It is migraine awareness week 2021, and raising awareness for this is so important to me because they were the first sign to me that I had a chronic illness. Far too often though, people suffer with migraines feel alone and lost as to where to get help and understanding.
When I was in university I started to have migraines a couple of times a week, I was training to be a nurse and I thought I would have a lot of sympathy. Instead, I was made to feel as if I were asking for time off because I had been out drinking, or was faking for sympathy. My chronic illness journey has been similar ever since, with people never believing me or assuming I was just pretending to feel ill every day.
I have had a long journey with migraines, but after having them for so long I have found my own triggers and ways to reduce my attacks. This is why I think it is so important to use this week, which is organised by the Migraine Trust, to help try to change the system that leaves us alone to live with them.
Personally, I only saw one specialist in migraine and that was just a few years ago, before that I was only offered medications to take on onset of a migraine. The specialist gave me botox into my scalp which did ease the attacks, but it also made me pass out so they decided not to try it again!
But after speaking to my dentist, he felt that my migraines could be made worse because I gind my teeth very badly in my sleep. Research that I have done showed red wine to be a trigger, even the smell, as well as too much cheese and chocolate. However, I discovered that by myself, I was never offered any kind of allergy testing or referral to a dietician.
I think this is where the problem stems from, our healthcare system does not look at us as a whole, all the different departments work seperately from one another. But as I discovered when I starting having to live with migraines, there is more than one thing that causes them and yet even a migraine specialist, did not ask me about my diet or triggers I had.
Throwing tablets at us has become the NHS go to, with departments rarely working together, and people not seen holistically. It is time modern healthcare started to realise that diet, exercise, mental health issues, hobbies everything needs to be looked at when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of any illness.
Migraine has been the illness that has really highlighted this for me and I think so many sufferers would agree, it isn’t something you can stop by coming at it from just one direction. So if you have chronic migraines, start to think about what you eat and drink, if you grind your teeth, if your jaw is in place and keep a diary so you can show your doctors.
I really hope this migraine awareness week 2021 will help you to feel less alone, so many of us are disbelieved, or struggle in silence. It is time we stood up and demanded better care nobody deserves to suffer or be told it is just a headache.
Thank you xx