Me Or the Migraine?
Are migraines destroying my mood or am I just an awful person?
This is a question I’ve asked myself a lot since a pretty young age; am I just naturally irritable and sometimes downright bitchy, or is being in pain the majority of my waking hours putting me in a perma-bad mood?
For a long time I felt that being negative and brusk were just part of my personality and were major flaws that I knew I needed to work on (mainly because I was told I needed to by many people in my life). Like the rest of my migraine journey guilt was in heavy rotation. I felt guilty for not having patience, for not being as positive and friendly as the people around me, for not being a better person.
It took many years, countless doctors visits, and a lot of reading about migraine and mood disorders before I finally realized that my “bad moods” (i.e. depression) and my chronic pain were inextricably linked. The science backs this up, with studies showing that migraineurs are 3-times more likely to develop depression and vice versa.
I’ve since been lucky enough to find psychiatrists and neurologists who understand this connection and have helped me find the right medications to treat both my migraines as well as my depression and anxiety. However, it is still hard to not feel weak or lacking in some way when I am unable to “power through” and act upbeat when dealing with migraine pain or feeling down.
This is particularly difficult when faced with the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the lack of understanding of invisible illnesses like chronic migraine. Even more discouraging is the unfortunate prevalence of “pill-shaming”, the idea that taking medication (especially psychiatric or pain medication) is a personal failure and a sign that you just haven’t “tried hard enough” to address your issues “naturally”.
While I am a big believer in natural remedies and their effectiveness (this is why I’m starting Micrate!). I also believe that combining these holistic methods with more conventional medications and therapies can be crucial to one’s self-care. What matters most is finding what works best for you, and that is never something I, or anyone else should be ashamed of.