Please discuss how you handle well-meaning advice that isn’t applicable or helpful to you.
I actually handle well-meaning advice pretty good. I get that people:
a) Don’t know what to say- So they just say something they heard somewhere, even if it is some strange thing of Facebook.
b) Have good intentions and what to say something helpful- They feel bad about your pain, sympathize with it and recommend something they heard. So maybe that hydration is bad for migraines. Or that exercise is good. Something like that, that I am already aware of, or have heard 800 times before, but it is the thought that counts.
c) Hear about something and are thinking about me, remember it, and tell me and that is something special- It means someone came across an article on the internet or in the paper or on the news that pertained to migraines, thought of me specifically and sent that info to me or remembered to tell me later because they cared enough about my wellbeing to do so. But because I am so in-tune with research and migraine news, I am already well aware of it. Or it isn’t new, certainly not to me.
All of these are cases where the person has good intentions. And I certainly may joke around about people saying things all the time but I would never, ever be impolite to someone who brings up something with me. I generally will be straight forward. I will say, ‘Yes, dehydration is a migraine trigger and I do need to be hydrated but it is one of many triggers.’ Or ‘No, cutting my hair will not in fact help with migraines, because it isn’t a tension headache, if that would help with that? but a neurological disease.’ Or ‘Thank you for pointing out that article, I had seen it and it was fascinating.’
But when it is out of kindness? There is nothing wrong with that at all. If I were them, I’d do the exact same thing. I am tempted to do the same for a friend that was recently diagnosed with a disease, but I do not want to bombard him with new information when he is coming to terms with his chronic illness. And I don’t want to assume what he does and doesn’t know. Or that he wants or needs to know the amount of information I do. Because in the beginning you often do not, but later you learn you need to know more. So I clearly would be that person who is offering information and trying to be helpful, but in my case the information comes in the form of research papers because that is how I roll.
In the end, we know a great deal about our illness. In the end, we have tried so many things. But the average person doesn’t know that much and cannot know that much. Nor do they even know all the things you tried or do every day for your migraines. So if they give you advice you have heard a thousand times… is it any surprise? If it isn’t applicable to you… not a shocker is it?
You will encounter 4 types really and only one of them is to be avoided.
- Loved ones: Friends and family who give you advice because they genuinely care for your wellbeing.
- Sympathizers- People who are acquaintances or co-workers who sympathize with your plight, maybe do not comprehend it much, but want to offer something they heard to be nice.
- Randoms- These are virtual strangers, who have no idea what your history is. For all they know you could have one migraine a year and their suggestion of Butterbur is mind-blowing. Because it could be if you just started getting migraines and were say once a month. So they offer a help-full tip, to be nice, because health information is a random topic of conversation. Oh, you get migraines? My grandmother does and she uses…
- Blamers- You know the ones. They blame you for not curing yourself. Blame you for being sick. It is often: If you did this your migraines wouldn’t be a problem. If you were not so ____ maybe your migraines wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe if you didn’t take so much medication you wouldn’t have so many migraines. Maybe if you did ___ more it would solve your problem. Or if you did ___ less you would be better. And these are to be educated for sure, and avoided also. Educate them that migraines are a disease and complex to treat when chronic. But avoid them after, because this sort? Never gets it. They will blame you no matter what you do or do not do. It will always be Something you can do Better to Cure yourself. And maybe if you were just more Positive about it too….