I created this post as part of a campaign by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I received an American Express gift card for participating.
Earlier this year I told you how my chronic migraines affect my life. As a migraineur (a migraine sufferer) it is really easy for me to get caught up in how my migraines affect me and forget how it may affect my loved ones—especially my husband. Chronic illness can be tough on a marriage. Here are some ways that we have been able to keep our relationship strong despite my chronic migraines.
He has been very good about learning as much as he can about migraines and more specifically, my migraines. He knows what my triggers are, my symptoms, and how I go about getting rid of them. If your spouse suffers from migraines, you need to know these things.
Migraines are more than a headache. Each person who suffers from migraines can have different experiences. Here are some questions to ask your spouse:
What triggers a migraine for you?
It could be stress, changes in the weather, eating or sleeping patterns, loud noises and more… Knowing your spouse’s triggers allows you to know when one might be coming or how you can help them avoid one.
For example, my husband knows that strong smells can cause a migraine for me. Whenever we are out together and need to get gas in the car, he will pump it so I don’t have to smell it. He also gets back in the car and automatically puts hand sanitizer on to remove any excess fumes. My “baby nose” (as he calls it) can pick up the faintest scent of something.
When and how do you know you are getting a migraine?
Some people get an aura with visual cues to tell them a migraine is coming on. Others may not know until the headache pain starts. If your spouse isn’t sure how to know when a migraine is coming on, help them keep track. Keeping a migraine diary can really help a person know their triggers and warning signs.
For example, I can have excessive yawning a day or two before a migraine hits. When my husband sees this, he has a mental note to be on the lookout! However, sometimes I don’t realize until the pain begins. At this point, apparently I look different because my husband can look at me and ask “Do you have a migraine?”
What are your most common symptoms?
Just as triggers and cues vary, symptoms can be all across the board. Knowing what symptoms to expect for your spouse can help you prepare.
For example, I am sensitive to light during a migraine. My husband knows this and will automatically close the blinds and drapes in our bedroom.
Migraines make me miss out on many activities in life. However, this doesn’t mean that my husband has to miss out too. We make social and family plans as if I don’t get migraines. When it comes to the day of an activity, if I have a migraine, I will usually try to get ready to go. If it just isn’t happening, he knows that I am fine with him going without me. I don’t want to bring him down. He has a right to have fun and enjoy activities with others.
Maybe you get migraines during your period or when a big snow storm comes. These are things that you may know about in advance. Try to plan around them. Don’t schedule a vacation during the week of your period. If you have dinner plans on a night when a storm is expected see if you might be able to reschedule for the next night or the night before. If you can’t change plans, refer to the paragraph above.
Communication is something that my husband and I have always excelled in. That isn’t to imply that we are perfect at expressing our feelings and discussing them, but rather that we aren’t afraid to do so. This includes how we both may feel about my migraines.
Talk to one another. Remember that only one spouse may experience the symptoms and pain of a migraine, but that doesn’t mean that the other spouse isn’t affected. If you suffer from migraines, make sure to talk to your spouse about how it affects them. They may get annoyed, frustrated or lonely. Talk about ways to help with these feelings. Come up with strategies together.
My husband and I always remind one another that we are partners. We work together as a team. That includes times of distress. Don’t let chronic migraines bring down your marriage! Remember that there is more to migraines than just a headache… for you and for your spouse.
Get more information at MoreToMigraine.com.