Past research has shown that rates of depression and anxiety more than double among people who suffer chronic migraines. Even more striking are the suicide rates: almost one in four women and one in seven men who experience migraine with aura, a visual or neurological disturbance which precedes headaches in 15 percent of sufferers, attempt to take their own lives. findcounseling.com
1 in 4 women with migraine with aura? Well, now those are not good odds are they? So much for that concern over stroke risk… we should be more concerned about that fact we are killing ourselves off. So what does this tell us about chronic migraines? That they suck? For sure. That we are still suffering? Yeppers.
What is it we do when we cope? What is the inevitable process involved with handling chronic pain? Well, we adapt to survive. The function of pain is to alert us to a problem so we can fix it, since with chronic pain we cannot fix it, we try to limit it.
1) Shrinking: The first thing to go, is our leisure activities because they are not necessary and are not fun when you are in pain anyway. Consequences can be that this will make us feel more isolated and alone.
2) Sacrifice: This can come in many forms but what it comes down to is giving up something you wanted to do or accomplish because it can’t be anymore. In my case, the desired career. While this is all necessary it can be a blow to our self-worth.
3) Compromise: We find many, many ways to work around the pain. Finding a job we can do, instead of the one we want. Forgoing our ambitions because less stress is better. Everything is structured around the pain.
4) The Facade: Now the facade is necessary if you work with chronic pain, but also helps with family. You see thinking about and dwelling on your pain makes it damn hard to get anything done and you feel miserable the whole time. Like if you wake up with a nasty cold and think this work day is going to be hell, but if you go and get into the day you begin to feel better. You are literally distracting yourself from your pain and masking it from others. It is absolutely vital to do so but has its consequences. People may not understand you are in pain all the time, rather than just occasionally, which makes you feel like people do not understand. It may increase the feeling of isolation.
All right we do all these things and we go through, denial, frustration, depression, compromise, and acceptance. We find that balance but the life we had is no more, it is a very small life we have now and it is centered around pain. Good pain days. Bad pain days. It takes so very little to tip that balance. One extreme stressor of any sort and we may feel overwhelmed by the pain and our inability to see an end to it. Many of us on a very bad day may have suicidal or self-destructive thoughts, that we may not act on, but are there nonetheless… you add in a stressor and that can easily lead to suicide. 1 in 4 women with aura with migraine. This is huge. This is rarely talked about. This is why people need to know the price of chronic pain.