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Chronic Migraines and Relationships

Hands and heart showing support with chronic migraines.

Chronic migraines are serious as are any type of migraine. Let’s be real and address them with a purpose. Chronic migraines and relationships can have a very strained connection if not intentionally cared for along the migraine journey.  These relationships include the migraine sufferer’s relationship with spouse, children, other family members, friends, and coworkers.  

At the first encounter with a migraine sufferer one may think “Wow, that seems like something that shouldn’t happen very often!”  Or an onlooker may think, “Surely, it wasn’t that bad, right!?” 

Oh, but it is that bad friends and we have to support each other! Judging, blaming, or resenting do not bring healing or hope to anyone.  They also do not help the migraine sufferer do more or come out of the migraine attack sooner. What may be frustrating or an inconvenience to some is that and excruciating pain to the one experiencing migraine.

Chronic migraines may cause one to feel they are losing a part of themselves at times. Thinking about how each type of relationship can be affected by migraine makes this hit home. When we can’t do what we know we want or need to do, life is at its most frustrating point.

Chronic Migraines and Relationships with Children

mom reading to children

Parenting with a migraine is not for the faint of heart and requires support.  The person with the migraine is fully aware of what their kids need, but the pain they feel may grow by not being able to meet the needs of their children.  This is where a strong support system comes in.  With love and support the migraine sufferer can better heal and get back to doing what they love sooner.

Missing out on time with your kids is a big deal and something that often brings guilt with it.  I have experienced huge mom guilt.  In fact when we drive past the hospital my kids say, “Mama, there is your doctor’s office.” Seems they remember the ER trips and times I have been admitted.  I’m going to be honest and say that hurts my mama heart deeply.  

In addition to their new vocabulary it is the things I miss that hurt as well.  Soccer games, school carnival, and just a day at the park.  When I see their little faces go from smiles to sad because mama can’t join it gets me. Yet, they are the sweetest caregivers and comforters. My 5 and almost 7 year old will pray for mama. They bring me a blanket and reluctantly give me the remote to the lights.  Migraines and parenting are a tough combination.

However, I know that I am doing my best to be present all that I can.  I also believe my children are learning empathy and compassion. These are lessons I hope they carry with them and live out in their lives.  Perhaps they have a few more words in their vocabularies as well. The big rocks here are to treasure my time with them and ensure we all find the good that is present in our days.

Mom and daughters baking

Relationship with Spouse

Being a wife or husband with migraines is very challenging.  This is sometimes so overwhelming because the person with migraines cannot be who they want to be and the spouse who does not have migraines has frustrations with what the migraine sufferer is not able to do.  Sometimes plans are changed and sometimes things on the to do list have to be put off.  

For me, a growing to do list drives me crazy, but if it’s a bad migraine time I have to find a way to let my brain rest. Without rest the migraine will not pass.  If we are lucky the migraine only takes hours, but sometimes they can take days.  How do we survive and thrive in life like that?

wife and husband hands with wedding rings

It truly takes seeing things through the other person’s eyes as much as possible.  I try to put myself in my husband’s shoes and I am going to be transparent friends.  This is not an easy process.  When we got married my migraines were not this bad.  You sign up for better or worse right?  Well, here we are. 

In my life, real conversations and open hearts are the way to make this work. That said, my migraines aren’t bad all the time and yours may not be either.  Perspective is also valuable so be sure to recognize the good days and celebrations in your journey.

Relationships with Friends

hands and heart

This is a tough one because it may be your friends who you feel support from and truly appreciate.  However, did you somehow find that you were not included in some of the Happy Hour Invites or other events.  These are complaints I hear and I think that honestly sometimes people may just assume the migraine sufferer, yours truly included, will not go.

However, friendships are so important in life. They must be cared for and treasured.  That said, through this season of small children my closest friends and I have done more talking through Marco Polo than through actual face to face time. It’s the connection and trust that we have which does not change.

Even still, I know that I have not kept up with other friendships and you may find yourself feeling this way too.  Reach out to others and connect with those you care about.  Real friends will always be there and chances are they had your best interest in mind.

Migraines and Relationships with Coworkers: Nobody Wants to Be Dead Weight

Working with migraines takes a lot of planning and perseverance.  To tell you the whole truth, it also takes a workplace that is supportive of this invisible illness and coworkers who care.  For me I have won the lottery in that department.  As a teacher I recently had to go to the hospital on the first day of school due to a severe migraine.  My school nurse took me there and then I was in the hospital for 5 days. During those days my people were amazing!

Working with migraines means that unplanned things can happen.  Even though I had my week planned out this particular migraine took me out of commission.  The things a teacher usually does for a sub I needed my teammate’s help for. She stepped in and kept all of fourth grade running smoothly.  Several other staff members helped out when needed.  They say it takes a village and I can say they are right! Our village pulled together and is an example of family in the workplace at its finest.

Mindset Matters

This help did produce some worry in myself that I was causing so much work for others and I would be lying if I said this was my only absence.  In recent years I have been able to do sub plans so this time was unique.  However, it just doesn’t feel good to have this idea that you put others out.  Sometimes this leads to negative self talk and you have to watch how this makes you feel.  This is where communication and gratitude are priceless.

If you are lucky your village or family is one that lifts you up.  If this is not the case my hope is you have the ability to consider other options.  Your environment plays a huge part in your well being!  I am in an amazing place now and am so thankful for my school family.  Reflect on your environment friends.

chalkboard with chronic migraine words about migraines and rock background

Chronic Migraines and Relationships: Can There Be a Win Win?

Migraines and relationships may not be easy, but with care and thought they can become stronger than thought possible.  As mentioned before no judgment or blame can be present here by anyone. That may take some reframing of our thoughts.

In order to truly thrive in relationships while having migraines, I must be honest with myself and others. I have also had to forgive myself for the guilt I have felt. I have felt a burden to so many and having that hanging over my head is not a way to live.

In this migraine fight I feel I am doing all I can. Friends, I know you are too.  We must encourage each other on this journey. It is that positive voice in our head we must hear.  You need people to build you up and you have to find ways to make peace with this illness and how it changes your life. 

Testimony and Look Ahead at migraineroad.com

My daily victories are doing all I can and loving my people.  I take 4 preventatives and will be trying Botox.  I will be writing about that experience later.  My journey takes love from the people in my life, prayer, and reflection.  This migraine road is not easy, but as I have said it is always better traveled with a little help from your friends. 

Ways to be Connected and in the Know

Stay connected by subscribing to posts and newsletters. Check out migraine road on Instagram here. Join the Facebook group on the contact page. My story is also published here on Migraine Again. This is a place to be connected and encouraged.

18 thoughts on “Chronic Migraines and Relationships”

  1. I agree that your environment is so important for your mental well-being and feelings of support. Thanks for highlighting some advice in this post. <3

  2. I don’t suffer from migraines (thankfully), but I learned a lot about migraines reading this. It sounds like you have a great support network, especially at work, which is awesome. Thanks for sharing and enlightening those of us that don’t know what it’s like.

  3. I understand how it feels to have migraine but not “chronic” migraine; and I understand more than it can be harder when you are a parent with migraine – it is hard to attend any events! Thanks for this eye-opening article!

  4. It is helpful to read about the experience of others, it gives you an idea of how relationships can be affected for someone suffering from migraines. Many people think of migraine as a simple headache that goes away with an analgesic when it is not. Your article opens the doors to those that don’t suffer from migraines and need to get more educated about this topic. Thanks!

  5. This is a subject very near and dear to me. Having a good support system is crucial but not everyone has this, unfortunately. I wish doctors would take migraines a little more seriously, and look into the cause and then come up with a remedy. Treatment is not one size fits all since migraines are caused by so many different things. Thanks for sharing this great article!

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