Migraine support. It’s something we all need to live as well as possible with Migraine disease. Many of us need to give Migraine support as much as we need to receive it.
Receiving Migraine support helps us . . .
- feel validated,
- feel less isolated,
- know we’re not alone, and
- maintain hope.
Giving Migraine support helps us . . .
- feel productive,
- feel that we’re giving back and paying forward, and
- know that we’re part of a community or family.
There are, however, some pitfalls to offering Migraine support . . .
- It’s profoundly easy to empathize and become angry if the person we’re supporting has been wronged.
- When we become angry, we tend to REact rather than acting.
- Reacting can lead us to strong language or even off-handed suggestions of violence such as, “bash him in the head to show him what a Migraine really feels like.”
Acting vs. reacting
When someone with Migraine needs support, of course it helps validate their feelings when others react with emotions similar to theirs. That’s a legitimate form of support and is fine as long as the reaction is appropriate to the people involved and the circumstances. For example: If offering support to someone in a Facebook group, we shouldn’t use profanity or fall back on the suggestion of bashing someone in the head if such comments run contrary to the group rules and guidelines.
When we pause and think about what another Migraine patient has said and what happened to them, that gives us time to act deliberately in the support we offer instead of an instant reaction. This can offer more to the person needing support.
Ways to act on someone’s need for support
Here are some ways we can act in response to need for support, ways that are constructive and can offer more support than reacting:
- Collect links: When we come across online information about Migraine, Migraine treatments, protection under the ADA, coping with issues at work, etc., save them to a bookmarks folder. Then, when we see someone online who needs support, it’s easy to give them a link. If we’re supporting someone in person, we can either direct them to the link or print the information to give to them.
- Keep a list of good books: With the development of eBooks, there’s been a rapid proliferation in the number of books about Migraine disease that are available. This is a double-edged sword as some of the books are quite good, while others aren’t worth the cost or time to read them. Keeping track of the good ones can help others save themselves from investing time and money in those that aren’t worth it.
- Remember nonprofit organizations that could help: There are several good nonprofit organizations that can help people with Migraine and other Headache disorders. Directing people to them is a great source of support. Some of those organizations are:
A side issue related to Migraine
It can be helpful at times to understand why certain emotions surface as they do. We’ve discussed in other articles how the fluctuations of neurotransmitters that occur during Migraine attacks can make us feel depression, anger, panic, the need to isolate and more. In a 2018 study, Park and Seo concluded:
“Patients with Chronic Migraine had a higher overall aggression questionnaire score and physical aggression, anger, and hostility subscale scores than controls.”
“Aggression is likely to be a common feature in Chronic Migraine.”
Being aware that Migraine can have this effect on us and others can be very helpful if we remember it — both when asking for support and when giving it.
We want to do our best
We all want to do our best when offering Migraine support. Sometimes, not feeling well ourselves or feeling great empathy for the person who needs the support can get in our way. Although reacting with anger and indignation on behalf of the person who needs support is natural and can help to some extent, it can also serve more to fuel their own anger and indignation than to help them find possible solutions to their situation.
If we pause to think for a moment, then act rather than REacting, we can offer them more. We can combine our expressions of sympathy and solidarity with valuable resources, and that offers far more than a simple reaction.
To assist you in your quest to offer good Migraine support, here are some links that we often use to help people:
- 7 Steps to Advocating for Our Kids with Migraine
- Helping Others Understand Migraine: A Letter
- Finding a Migraine Specialist: Why, How, and Where
- Detailing and Delving into the Types of Migraine
- Medications That Can Cause Medication Overuse Headache
- Pricing Migraine Medications: Check Out GoodRx
- Workplace Accommodations: Migraine & the Law
Park S., Seo J. “Aggression and its association with suicidality in migraine patients: a case-control study.” The Journal of Headache and Pain (2018) 19:67.