We have all seen it played out in tv or movies countless times... Somebody wants to get out of something and they use a headache or migraines as an excuse. Every time I see it I can't help but roll my eyes in annoyance and fight the urge to change the channel. When an illness is invisible, like migraine, people decide it is fine to use it as a free pass to go do something more fun. Guess what? When I have a migraine, it is not an excuse and it is anything but fun. We can barely lift our head off of our pillow during most attacks. Nausea, vomiting, throbbing pain, sound and light sensitivity, aura and more vanquish any plans we hope to fulfill. We are left alone in the dark, praying the pain will stop, praying for a little relief... we go through hell.
It's one thing to see fictional characters use something you personally battle daily as an excuse, but it goes to a whole different level when it's used by someone you know. One example, years ago, I was telling a friend about how I had really bad migraine and Jeremy had to stay home from work to take care of me. She replied with excitement about what a great idea that was. Confused I asked what she meant, and she said that she was going to use it (having a migraine) as justification for her husband to skip work because they wanted to go into the city for the day. For someone you know to sit in front of you and say something like that, not only does it shock you but it shows that they have no idea what you go through.
Migraine is not fun. Migraine is not my free justification to use when I want to make plans for a day out and not be stuck somewhere else. When other people use my chronic illness ignorantly and carelessly, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Migraine is a disability, a neurological disorder that wreaks havoc on the lives of those with the diagnosis. This is why I believe in speaking the truth that I live every day... We cannot change perceptions and misconceptions of this crippling illness by staying silent. This is not just a headache. This is not something that will magically disappear. Most importantly, this beast that I have battled with for years is not an acceptable free pass for ANYONE to use. When people misuse migraine and pretend that they have a chronic illness, they are hurting others and making it harder for the world to believe us when we try to explain how very real our pain is.