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Migraine Savvy Monthly Newsletter Issue 7 Sept 30th 2011 When Pain is a Problem in Friendships
September 30, 2011

Migraine – When Pain is a Problem in Friendships

September 30th, 2011 – Issue #007 – Social - Friendships

Welcome to Part 4a of my 6 Part series of aspects to cover for Migraine health and well being.

Physical – Emotional – Intellectual – Social – Spiritual – Financial

Editors Note: I don’t know how your migraines affect your close friendships but I have come to realize that my approach to dealing with my pain has a ripple effect in my close relationships. Here are some helpful tips to help maintain and nurture your close friendships by changing how you treat them.

Part 4a – Migraine – A Strain on Friendships

When your pain is irritating you and making you angry sometimes you can take it out on those closest to you. According to the book Manage Your Pain by Doctors Nicholas, Malloy, Tonkin and Beeston, there is a list of behaviors that people engage in when they are in pain:

Withdrawing verbally – not talking, ignoring others, not communicating at all or letting others know what they can do to help you.

Withdrawing physically without explanation – so just going to the bedroom with no explanation.

Complaining and groaning about your pain and talking about how terrible it is.

Loss of interest in others - not responding to others, lack of awareness around others concerns.

Provocative statements - I know this one well – “You don’t know what this is like!!! If you had pain like this you would ...”

So over time, those close to you may start to withdraw from you and start avoiding you.

They suggest forming new ways of communicating with others – which might be impossible when you get an episode that comes on really quickly. But here is what I found useful:

1. Instead of saying something mean or provocative – or talking too much about the pain – plan out ahead of time what you want to say. That’s right plan ahead! “I’m going to take my abortive as I have a migraine coming on, can you go pick up the kids at 3pm today?” Get your message across about what you need now clearly and simply.

2. Try to stay calm. Take a deep breath. Count to 4 on the in breath and 8 on the exhale if that’s comfortable. Try to relax and identify if you are having a migraine early warning symptom. Breathe at least 3 times deeply. Give yourself some space.

3. Repeat your calming mantra to yourself – before you say much! “I have planned for this migraine, I know what to do. I am a responsible person. I will get my list of what to do and who to call - I am prepared for this time out and priority now is to recover from this migraine”. Remember to breathe.

4. And if it’s over someone else who gets upset with you or just does not understand the pain involved perhaps try asking them “When I say my migraine is coming, I feel like you withdraw from me? Is that how you see it?” or “I can imagine you might feel let down by me, is that how you feel?” Ask them (if possible around migraine time) it shows you care.

5. Respect them - give them some eye contact if you can, before the pain sets in, and know they would like to help you somehow.

6. Take the next action you need to take care of yourself (and your responsibilities like your kids obviously). Make the call, send the text, take your medications, get home to bed, etc. Take care how you phrase your strong feelings that might be coming up if a migraine is on its way.

The truth is that many of us feel angry and irritated when we are in pain and others say things we don’t agree with or do things that make us think our pain is only imaginary. It can be frustrating this migraine condition. Be gentle with yourself. Practice using kind words with yourself and with others. It’s a great challenge when your head is exploding – I know – but all we can do whilst in migraine is all we can do.

Ask the Editor

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the editor on this topic? If so please click here to Contact Me. I will respond as soon as possible.

Your Input – Give YOUR Migraine A Voice

This is a safe forum to express your troubles – tell your story – show your art - find solutions with new ideas - and get professional health advice . Just click on the links underlined above if you would like to contribute.

Remember that your contribution will help others too! We are not in this alone, even though it feels like it most of the time. Our stories and input can help each other.

My Question to You

What has been the impact of migraine headaches on your friendships? And have you found a compassionate nurturing way to deal with maintaining them long term? We’d love to hear from you. Click here to tell us.

Other Migraine Aids

Please click here if you’d like to see any of the books I’ve referred to or used throughout the website. Or visit my Pain Relief Store for all the products I find useful.

The next issue is: Issue 8 - Part 4b – Intimate Relationships

Migraine – When Pain is a Strain on Your Relationship

The best way I know to maintain intimate relationships that have been changed by the presence of chronic pain in a relationship is ...

I hope you ENJOYED this issue of The Pain Chronicles!

If you’ve missed an issue click here to read the back issues.

And before I forget!

Please send this to your friends and family. It’s time to spread the word about Migraines and educate our loved ones! They can click on this link to subscribe as well.

Talk to you next month, until then, I wish you many Migraine FREE days.

From Holly at

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