Asking for Help

Migraine Insight
May 23 · 3 min read

As chronic pain sufferers, we struggle to ask for help. We don’t want to feel like a burden. We feel like our pain dominates our day, our family or our work. We can often get caught in a shame loop, where we feel guilty about our pain and don’t want to accept or even ask for help.

Migraine pain is not your fault. You didn’t ask for this, and you’re doing the best you can. We’ll repeat that: you’re doing the best you can. Your pain is real, and it while it doesn’t define you, it can be debilitating. Sometimes you need to ask for help from those who love you. Here are a few techniques.

Sometimes you need to ask for help from those who love you.

In this article

Write a letter

Educate friends and loved ones about migraines

Make a list

Create a script

Write a letter

It’s hard to be articulate when you’re in pain, or you’re recovering from a migraine. You may not be able to tell your loved ones or boss or friends what you need when you need it. When you feel well, write a letter of what would be helpful to you when you’re in pain. Maybe you need a loved one to take over household chores or responsibilities. Maybe you need money because migraines are keeping you from work. Whatever your needs, it’s often easier to ask in an email or text.

Educate friends and loved ones about migraines

Often people don’t understand why you need extra help or need to cancel plans. They don’t understand your migraines aren’t just headaches you can power through. Send those in your life links to migraine research and first-person experiences from sufferers. Knowing your loved ones understand your condition will make it easier for you to ask for help when you need it.

Make a list

When you’re well, make a list of everything that drifts when you’re in migraine pain. This may be household chores, bills, work, pet or child care, or grocery shopping. Next to these items, list people who would be able to help with each, even if you haven’t asked them to help before. Then, ask your loved ones before a migraine hits if they would be willing to help with these items in the future. Knowing ahead of time who is available for what task will make it easier to ask when you’re in pain.

Create a script

Have a script ready when you need help. The script might say something like, “My migraine is at an 8 out of 10 today, and I need help. I need meals for the next few days while I recover. Would you be willing to help me by bringing or ordering food for me?” Knowing what to say before the pain hits can be enormously helpful.

There’s a twofold message here: work on ridding yourself of shame about your condition (therapy is a wonderful tool for eradicating shame), and be prepared. Feeling confident and articulate is key to getting help when you need it most.


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