Positive Ways Migraine Impacts Your Life

by Jaime Sanders Patient Advocate

Living with migraine certainly has its pits and downfalls. Debilitating pain and symptoms can take you out of the game for days, weeks, months, and even years. But there is something to be said about people who have migraine. They exhibit particular qualities that make them quite unique and special individuals. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of living with migraine, I would like to concentrate on the positive way migraine impacts our lives.

1. Resilience

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou

People living with migraine are extremely resilient. Migraine is challenging and complex, throwing us curve balls constantly. We have it had to learn how to bounce back quickly. Finding ways to dodge triggers and attacks or recover from them is part of coping with migraine. It’s a skill a lot of us have mastered.

2. Strength

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” – Eleanor Roosevelt

You become inherently strong living with migraine. You tough out the nausea, vomiting, and other debilitating symptoms and get back to life as soon as you’re able to. Migraine attacks are like battles. We fight through them to get to the other side as best we can so that we can get back to living our lives. That takes strength.

3. Empathy

“Disability is articulated as a struggle, an unnecessary burden that one must overcome to the soundtrack of a string crescendo. But disabled lives are multifaceted – brimming with personality, pride, ambition, love, empathy, and wit.” – Sinead Burke

Experiencing pain and disability creates empathy toward others. We understand how difficult it is to have a chronic illness that inhibits how much we can participate in life. Seeing and understanding others pain, struggle and difficulties are innate abilities we pick up along the way. For those of us who are raising children, they often grow up to be adults with a great sense of empathy. A pretty nice side effect of living with migraine if you ask me.

Bonus: “You don’t teach morals and ethics and empathy and kindness in the schools. You teach that at home, and children learn by example.” – Judy Sheindlin

4. Appreciation

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston

Appreciate the small things… That’s what we often hear. It wasn’t until I became chronic that I truly learned what that meant. Migraine steals so much from us – time, hopes, dreams, relationships, careers. With so much being taken away, small things like a hot cup of coffee or a walk down the street mean so much more. Time spent with a friend or family become more special because we don’t get that very often. We truly do appreciate those around us and that’s a special gift migraine has given us.

5. Compassion

“Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

You learn to be very compassionate of others when you have migraine. It’s easier to show compassion for anyone who is going through a difficult time because you experience it so regularly. Through your compassion you teach your children, friends and family how to be compassionate human beings.

6. Courage

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Migraine knocks us down more often than we’d like. Yet, we continue to have the courage to get back up and keep trying. Whether it’s a failed treatment or an intractable migraine, we keep on striving for something better. We face adversity regularly and we choose every day to beat it. Some days we lose, but we pick ourselves up and try again the next day. That takes strength and courage and you happen to have both.

Jaime Sanders
Meet Our Writer
Jaime Sanders

Jaime Sanders is a patient advocate who has lived with migraine her entire life. She writes the popular blog The Migraine Diva and is a Migraine Patient Advocacy Coordinator with the Global Healthy Living Foundation. She also partners with the American Migraine Foundation and Shades for Migraine, and is a stakeholder with the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients and the Headache and Migraine Policy Forum. Through her advocacy work and blog, Jaime’s mission is to make a very invisible disease visible to the rest of the world and validate the real pain of millions. You may reach her on @themigrainediva on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.