Living with chronic migraine (CM), it’s easy to feel like a burden on the people around you. CM can ruthlessly limit your ability to “show up” as you’d like to and can strain your relationship with yourself and others. The challenges of CM become even more difficult if you don’t know how to ask for help from those closest to you. Friends and family may say, “How can I help? or “Let me know if there is anything you need!” This can be difficult to respond to when you aren’t even sure what your needs are.
During my five years living with chronic migraine, I’ve spent countless hours reading, listening to podcasts, and working with a wide variety of therapists and health coaches to develop tools, skills, and strategies to better advocate for myself. Learning how to ask loved ones for support in a constructive way (and without guilt) has been arduous. But the effort is worthwhile, and I’ve found my improved ability to communicate has actually strengthened many relationships.
Develop a pain vocabulary.
CM impacts most of my days, so having language that allows me to easily and clearly share what I’m experiencing is essential. My loved ones and I have developed a 0 to 4 pain scale (0=no pain, 4= debilitating pain). Having a common understanding of what each number means makes it easier to convey information to them…