Migraine and Stigma - The Best Video Ever!
Studies have shown that the stigma associated with Migraine adds to the burden of living with Migraine disease. This is true with both episodic and chronic Migraine, but it is worse with chronic Migraine. One would think that in these days of such a connected society, the stigma associated with disease would be decreasing. Unfortunately, there's little evidence that it is.
Today, I want to share the best video I have ever seen about the impact of Migraine and the associated stigma. If there are people in your life who don't understand your Migraines and their impact on your life, this video may be just the thing to give them a clue.
This video is from Dr. William Young of the Jefferson Headache Center. Dr. Young is a Migraineur himself, and he was my first Migraine specialist. His also one of the co-founders and the current President of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, the organization that sponsors an annual Headache on the Hill event during which advocates lobby Congress for increased research funding for and awareness of Migraine and other Headache Disorders.
The video is about 15 minutes long, and it's well worth watching it all. I suggest that if you have people in your life you want to share the video with, you sit down and watch it with them, if possible. Watching it together could very well open an opportunity for a productive discussion.
Here are some quotes from the video that I find especially strong and empowering:
- “I think the best way to look at it is this way — If you have episodic Migraine, and your Migraine goes away, that kind of fits with how people see Migraine, and that’s kind of normal, and it’s less stigmatized. But if you have headaches almost all the time, or every single day, that’s looked as weird, and a problem, and you’re not right, and you’re more stigmatized.”
- “I’d like to take this concept of stigma back to how research is funded and how government invests in taking care of people who have a disease, and it turns out that people who are stigmatized or have a stigmatizing illness get less from government. They get less res and they also get less in terms of resources to actually take care of them.”
- “We need to say two things about people who have Migraine. I think we need to say that this is a disease that can happen to anyone, and it happens to good people. People who have Migraine, like my teacher, are extraordinarily wonderful people who struggle. And they struggle every day sometimes. And they bring themselves to contribute in amazing ways. And they should not be viewed upon as lesser because they have this Migraine.”
- “And the other thing that I think we need to say is, Chronic Migraine, that frequent Migraine is not weird. It’s not strange. It’s really a normal part of the spectrum of this disease, and it goes on and that can happen. You can have asthma that’s nothing, that’s like cold; and you can have asthma that kills you… you can have episodic Migraine that’s light, that doesn’t change your life at all; and you can have severe chronic Migraine that puts you in bed half the time; and you can never hold a job with that disease. And if you’re unlucky enough to have the second form of this disease, you shouldn’t have additional burdens put on your life because people don’t understand and because people look down on this disease in comparison to others.”
With June being Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, there couldn't be a better time to share this video to help reduce the stigma of Migraine and other Headache Disorders. I hope you'll join me in this campaign!
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