Migraine Survivors: The Toll Migraine Take on Mental Health

By Wanda

Discussing mental health isn’t quite the taboo it used to be, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s taken my entire lifetime (49.5+ years) it to be “okay” to talk about mental illness, and in some circles like *cough* family *cough* it’s still not a topic to be discussed.

It’s always amazed me that those closest to us have the hardest time discussing subjects like mental illness, chronic diseases, and the impact they have on us as an individual. I’ve often wondered why that is, and have tried to make sure my daughters, brother, cousins, close friends, and other loved ones know they can come to me at any time with any question or concern about anything.

The Anxiety and Depression Association sites research which found 11% of participants in the study had migraines and a variety of disorders: major depression, general anxiety disorder (GAD), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, panic disorder, substance abuse disorders, agoraphobia, and simple phobia.

These are known as “commingled illnesses”; a fancy way of saying migraines play a big part in a warrior’s mental health. That’s not a stretch for any of us to understand. Life is hard enough without having to worry about triggers, attack’s, medications, migraine kits, and doctors’ appointments on a constant basis.

In a Reuter’s post by Will Boggs, MD, from ten years ago, Dr. Nathalie Jette from University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada is quoted as stating: “In addition, having migraine and a psychiatric condition is associated with worsened health-related outcomes (disability, quality of life, restriction of activities).”

That is a HUGE admission for any healthcare provider to have stated so long ago. This is one of the articles I used to get SSI disability; it’s also something I share with any new mental healthcare provider. Why? Because I am a migraineur and suicide survivor; articles like these help care givers to understand.

As more people become aware of the link between chronic illness, chronic pain, and mental health, it gets easier to receive the specialized care we warriors need. Remember to be open and honest with your doctors about you pain levels AND your mood levels.

If you keep a migraine diary, note how you are doing mentally and emotionally with each entry. Helping to keep track of your mental health and what impacts it is important. We have all heard the saying “it’s ok not to be ok”, in a migraine warriors’ life this applies for head pin and “soul” pain.


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