How many times have you wished that your migraines would just go away or that we had a cure for migraine disease? Those are certainly wishes I’ve made many, many times.
Wishes can be good when they help us cling to hope, but there’s also a problem with wishes. American poet Carl Sandburg said something about wishes that has now become an American proverb. He said, “_Wishes won’t wash dishes _.”
This is where locus of control comes in. Locus of control is the extent to which we perceive that outcomes in our lives result from or own choices and behaviors (internal locus of control) or from outside forces (external locus of control). Patients with an external locus of control tend to go to their doctors expecting them to write a prescription for that “magic pill” and “fix” them and their migraines. Patients with an internal locus of control, on the other hand, go to their doctors looking not just to their doctors, but to themselves as well for solutions. Patients with an internal locus of control are prepared to work as treatment partners with their doctors. If they’re not already, they’re ready and willing to actively participate in their migraine management in many ways, including:
- Keeping an accurate and comprehensive migraine diary.
- Working to identify and manage their migraine triggers, including avoiding any food triggers and other avoidable triggers they may have.
- Learning all they can about their migraines and their treatments.
- Discussing treatment options and working with their doctors to make joint treatment decisions.
- Being compliant with their treatment plans, and calling their doctors if there are any issues with them.
None of this means we should just throw away our wishes for better migraine management and an eventual cure for migraine disease. For the best treatment outcomes, best migraine management, and the greatest improvement of our quality of life, we must combine those wishes with an internal locus of control.
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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+.