I'm so honored you're here. My name is Holly Hazen, aka The Migraine Coach. I was a chronic migraine sufferer for 26 years and now I've been episodic for the past 6+ years. And I am the sole author and webmaster of MigraineSavvy.com.
Just so you know, right upfront, I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Applied Psychotherapy (MCAP) making me a university qualified counselor and psychotherapist. I've been counselling people for over 23 years.
All the other things I've studied are now resources you will find sprinkled throughout my writing and helpful tips. Click here for my full list of credentials.
My latest resources are my new bookstore (9 books) and these 3 courses:
And just to add more fun and laughter to life, here's the link to my other website - GrannyMaze.com - Printable Games for Seniors. There is some new evidence surfacing that regular sustained laughter can reduce migraine attacks. It's not solid yet, but sure worth experimenting with.
It can be pretty hard to get more laughter and fun in life with chronic migraine... but I highly recommend giving it a try.
Here’s an old clip of my 15 seconds of fame on the Channel 9 news:
I was interviewed back in September 2010 about the newly discovered migraine TRESK gene. Ironically enough, those huge, super-bright TV lights started to trigger a migraine for me. I had to take my medications - Naramig (triptan) and Brufen (Ibuprofen) - right there and then.
What you don’t hear me say in the video is:
"I have migraines 20 days each month and have done so for over 20 years. They render me completely disabled, depressed and - after ten days in bed - behind. I never catch up."
"Part-time life, part-time hell."
I wonder why they cut that bit?
The suffering that comes with migraines has taught me many things over the years. Migraines definitely forced me to take a path I may not otherwise have chosen. But you know what? It turns out, that path isn’t so bad after all. In fact, I’m happier, healthier and more at peace now than I may have been if migraines hadn’t sabotaged my life.
How’s that possible?
Well, I learned how to persevere. I learned how to be patient. And I invested in learning new coping skills. This all added up to becoming more resilient. And I want to share all of those skills with you, so you can be happy, healthy and at peace too.
As a migraineur, pain can often totally overshadow any pleasures in life.
I know you know what I mean.
There’s a certain understanding I can feel now in others who also suffer from migraine. It’s that special look in their eye… that knowing look that understands the pain. And a look of genuine compassion.
You probably know only too well yourself that someone who’s never had a migraine just can’t get what it means for us. Most of the time, you’re met with a blank stare.
But try not to take that personally. (It took me a long time to get that!).
Even some of my loved ones who’ve seen me suffering over the years still don’t understand how intensely debilitating the pain is. And they were with me during the 14 years I spent without any effective pain medication, and they watched my journey through the depths of depression and despair.
"People who don't get migraines, don't get migraines" ~ Paula Dumas.
But if you’re plagued by relentless attacks, know that I understand so completely everything that you’re going through. I know how migraines devastate a life. But I’ve also learned how to overcome that devastation, and build something new.
And you can build something new too.
And then, BAM! Chronic migraine attacks wrecked it all.
I was forced to give up my job. But, despite the unending, disabling pain, I knew I had to do something.
It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually I changed the direction of my life. Ultimately, this led to me successfully completing a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychotherapy (MCAP).
That means professional chronic pain counseling.
Over the years, in my pursuit of finding a cure for my migraine attacks (no-one ever told me there was no cure!) I’ve studied:
Holistic Counseling, Energetic Healing (Adv. Dipl), Self hypnosis, and numerous relaxation techniques including meditation.
Nutrition, corrective Yoga, Feldenkrais, Qigong and Tai Chi.
Shiatsu massage and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Dipl).
You can click here for a very detailed list of my professional qualifications.
Had I remained an accountant, I would never have explored so many of these fascinating subjects which ultimately have enriched my life in more ways than I’d ever have imagined possible.
Plus they’ve taught me how to manage my migraine attacks better, and to be able to live my life my way again.
(As you can see, being proactive is super important to me!)
I wish I could give you a straightforward, simple and definitive ‘cure’ for your migraines (and for mine!). Sadly, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to migraine treatments. Triggers vary from person to person too, as do the frequency and severity of attacks.
But, I can say for sure that the thing that helped - and will always help - me the most is a solid, effective pain management strategy. And that’s the place I recommend anyone living with migraine starts their journey.
When I finally got my watertight plan in place, I got more of the control back I’d previously watched slipping away from me. And when you feel more in control, you feel much more able to cope with - and overcome - whatever your migraine attacks try to throw at you.
Here on my site, I’ve shared plenty of my own personal experiences... but more importantly, the most current evidence based research from the experts showing the proven strategies and most effective treatment prevention to help you reduce your attacks.
Better coping skills, better migraine management, better emotional stability... I want you to thrive instead of just survive. Or at least feel like you are walking towards your dreams no matter what. Here are a few ways I can help right now:
Is it really possible to live a fulfilling life when every day is shrouded in the pain of a migraine attack, or tainted by anxiety about when the next attack might hit?
Yes, it really is!
And how? Well…
Balance, variety and fun!
And learning to become resilient.
I’ve lost count of the medications I tried that didn’t work, and the alternative therapies I tried that didn’t work, and the days I lost in the black hole of each aggressive migraine attack.
But slowly, the pieces began to fall into place. I found medications that work for me. I learned when to take action to give myself the best possible chance of aborting an attack. And I discovered a gentle form of focusing therapy which allows me to talk to my body - and even the migraines - in a loving and compassionate way.
I know, I know - you’re thinking, “you can feel compassion towards a migraine?!” But one of the best life skills my migraines have taught me is that self-compassion is SO important when you’re living with a chronic condition like this.
I too have found it super hard to stay positive when I’m once again confronted with one of the many overwhelming challenges that migraines present.
But one of the best cures I’ve discovered for this is to find at least ten things that make me happy, or laugh, or feel fulfilled, and do them...
E V E R Y D A Y !
Ideally for an hour a day - but even just five minutes three times a day would be a good start! Whether it’s listening to your favorite song or popping outside to sit in the sunshine (or the rain!), or watching a movie that makes you laugh… just find the little things that make you smile.
And include them in your day, every single day.
By making the time to do things you find uplifting or rewarding, you’ll be breaking the cycle of anxiety, depression and pain.
I hope you’ll find the information and resources on my site useful, and I’m sending tons of positive vibes your way. Don’t let your migraines ruin your life. NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE IN!
So remember these top 2 things:
Your fellow migraineur, in joy and sorrow,
Photo credits: Catherine Adamson