Chronic migraine is serious as is any type of migraine. Let’s be real and address it with a purpose. Chronic migraine and relationships can have a very strained connection if not intentionally cared for along the migraine journey. These relationships include the person with migraine’s relationship with their spouse, children, other family members, friends, and coworkers.
At the first encounter with a person with migraine one may not really know what is happening below the surface. Often there is much more pain hidden and it may be that the person with migraine is afraid to share their condition with the people in their life.
Judging, blaming, or resenting does not bring healing or hope to anyone. They also do not help the person with migraine do more or come out of the migraine attack sooner. What may be frustrating or an inconvenience to some is the excruciating pain to the one experiencing a migraine attack.
Chronic migraine 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 Migraine and Relationships with Children
Parenting with migraine is not for the faint of heart and requires support. The person with the migraine attack 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 person with migraine 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’s 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. Migraine 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.
Relationship with Spouse
Being a wife or husband with migraine is very challenging. This is sometimes so overwhelming because the person with migraine cannot be who they want to be and the spouse who does not have migraine has frustrations with the other spouse and what they are 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 attack time I have to find a way to let my brain rest. Without rest, the migraine attack will not pass. If we are lucky it only takes hours, but sometimes they can take days. How do we survive and thrive in life like that?
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 migraine attacks 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 migraine attacks 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
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 as a person with migraine, 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.
Migraine and Relationships with Coworkers: Nobody Wants to Feel Like A Burden
Working with migraine 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. I have worked in a few different places and had the honor of finding some gems who I could trust with how I was feeling and with the belief that a migraine attack is temporary. Migraine should not stop you from living the life you feel called to live.
So communicate with your coworkers, plan ahead, and live your life. Migraine is a part of your life, but it is not all there is to who you are. You have so much more to offer. Think about those qualities and skills. Then you will be living your best life and your work family will be even more appreciative of you.
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 can have honest conversations so those in your world can have a better understanding or if necessary 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.
Chronic Migraine and Relationships: Can There Be a Win-Win?
Migraine and relationships may not be easy, but with care and thought it 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.
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