Migraine as an Invisible Illness
The transcript of this podcast is below. If you prefer to listen to it, you can easily do so from the MigraineCast Web site.
Hello and welcome to MigraineCast the weekly podcast brought to you by MyMigraineConnection.com and the HealthCentral Network.
One of the biggest challenges faced by people with Migraines and chronic headaches is the level of understanding of those around them. Migraineurs often say that only other Migraineurs can understand them and what Migraines do to their lives.
One reason for that is that Migraine disease and chronic headaches are "invisible" illnesses. Yes, people can sometimes see that we're in pain, but the illness, the source of the pain, isn't something they can see or feel for themselves. We don't have a visible wound or any visible scars. We don't need crutches or a wheel chair.
In a recent online survey, people with invisible illnesses reported comments other people tend to make that disturb them. The most reported comment was, "But you look so good."
This week is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, founded by Lisa Copen of Rest Ministries. "But you look so good!" Ironic that a comment that might otherwise be a compliment is disturbing and annoying, almost insulting to someone with an invisible illness.
What other comments really get to people? These comments were also reported in that online survey:
- "Your illness is caused by stress."
- "If you stopped thinking about it and went back to work..."
- "You can't be in that much pain. Maybe you just want attention."
- "Just pray harder."
From talking with other Migraineurs, I can add a couple:
"If you got more exercise, you wouldn't have so many headaches."
"You need to get out more. Staying at home so much is depressing and causing your headaches."
It's not that people are trying to be hurtful, but they don't understand. Need I say more about such comments? I don't think so.
The theme for this year's awareness week is, “Living with invisible illness is a roller coaster. Help a friend hold on!” In keeping with that theme, let's take some time to check in with those we know who have Migraine disease and other invisible illnesses. See how they're doing and be sure they have the resources they need both for support and for learning about their illnesses. Learning about our illnesses is our best tool. It empowers us, lets us work better with our doctors as treatment partners seeking effective treatment regimens and a better quality of life.
If you're having enough trouble coping with your own illness and just don't feel up to checking on other people, let's reverse that. If you're having trouble coping, take some time this week to look for sources of information and support for yourself. If you need help with this, please click on the "Email Me" link in the right column of MigraineCast.com and send me an email. I'll be glad to help you find resources.
Living with severe headaches and Migraine disease for over 40 years has brought me to the realization that learning about Migraine disease and headaches can allow us to work with our doctors as treatment partners to gain control over headaches and Migraines rather than them controlling us. Please join us at MyMigraineConnection for information and support or for a transcript of this podcast. From MyMigraineConnection and the HealthCentral Network, this is Teri Robert reminding you that you can indeed live well, even with Migraine disease and headaches.
For more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, see our video and SharePost.
© Teri Robert, 2007.