When we suffer from Migraine disease, we often feel helpless and like there is nothing we can do to make our lives better. I try to live by the serenity prayer, which asks for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Although this is a prayer, it works equally well as a piece of psychological and medical advice. When we practice acceptance and move on to take action on those things where we can make a difference, however small those things may seem, we shift our perception from being helpless to being in charge, at least of some small aspect of our lives. When we are in charge of one aspect, our perspective shifts and we begin to see other aspects we can shift as well. As we feel more positive, we produce more feel-good chemicals in our brains, which affect our overall health, sometimes making us more resistant to Migraine triggers, raising our stamina, further raising our mood.

I wrote the Six Keys to Manage Your Migraines and Take Back Your Life not because I thought I had a cure for Migraine disease. I don’t. Not because I think if you go through the e-course you will suddenly see your Migraines improve dramatically. I certainly wish that will be so for you, but I don’t expect it. I wrote it because I know, from my own experience, and that of many other Migraine sufferers, that when we take action in our lives, things happen, things get better. The e-course is written with action steps built in to have you engaged with and learning more about your disease, about your unique body and its responses, and about what works best for you. If you focus on the six keys, Knowledge, Medical Help, Knowing Triggers, Tracking, Support, and Relaxation, and keep working on those areas, I believe most of us will see our Migraines improve, over time. This is not a disease with a cure that someone can hand us, it is a disease that we can significantly impact, ourselves, by focusing on what we can change.

What can we change? If you are not getting good medical care, or your doctor is not helping you with your Migraines, you can demand better care, or change doctors. Go to My Migraine Connection for a list of patient approved Migraine specialists. You can keep track of everything, learn your triggers and avoid those you can, and keep a detailed diary, so you can see what affects your Migraines. You can build your support system and learn to relax.

If you are reading this and you are in the United States, you can have a big impact this week on changing the future of Migraine and headache medicine. I just returned from Headache on the Hill, a lobbying event organized by the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA). 12% of the entire human population suffers from Migraine disease, 25% of all women in their middle years. The World Health Organization counts it as the 12th most disabling condition worldwide. Yet here in the U.S., our National Institutes of Health (NIH), which oversee and fund the basic research that makes medical innovation possible, devotes less than 0.05% of their budget annually to Migraine and headache disorders research. If you are not already on their mailing list, please get on the AHDA mailing list today. Next week we will have an action alert to email our Congressional representatives to sign on to language which will direct the NIH to devote a fair share of the research dollars they already have to a disease that affects 36 million Americans.

Everyone can’t get up and spend two days in Washington DC lobbying like I did. While there I had to abort a Migraine one evening, but I was able to function more than 80 % of the time on the trip. I know for many of you that would not have been possible. While I sat in legislators’ offices talking about this disease I was very aware that I was speaking for many of you who could not be there physically, and it was a privilege to be able to do that. But you can get on the AHDA mailing list and email your representatives when the time comes. You can speak your piece. Make a difference for all of us, and for the future.

Author's Bio: 

Megan Oltman is a migraineur, an entrepreneur, and a Migraine Management Coach, helping migraineurs and people with chronic illness manage their lives, keep working, start and maintain businesses, and live purposeful lives. She also practices as a professional divorce mediator. Over the years, she's been a practicing attorney, a free-lance writer, and a business coach and advisor. Megan has a free Migraine management course, The Six Keys to Manage your Migraines and Take Back your Life, available at takebackyourlifefrommigraine.com Her writings on Migraine and more tools for managing life with Migraine can be found at freemybrain.com