Migraine is a time and energy consuming disease and if you haven´t suffered it personally, it can be very difficult to understand it. (Learn more about different types of migraine, their causes, symptoms and treatments here)
You can make room for migraine in your relationships. With a little effort, communication, awareness and work, it can be done, especially when you are dealing with children and pregnant woman who have migraine.
Relationships add a lot of value to our life, and we need them to have a fulfilling life.
Gerald Ellison, Ph.D., director of Psychoneuroimmunology Services at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, stated:
“Friends keep us from becoming isolated and lonely; they offer encouragement and support, and they help keep our thinking in line with the real world… When we’re missing friendship, we experience isolation and loneliness. These feelings are associated with illness, discomfort, and general ineffectiveness as a person… Having friends can also be especially helpful if you’re already seriously ill… Friends — if supportive and encouraging — can increase our hope when dealing with illness and trauma. And increased hope is associated with higher levels of immune system functioning.”
Important things to do when you are in a close relationship
Migraine disease can affect your social life negatively. Below are some things you can do to help with your relationships.
1. Untreated depression – It is common to suffer from combined depression and migraines. This can worsen the issues in your relationships. If you feel you might suffer from depression, see the doctor who treats your migraines and talk to them.
2. Doctor visits – For your next doctor appointment it would be wonderful if you could invite a person that is close to come with you. This person will be in a position to understand your condition better.
3. Avoid important conversations during a migraine attack – You are more irritable when you are suffering from a migraine. Also after a migraine attack you can have the Migraine Hangover, where you feel flat and just not yourself. It will be difficult to find the right words in these times, and this may prevent you from saying what you mean. If you can´t think clearly you can´t make important decisions. Wait until the migraine attack is over, including the migraine hangover and when you feel like you can talk, call the person and have a good honest talk.
4. Educate your loved ones – Share with them articles with migraine information. Tell them how severe your symptoms can be. Share how migraine impacts the rest of your life and how attacks make you feel.
5. Be honest and have a straightforward conversation – The best thing you can do is, to be honest and open with yourself and with others. If you are not feeling well, be honest about the reason why you can´t participate. Talk about your symptoms and warn those close to you before the attack. Be specific about what you need. Communication is the first step towards understanding. Talking about migraine disease isn’t exactly fun or easy. People can be clueless about what is happening to you, as there isn’t a lot of public awareness about how severe this condition is. The thing is that if they haven´t experienced migraines then it hasn´t crossed their minds that you are in pain. Let them know what to expect. Talking about your experiences can be incredibly gratifying and freeing!
6. Help your family help you – Your loved ones can feel hopeless when you are in pain. This can cause frustration. So, before an attack comes tell them what they can do to help.
7. Explain to your loved ones what triggers your migraines – If you know that something is triggering your migraines at home, everyone will understand and help you create a better living environment for you.
Sustaining Your Relationships
- Show gratitude – Let your loved ones know you care for them. Show your appreciation by simply sending a text or a greeting card. Write to them about how you feel and what you think of them. We don´t do this as often as we should.
- Building your support system – It’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. Consider joining a support group online, communicate with them, make friends that understand what are you going through. Find a purpose for your pain and help others live a fulfilling life with this condition.
- Invitations – If we are not feeling well, we have to say no to our friends who have invited us to their gatherings or simply to hang out. The invitations will decrease with time. To maintain a good relationship with them, we can invite them to hang out when we have a strong sense that we may be migraine free. We can also invite our friends to our home where we can control migraine triggers.
- Stay in touch – It is very important that you stay in touch with your friends and your loved ones. Do something nice, a greeting card, an e-mail, a phone call. If you do this you ensure good communication with them.
- Migraine is an illness that can significantly impact your life and relationships, but there are things you can do. Your loved ones will be by your side if you include them in the picture and explain what you expect from them on this journey. Opening up with the people around you and giving them space to understand and to ask questions will be the first step to build strong relationships.
- Also, knowing some migraine home remedies is significantly important and helpful.