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Disability: When Migraines Stop You

In the Words of Migraineurs...

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Updated: December 6, 2003

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No disabling condition makes life easy. Nor are they easily understood. Migraine, however, is less understood than most. To others, Migraine is often viewed as "just a headache." Even the most caring of friends and families sometimes just "don't get it." Those who do understand, watch helplessly as their loved ones suffer tremendous pain.

         "I don't know if the head pain or the depression it spawns is more devastating. Both often team up to give me a one two punch. I can get so depressed that just getting up the motivation to go out to the mail box to collect mail often seems like an impossible task. Forget about running errands or keeping doctors appointments. More times than not I have to force myself to get certain things done because not doing them holds worse consequences.
         Oh and the toll it takes on your friends and family can be tremendous. Suffice it to say I now know who really stands behind me and who just gives lip service. The strain my family has to go through every time I get a moderate to severe head banger is bad. Most times I won't even mention it unless I can't just take my meds and hide it. 
         I'm at my wits end with the capriciousness of Migraines and chronic daily headaches. Not knowing from one day to the next if I'll be hit out of the blue is demoralizing to say the least. 
         The past few months have been a roller coaster ride of pain and emotion. Today is the best day I've had in months. Literally. If your posting has come just a day or two earlier, I would have read it and then deleted it. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, let alone the day after that. Such is life."   (Raymond Dziezynski*, Migraineur)

You can help your friends and family by obtaining and sharing with them educational materials about Migraine. . 

In the workplace, people view co-workers who wear sun glasses, visit the rest room often, slur their speech, take medications often, miss work frequently, or exhibit other such behaviors as possible drug or alcohol abusers or possible slackers. Even in the best of work conditions, the pain and emotional effects of Migraine can cause a level of disability that make it impossible for a person to continue their employment.

         "After a year of intractable Migraine, my neurologist determined that I was disabled and could no longer work. I was missing at least 3 days a week due to the Migraines and the days I was able to go to work, I was barely able to function. 
         The Migraines have improved only slightly, but I would still be unable to hold down a job as I could not be depended on to be there on any given day. 
         This was a hard decision. I do have other health issues as well, so the combination was a factor, but the Migraines alone were what made work impossible. 
         The Migraines still affect all other aspects of my life, but the stress of having to work with a severe Migraine is gone. Of course this also limits my interactions with other people and that is not good. I feel isolated and alone with the pain. 
         There are no easy answers. But Migraines can be disabling and that must be recognized within the medical field. Also as it pertains to employment issues."  (Jo*, Migraineur)

* Raymond Dziezynski, Jo, and Jane Henderson have very generously shared their experiences with us for this look at the disabling effects of Migraine. Thank you.

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  6. Disability: When Migraines Stop You, Info on Disability Benefits. About Headaches and Migraine

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