Migraine appeared so early in life that I don’t remember my first attack. My family didn’t know about migraine and headache specialists or treatments to prevent migraine. Without adequate treatment, by age 16, I was facing both medication overuse headache and chronic migraine. For years I searched for answers. Each new doctor had a new idea that inevitably failed. Most eventually blamed me for “being too stressed out” and abandoned their promise to help me “get rid of those headaches.”
After a devastating business loss in 2005, a new job offer convinced me to go back to school. I knew that working full-time while taking night classes was high risk combination for migraine. Determined to finally get control of migraine, I started searching online. That’s when I found Teri Robert. Her ideas resonated with me. She called migraine a “disease” and encouraged people to take it seriously. While getting an education in counseling theory and practice, I also got a migraine education. Medication trials, migraine and headache diaries, and trigger avoidance became just as important as Freud, Jung, Erikson, Ainsworth, and Gottman.
Yet it was Victor Frankl who helped me combine psychological theory with personal migraine management. In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he wrote, “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning…” That statement took root in my spirit as I discovered that living with migraine disease could become more than a curse to be endured. All that pain and suffering took on new meaning when I realized my story could help others.
Frankl also said, “What is to give light must endure burning.” I had been through the fire. Now it was time to shine a little light. I had been given a gift that demanded to be shared, so in 2011, I started telling my story. At first, the posts were brief updates on my personal progress as I searched for better ways to manage migraine. Slowly, my writing took on a different tone as I became an educator, activist, and advocate. By 2014, I was writing professionally about migraine. Teri noticed and picked up the phone to offer some constructive feedback. Until that moment, she was someone I admired and looked to for advice. Before the call was over, our friendship had begun.
migraine and attitudeThe next phase of my journey starts here as a new HealthCentral Health Guide for the migraine site. You will soon discover that I am a firm believer in the concept of “migratude.” It fits well with my favorite Frankl quote, “Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.” We may not always be able to choose how migraine impacts our lives, but we can always choose our attitude. That attitude can make all the difference. It’s an honor and privilege to share my experiences, teach the fundamentals, report on new advances, and pass on the light of hope for a better migraine future.
Headache disorders counselor and advocate Tammy Rome maintains a private practice specializing in treating clients with Migraine and other headache disorders. She also volunteers as vice chair of the American Headache and Migraine Association and as president of The Cluster Headache Support Group. You can read more of Tammy’s work on her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.