Learning not to let migraines run your life
Cliff walk

Migraines do not have to run your life. If they do, I encourage you to take every step possible (as gradually as needed) to reverse that. They can be managed. I am proof of that.

Migraines did not trickle down my family tree. I seem to be an anomaly amongst relatives. It has been a learning experience for me and my family. I hope none of my family members ever have to deal with migraines. 

Every migraine sufferer I have spoken with has different experiences, symptoms, and solutions. Different things work for different people. That’s why I’d like everyone to share what has worked for them. It might help someone else!

Cliff walk

I have found that regular exercise is paramount to me staying well. Exercise can take many forms. I enjoy pilates, yoga, stationary bicycle, and gym workouts. One of the most peaceful forms of exercise I have experienced is in nature. And I don’t mean long, strenuous hikes. I mean walking in parks with lots of trees and taking breaks relaxing in the shade. Some parks near me offer the beauty of watching ducks waddle into a pond; others talk about finding serenity walking around bird habitats. The key here is just getting some fresh air and Vitamin D. This can be valuable in its simplicity.

I admit that some days it’s easier to get moving than others – it’s harder when you have a migraine or have just come out of one (hangover day). I’m here to support you in your journey to manage your migraines. I embrace this opportunity to connect with you, offer positivity, and share my ongoing journey.

Think positive

It is important to stay committed to your health. Take a microscope to your daily life. Identify and implement changes.  Work with a health care professional that you like and find encouraging. Seek out the right professional. Find treatment that works best for you. Don’t give up.

Having a positive support system enriches you. I am so grateful for the support system that has been there for me. I want to “pay it forward” by being there for you and being part of your support system. My support system was established just a handful of years ago and it has evolved, been understanding, graceful, and present. It’s hard to trek through murky water alone.

Journaling is good. I strongly recommend that you write your thoughts down in a journal. This is important for many reasons. I began journaling when I started getting migraines.  One reason was to track my progress and my struggles. It helped relay things efficiently to my neurologist. It was also a way to keep track of what I was doing and eating so I could identify any triggers, but most importantly to be able to explain exactly how I felt before, during, and after a migraine.

I soon began branching out in my journal, and similar to my childhood days, started journaling about my day, how I felt internally, my goals, visions, and positive affirmations. I still take time to journal at least once a week. I really enjoy looking back – whether it’s a few months or years to see how far I’ve come medically, emotionally, and personally. It’s easy to forget the small moments that bring sunshine to your life when you’re trying to get through a migraine.

Being as transparent as possible is also recommended.  However, I agree that it can be a double-edged sword. Being clear and communicative about your migraines with family, friends, and co-workers can be very helpful. It can allow for a greater understanding of the neurological disorder and for them to become aware of why you do the things you do. It also provides an opportunity for them to help you through your journey.

Probably one of the most frustrating things for migraine sufferers is people often compare it to a general headache, which you know it is absolutely not. I’d say from experience that is the most common misconception. Not all symptoms are noticeable to others. If we don’t share what’s going on, it can be isolating and our actions can be easily misunderstood.

We have to gauge each situation and decide how much to share with others about our migraines. It can be immensely helpful but it’s sad to say that in certain situations it can also work against you. I have found it to be more helpful than harmful.

Coming next: Do you love wine? Does it love you?