Do you long for the carefree days before Migraine? Maybe you’ve had Migraine so long that you don’t remember life without it. When Migraine attacks pile up, robbing us of special occasions, we may feel sidelined and forgotten by our friends and loved ones. After all, we can only cancel plans so many times before we stop receiving invitations at all.
We are not meant to walk alone
We all have a biological need for social connections. We’re not meant to live in isolation. It is not good for our physical, emotional, or spiritual health. When Migraine threatens our social life, we need to take action. Sitting at home, lamenting our loneliness, and waiting for others to reach out to us will not solve our problem. We must find Migraine-friendly ways to reach out instead.
Been there, done that
Many years ago, I faced loneliness and isolation brought on by poorly-controlled Migraine. During a particularly bad pity party, I ran across this quote by A. A. Milne, “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
That was just the gentle wakeup call I needed. I couldn’t keep waiting for someone to reach out to me. Instead, I decided to put myself back out into the world, Migraine or not. I took small steps by making phone calls, trading text messages, and chatting with friends online. It wasn’t easy to get started, but it was worth the effort. Seven years later, I enjoy a rich social life and strong support network.
Maintaining social connections
Not all social activity needs to be face-to-face to maintain a sense of belonging. Leverage the power of technology to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. A phone call, text, or brief chat online may be all that’s required to keep a friendship going. Make a point to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. Even if you can’t attend that special occasion, you can take a few moments to send a note, make a call, or order a gift.
Making new connections
We may have few people in our social circle who understand Migraine. That’s an opportunity to expand our circle. Migraine friends are an important part of a good treatment plan.
Practical ideas for migraine-friendly social connections:
- Ask your own Migraine doctor if there are local Migraine support groups available or start one of your own. Local libraries usually offer meeting space to support groups at no charge.
- Move Against Migraine is a growing online community of patients. The group hosts Facebook LIVE events featuring leading Migraine doctors and patient advocates. For more information, see Move Against Migraine Campaign in Full Swing.
- Teri and I host a Facebook group for HealthCentral members interested in learning more about Migraine.
Nurturing a healthy social support system is an essential part of Migraine management. The benefits far outweigh the effort. Those benefits are best summed up by the famous Swedish proverb, “Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow.”
© Tammy Rome, 2017.
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Headache disorders advocate and patient expert, blogger, and mental health therapist, Tammy Rome maintains a private practice specializing in behavioral pain management, as well as writing for her own blog, Brain Storm. 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 blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.