Migraine  –  No, it is not a simple headache! Raising Awareness

This invisible pain, which for some is a chronic one, really affects your everyday life, prevents you from enjoying great moments with family and friends at times or simply be effective at work when it occurs. And no, it is not all in your head, or actually it is but this is clearly not a fantasy of yours.


There is indeed a stigma, a huge misunderstanding, surrounding this illness. People, who are lucky enough not to suffer from this condition, usually compare it to a simple headache and think you are overeacting due to stress. They truly want to understand you but I must admit this is hard when you haven’t experienced it yourself. You look healthy on the outside, you may even be in a good mood, but the suffering is excruciating inside… an invisible pain. And you feel quite invisible up to the point you actually need to be invisible.

All of a sudden, you feel like a pounding, pulsating pain on one side of the head. Part of your face feels like paralyzed, you would rather snatch part of your head out of your neck than survive a few more hours in this condition. Gradually, you isolate yourself since the increased sensitivity you feel to light and noise becomes nearly unbearable. Dizziness and nausea are quite common symptoms too. Of course, your mood is not as good as people expect you to be in since the pain really gets on your nerves and on top of that, you hate yourself for falling into the claws of this concealed and vicious vampire once again.

The invisible pain

As if that was surely not enough, colleagues, friends, husband or wife, keep giving you the best pieces of advice ever, such as — ‘drink lots of water’, ‘the painkillers you have been swallowing all day do not work, do they?’, ‘you’ve been through a lot lately’, ‘this must be a sinus infection!’, ‘how lucky you are to lie in bed all day long’, etc. Well, shall I say that those lovely and thoughtful supportive words are definitely not helpful at all… At best, the sound you utter has barely been audible. At worst, you are lucky you haven’t been smothered by now!

However, despite the intense pain and the strong irritability migraines generate, people suffering from this illness tend to be quite gentle towards others’ complete disbelief. They usually have enough on their plate not to be offended by reactions that would otherwise require heavy explanations in order to be nipped in the bud. They suffer in silence which may make the understanding of this condition even harder to others. What could be done?

1. Educating others could be quite relieving instead

Living with migraine is truly challenging and your relatives and closed ones may need to get a better understanding of your suffering and the illness itself to offer you a proper support. It is not entirely their fault, you should speak up and spread awareness as well.

2. Please do not blame yourself either!

You haven’t asked for it and you do not have any other choice but to face it. Therefore, just go through it and if you have to skip nights out and ‘should-have-been’ great events, just do so, your health and well-being come first.

3. Migraines are now recognized

Migraines have been underestimated and unrecognized throughout the world but the World Health Organization has classified them as a disability which damages the quality of life and is associated with “personal and societal burdens of pain”.

It is estimated that half of people with ‘headache disorders’ use self-medication. This must change… We must raise awareness and spread the word! You will thus help crush the stigma surrounding migraines.

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