In addition to the physical impact of migraine, there’s also a tremendous emotional burden. Because we often can’t do all the things we want or even need to do for our families, migraine can generate horrible guilt.
We can feel guilty about so very many things, including:
- missing events with family and friends;
- not being able to shop for the perfect gifts for family, friends, and coworkers;
- not getting holiday cards addressed and mailed;
- not being able to decorate our homes for the holidays;
- being unable to toil over perfect holiday meals; and
- so much moreAll of these things used to get me really down during the holiday season. Please think about this though -
What are your best holiday memories? My best memories are of spending time with the people I love. I vividly remember sitting at my grandmother’s table for Christmas dinner, BUT I really don’t remember what we ate. Here are some of my most precious memories:
- how pretty my grandmother looked as she looked around the table at her family;
- my mother smiling and singing Christmas carols;
- my father holding my hand while we said grace on Christmas day;
- sitting with my grandfather, watching the swirling snow through the windows;
- being allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Even to watch the ball drop.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to interview actress and fellow migraineur Marcia Cross. One of the topics we discussed was migraines and holidays. She offered a wonderful comment:
“… that’s the time of year when everybody stresses. Needlessly, I might add, because it’s really not the point of the holiday. You know, if you don’t have the perfect present or if the turkey’s a little overcooked… Your family wants you.”
Stop and think about it. I’ve discussed this before. Having migraines doesn’t make us less valuable. It doesn’t mean that friends and family members get a “pass” for being unthinking, selfish, or uncaring. Even if they’ve never experienced any health issues of their own, if they truly care about us, they’ll be gentle and considerate. If not, it’s their problem, not ours; and if you’ve ever taken a psychology class, you’ll probably remember this basic principle -** Only the person who owns a problem can solve it.So, starting right now - Please be good and fair to yourself, and dump the migraine guilt.** Whatever holidays you’re celebrating, may they be precious, happy, and guilt-free!
because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.