Worst Things To Say To A Migrainiac… EVER.

Woman and Woman Speech Bubbles

10. Did you take your meds?

Whenever I tell someone that I have a migraine 9 times out of 10 their first reaction is to ask if I took anything. To be honest, I have even caught myself asking someone the same thing when they told me they have a headache. The problem, though, is that headaches and migraines are different. Maybe its just an automatic reaction and people don’t know what else to say or how to respond. But as someone who suffers from chronic migraines I can attest that the second I feel a migraine coming on the first thing I do is reach for the drugs. So asking me if I took my meds is kind of like asking if the sky is blue. It’s insulting and annoying AF.

9. Drink Water. You’re Just Dehydrated.

I admit that water does have great health benefits and I’m a believer that its always important to stay hydrated whether you are a migraineur or not. Dehydration is definitely a trigger for some people, but once a migraine strikes chugging massive amounts of water isn’t going to make it magically disappear.  Trust me, if it could I’d most definitely be using that method instead of pumping my body with medication. If water could cure migraines I️ think doctors would have stopped searching for a cure decades ago.

8. You Need To Exercise More.

   All migraineurs are not created equally. Everyone has different triggers and symptoms, however, there are definitely things most migraine sufferers can agree on. For me, if exercise had a Facebook account our relationship would be listed as ‘Complicated’. I love to stay active for not only my body but for my mental health and I truly believe that when I am consistently working I feel better overall. However, my workouts are severely limited because anything that remotely resembles high-intensity tends to trigger a nuclear war in my head and sends me into a days-long head-pounding bender. I mainly stick to workouts like pilates, yoga, barre classes and long walks in the park but some days even that is too much for me. When I am going through a tough period, most days I’m happy to get out of bed let alone keep up my low-intensity workout schedule. Once I get thrown off my routine, it can take me weeks or even months for me to get back into it. It’s a complete catch-22 that I am constantly trying to balance. So next time you think exercise and meditation can fix any situation, think twice before you nama-say the wrong thing. 

7. Don’t stress over it. You’re just making it worse.

Of course stress is a good breeding ground for migraines but telling me not to stress over something just makes me more stressed out and angry and therefore negates the whole purpose of your sentiment. It’s like when you tell someone to calm down. It just gets them more angry. So don’t do it. Because now you’re the one making it worse.

6. C’mon. You can push through it.

Most migraineurs end up learning how to push through their pain and sugarcoat their chronic struggles to make others more comfortable. They learn to live with pain everyday because they have no other choice. They are forced to deal with discomfort on a scale that no one should have to learn how to function with. So when a migraineur gets to the point where they speak up and can’t take it anymore, what they need is someone to be understanding and to tell them it’s okay.

5. Have you tried this…?

The answer is probably always most definitely yes. As someone who has been suffering from this disease for over 16 years now, I can confidently say I have tried almost everything out there or looked into every option and if there is some new treatment or medication waiting on FDA approval I probably know about it and am waiting with baited breath for it to get approved so that I can try it.

4. It’s just a headache. It can’t hurt that bad.

No actually. It’s not just a headache. And it’s thinking like this that gives people like me a reason to not want to talk to anyone about my condition. This is why I think it’s not worth explaining to people what I deal with, because of the stigma that comes with the word migraine.

3. Are you feeling better yet?

A migraine can last anywhere from 3 hours up to 4 days or even longer. I want to be able to attend plans with my friends and spend time with my family as much as they want me there but the added pressure to feel better makes me feel worse than I already do that I am missing out.

2. You don’t look sick.

Migraine is an invisible disease. It’s one of the reasons it has such a bad stigma associated with it. So while I do enjoy a good compliment every now and then, just because I may look well on the outside doesn’t mean that I don’t feel like a team of masons are laying bricks on top of my head one by one until my eyes will inevitably pop out of their sockets.

1. It’s all in your head.

I really, really wish this were true. Unlike those who use “I have a migraine” as just an excuse when they call out sick from work, keeping the stigma alive, when I do it its the real deal. I’m not playing hooky. I’d actually rather be at work. Instead I’m laying in my bed in silence… with the blinds drawn, lights out, cold compress on my head, hoping for a miracle and wishing it really was all in my head.

 

Live Like an Israeli

I think we can all learn a thing or three from the Israeli’s way of life. I recently took a 10-day organized trip all around Israel and became immersed in Israeli culture. I was completely disconnected from electronic devices, from work, and from the everyday stresses that life may bring.

You may be thinking, “Why Israel?” With so much going on in the world right now it’s not the most obvious choice for a vacation spot. Most people would have opted for the safer and traditional vacation i.e. Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Aruba, St. Thomas, etc.

Before I left, I told my manicurist I was going to Israel and she looked at me like I had 10 heads. She asked me why the hell I was going to Israel of all places and repeatedly told me to be safe and to take care of myself. After she was done she gave me a huge hug and acted as if it was the last time she would ever paint my nails. Dramatic much? Maybe not.

Israel is often the center of controversy. Ever since gaining its independence Israel has been fighting to keep it. Over 80% of the population in Israel is Jewish.  As a country that was built and is run based on religion, Israel is constantly fighting to defend itself.

During my 10 day trip, I spent time with 7 Israelis: 5 soldiers, one tour guide and one medic. I met Americans who had made the Aaliyah and moved to Israel to either join the Army or just to live, I met Bedouins, and I met Israeli Arabs. I didn’t know what to expect before arriving in Israel. I just pictured lots and lots of sand — literally just sand everywhere. And yes, there was some sand. But there was also so much more than that. I came back with an entirely different perspective and a newfound respect for the people of Israel that I never expected to find.

I faced one of the scariest moments of my life when the group I was with was staying on a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, just 10 miles away from where missiles were being fired. We had to spend most of the night in a bomb shelter and we could hear the missiles being launched.  Some people even saw them flying overhead. What kept us calm was the way the Israelis handled themselves. Throughout the entire experience they were extremely calm and used humor, the universal language, to lighten the mood. They entertained us in the shelter with card games, jokes, and for those who needed it — there was wine.

For the Israelis, occurrences like those aren’t uncommon. It is unfortunate but a fact of reality. The only way to get through is with some humor, good company, and I guess the wine doesn’t hurt either.

I think we can all find some inspiration from the philosophy in which Israelis live their lives no matter what your religious beliefs. As a migraineur, I admired their easy-going mentality and free spirit. I hope that I am able to take some of what I learned from them back with me and incorporate it into my daily routine.

There is currently a petition and a group on Facebook to have the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, delay the war with Iran until after the Madonna concert. So you see, they’re not a war-driven, violent people. They are a fun-loving people who are faced with adversity and at the end of the day they are just like us—they want to live their lives and see Madonna in concert. And really, who doesn’t?