably all experienced the insensitive, and sometimes outrageous, comments made by those around us. These are typically people who do not understand what it is to live either in pain or in fear of the next attack. Strangely, it has occurred in my life with alarming frequency and from surprising sources, such as the misguided advice of an ER doctor and close relatives without a clue.
It is frustrating when you are already suffering and feeling like you are just getting by, and then someone says something so ridiculous or insulting there really is no polite response. I say very little in those instances, though a comeback is playing in my mind.
Here are a few of the top insensitive comments about migraines we have all heard at some point. May it serve as a guide of what not to say to someone with migraine.
1. “You should just drink more water.”
Yes, I am aware dehydration can cause headache pain, but this is not my case. I drink plenty of water every day and I drink more when I feel a migraine is coming on, but that is not what triggers my migraines, nor will it solve my chronic health issue.
2. “Have you tried (insert medication name here)?”
Why yes, I don’t actually just sit there and take nothing to try and stop the crushing pain. I am aware there are things like Excedrin Migraine, Aspirin, Imitrex, Aleve and even Botox. I would have to live in isolation, without television or communication with any doctor to not have at least tried these obvious, well-known migraine medications.
3. “There is already a treatment for migraines, but the big pharmaceutical companies want you to stay sick.”
I’m not sure who you know that has been cured, while others remain out of the loop, but I am pretty sure the ones who produce a cure would rake in the money if that were at all true. There is no cure as of yet.
4. “Think positive! You are attracting negative energy and manifesting this condition. It is all in your head.”
It is an actual condition that occurs in my brain — which is located in my head — so you are partially correct, and that area sends out signals of pain to my nerve sensors. It is actually mostly caused by triggers (stress, light and certain scents) and my body’s hormones, and you would know about these concrete reasons if you were to actually research the science behind migraines. There is nothing in there in those medical studies about positive thoughts or energy saving me from an attack.
5. “We all get headaches.”
Yes, this is true, but not everyone gets migraines and they are not the same thing. Comparing a headache to a migraine is like comparing a soft summer rain to a hurricane. Unless you have felt this, you cannot and should not make a comparison.
6. “Seriously, how can you have another migraine? Again?”
Well, they don’t seem to set a schedule for me to know when they will strike, so I don’t know why I have another one, but I assure you they will keep coming unless someone finds an actual lasting cure.