Nancy and I felt our hearts breaking this week when a new member to our site posted, “_Migraine kills. _” This new member is a mother whose son took his own life when he could no longer stand constant Migraine pain. He had told his doctors, “Please help me. I do not want to die.” His doctor had told him that he “needed to learn how to live in pain.” After three years of living in that pain, he couldn’t do it any longer.
This grieving mother isn’t asking why he wasn’t given more medications, why there was no cure for her son. She’s telling us that “death is almost certain unless the patient can be taught REAL coping skills to deal with the unbearable pain.”
You know what? She’s absolutely right! Three years after this young man said he didn’t want to die, nobody had addressed his coping skills. That should be a criminal offense. Some doctors do pay attention to their patient’s coping skills, but not all of them. This should be a part of Migraine treatment everywhere. Some of us have been rather startled when visiting a Migraine specialist or clinic to find that we need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist there, but coping skills are usually a primary reason for that. Take a look at our article _Migraine and Headache Treatment - How It Should Be _ for a bit more information on this.
So, I don’t care if this young man’s death certificate did list suicide as the cause of death, Migraine disease was actually the root cause. In her post, his mother said, “Migraine often is fatal.” This is hardly the first time we’ve know of and told you of Migraineurs who have taken their lives because of their Migraines. I only wish it could be the last.
Now, what can we do about this? I have some thoughts…
- First of all, we need to offer our support to this mother. If you can, please take a few minutes to post a comment to her post, “_Migraine kills _.”
- If you’re having trouble coping with your Migraines, talk with your doctor about it. If your doctor doesn’t have suggestions or isn’t helpful, find a new doctor. If you need help, finding a doctor, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.
- If you know other Migraineurs who need help with their coping skills, reach out to them and encourage them to talk with their doctors. Help them find a good Migraine specialist if necessary. Share our links with them. Bring them to us for information and support.
- Don’t hesitate to speak out. There is no shame in needing support. NONE.
Listen, if you’re still reading, you obviously care too. I can’t help it. Tears are running down my cheeks as I write this. Not sure if they’re sadness, anger, or both. Like it or not, we have a darned disease, and we’re at war with that disease. I refuse to let it win. I’m going to fight for myself, and I’m going to do what I can to fight for each of you too because we’re in this together. We didn’t ask for this, but we got it.
Let’s be brave enough to ask for help when we need it, never hesitate to offer help to others if it seems they may need it, and never, ever hesitate to speak out. OK?
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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+.