2021 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness month. I’ve been pretty quiet this year in regards to advocating and sharing my experience but I didn’t want the month to pass without me mentioning anything. You can read my story about my migraine and headache experience here for background.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had with having chronic migraine is suffering in silence. I look pretty normal from the outside so having an invisible illness is hard to explain and advocate for. It’s been even harder now that I’ve entered corporate America and I feel like it’s a major roadblock for my career. My team is super understanding but I hate talking about it and feel bad that I have different needs than the rest of the team.

I try to advocate and raise awareness for those suffering in silence or with invisible illnesses as often as possible but June is always a good reminder to say something. The migraine community is greater than I imagined it would be. I never knew that there were so many resources available and I was even able to find a new Neurologist because of these resources. If you are suffering in silence, please know that you are not alone and there may be resources available to help you too!

I’ve tried many different medications and treatments but over the past 15 months I’ve focused on my health and prioritized putting myself first. This was only possible because I was working from home. I never imagined that what would help me the most was simply being at home in a controlled environment.

I’ve learned a lot about migraine and headaches over the past few years and finally feel like I’m in a better place. With the U.S. opening back up after the pandemic I just hope that I’m able to stay in a good place. I don’t know how I’ll feel going back into the office but I hope it doesn’t ruin 15 months of actual progress.

Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash

National Migraine Awareness Month

June National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

I’m sure you have heard of other National “insert illness” Awareness Months before. June is the awareness month for migraines and headaches. The goal is to raise awareness and recognition for migraine treatment, patients, and more.

As a migraine sufferer I know how hard it is to have other people understand what it’s like to live day to day with the constant pain of a headache or migraine. I understand how debilitating and lonely it can be. What gives me hope is knowing that there are millions of other people who want to raise awareness too. People who want to share their stories and join the fight to find new research and treatment options.

My migraine story started when I was in high school and have continued throughout my twenties. I don’t know if I will ever not have a headache or migraine but the odds seemed to be stacked against me. However, three new treatments options were released in 2018 so I have hope that something will be created that will help me.

If you are struggling with migraines or headaches, just know that you aren’t alone. There are millions of other people in the world who are also suffering which is why it’s so important to raise awareness. If we all stand together we have the opportunity to have our stories make an impact and bring about real change.

Migraines are an invisible illness. When you call in sick from work with a “headache” most people think you are lying or should suck it up. But for some people, including me, living with the constant head pain is reality. We are told that we look healthy and not chronically ill.

Well, this is what chronic migraine looks like. I drag myself out of bed every morning, brush my hair, and throw on enough makeup to look somewhat decent. I don’t feel good, I want to go back to bed, but I go to work and continue living my life the best I can. If I really don’t feel good I work from home or take a sick day. I know I’m lucky to work for an amazing company but I’ve heard other people’s stories about being fired for not being able to come into work.

This pain could ruin my life if I let it. I could stay in bed all day and feel sorry for myself. But I won’t. I’m out living my life and talking about how I feel. I want spread awareness. I want people to know that headaches are a real problem. I want doctors to find new treatment options. I want to be taken seriously.

I won’t let migraines ruin my life. Some days are better than others. Some days feel like the worst days of my life. But I know that things could be worse. I’m still able to work, own a house, be a dog/cat mom, and travel. Migraines make all of these things so much harder but it’s rewarding to know that I am able to overcome the pain most days and accomplish big things.

June 21st is the Annual Shades for Migraine Awareness Day led by the Association of Migraine Disorders. If you see people on social media posting pictures of themselves wearing sunglasses with the hashtags #shadesformigraines and #MHAM this is why. These people are sharing their support for the millions of people worldwide with migraines.

I’ll be wearing my sunglasses on June 21st. Will you?

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Image via American Migraine Foundation