Chronic Pain and Relationships

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bigredjen
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/3/2006 7:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow- my first post on Healing Well!

I suffer from chronic daily headaches, and I'm having a hard time explaining them to my spouse-- who just sees me lying down a lot, low energy, etc. I'm on Amitriptyling which makes me really groggy, super hungry, and lethargic-- but with some pain relief. He knows about my medication- but just assumes that I'm 100% better, despite my telling him my daily struggles.

I'm just wondering if anyone out there has found any resources for friends/family that may give them a better idea of how headaches can affect daily life??

THANK YOU!!!

Annuk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 11/3/2006 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi bigredjen,

Welcome to Healing Well. Sorry you are having such a hard time with your headaches, there are a lot of links on this site to information about Migraine and other diseases. Please have a look to the right of this post and you will see 'Resources' - just click on that and have a good read and and look through this information there and print some off for you family to read.

I know I am not the only one who finds dealing with family reactions sometimes just as hard as the disease itself!!! You are not alone there!!

Have you seen a Neurologist for your headaches? What do you take to abort an attack. Please keep in touch and let us know how you get on. Take care

Ann

bigredjen
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/4/2006 10:57 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ann!

Thank you for the welcome!

I have been to see several neurologists, and have been diagnoses with chronic daily headaches. I have been on amitryptaline for almost a year now, which has worked for the most part-- but only about 80% of the time. I've also been subject to its side effects, which has been rather unpleasant.

To offset headaches, I basically just try to watch what I eat, track my triggers, and get enough sleep. One of my biggest problems is pressure changes in the weather, which I haven't been able to get around- yet.

My partner is very supportive, although he has never had a headache in his life, so he finds it hard to understand why I need to do certain things: like sleep on the weekends, go to bed early, not eat chocolate, etc. I also get pretty sluggish with the Ami...

Thanks once again for the words of support, and I look forward to exploring the site!

tysmyboo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 11/4/2006 9:43 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi all,

I think that relationship challenges are one of the hardest things to deal with as far as daily migraines are concerned. We suffer in silence and take medications that make us feel worse but the pain that we put others through and the difficulties that it causes in our relationships are the hardest. I think that being open and really discussing what is going on with us and sharing resources like healingwell as well as other great organizations (National Headache Foundation, MAGNUM, and American Council for Headache Education) are a few of the best things that we can do. It is also really helpful to have our loved ones visit the doctor with us so they can see how real it is.

Recently I have had someone in my life see how expensive medications are, how severely I am affected daily by migraines (as well as body aches and pains from Fibromyalgia, as well as mood "issues" from depression that is accompanied by all of it. I think that actually seeing all of this is a big thing for this person. BEFORE THEY THOUGHT I JUST HAD       H E A D A C H E S    NOW THEY ARE AWARE THAT THIS IS A DISEASE. This is something that affects every part of my life and every part of my day. It starts the minute I wake up and open my eyes until the minute I crawl into bed and close my eyes at night.

The best advice I have is to share what knowledge you have with the person/people you love and remember that you would want to know what is going on with them if you truly loved them.

Hang in there...and things will get better.

Your long lost Moderator,

Sara


Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
 
Thanks for Visiting HealingWell.com
 
*~*Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have*~*
 
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Annuk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 11/5/2006 6:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Good to see you back again Sara!!

hopefulmigrainer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 11/5/2006 2:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I feel sad reading these posts. I don't want to be afflicted with this disease. I don't understand why I can't be "normal." I just feel really sad right now reading this because of the affect it has on my relationships. My husband left after 4 months of marriage and he said "I just didn't see things getting any better." I try so hard to be there for people, to put on a happy face - even when I'm in pain. I've learned that I have to take care of myself and if that means less friends then that just has to be okay. It really bothers me that so many people think we just have a headache. They don't see me when I'm lying in a dark room with heat on my neck and ice on my forehead. They really don't understand what it's like to have chronic migraine. I even read some posts where people have only 4 migraines a month and I envy them and feel angry that I have this wretched chronic pain. It has caused depression for me and I might even need to apply for long-term SSI, although I'm really hoping not because I can't live on it and I want to be productive. Sara had good advice but I'm afraid the person might run away if they saw how seemingly hopeless this condition is. I'm still searching and hoping. I hope that you will do the same and I hope that love conquers all for you. Some people have the capacity to love someone with disabilities. That's something to look for in a person.

Hopeful Migrainer
Talk2Kel 
DX: chronic migraine, cervical degeneration, depression/anxiety 
RX: Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Soma, Immitrex 
"You don't find out that God is all you've got until God is all you've got."


Kadee01
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/9/2006 11:53 PM (GMT -7)   
I am sorry you have been suffering. I can totally relate, I have had migraines for about 20 years continually. Years ago, I frequently rushed to the ER out of desperation from the pain. I have tried many of the medications, including injecting Imitrex. I have gone to pain clinics and had injections up and down my spine, neck and head.. I always have Ice Packs at all times in my freezer. Rarely do I not need an icepak a couple times a week to sleep with to help alleviate the headaches. I get ice paks ( meant for backs) so I can wrap them around my head and neck.
 
I have been taking Fiorinal (prn). and when I had an increase in headaches again about 1 year ago, an orthopedic doctor put me on Topomax, it has kept my migraines under control for the past year and has reduced them from maybe one migraine within a two week period- instead of daily to every other day. You might want to talk to your doctor about trying it. I have not found ANYTHING that works like it. I still take Fiorinal just to take the edge of if I have a flare up and that is it.
 
For myself, It has been a frustration when it comes to relationships, because its like a toothache, its just not visible to other people and they find it so hard to understand.. especially if the headaches are chronic. You get tired of saying " I have a migraine", at least that has been my experience. People can be supportive and understanding to a point and then I think they fall into.. if they haven't experienced it, its just beyond their comprehensionIt effects you socially, when you want to make plans and can not always pull through and with a spouse thats even more difficult. I can extend my compassion and experience, but my hope is that you will get rid of the migraines and find the support you need to help your spouse understand.  =)
 

tymaboy
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 11/14/2006 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
I know it is hard for my DH to understand. I have problems hearing certain tones so we have the problem with the tv - he likes it way up all the time. Most of the time this agrivates my head & he doesnt get it but other times depending on what we are watching I have the remote turning the volume up & down cuz of those tones that I have problem hearing & of coarse he has to make comment about it. The only times he seems to be good about keeping the level down is right after we made a trip for the shot, but that only lasts for maybe a week. Then he thinks everything is hunky dory again.

Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 11/14/2006 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi everyone,

Relationships are really hard to maintain when you suffer from chronic pain. My husband and I have nearly lost our marriage a couple of times. He didn't understand why I couldn't just toughen up and deal with my headaches and then the depression that came with it.

Finally a trip to the psychologist with me helped. He doesn't believe in that either, but she was able to explain things to her that I couldn't. I'm not really sure where the change happened, but we stopped fighting each other and started fighting my headaches together. He goes to many of my doctors' appointments with me and helps me try and figure out what's triggering the latest migraine. For example, as I decreased Topamax last week and was plagued by a week long migraine we realized that possibly the Topamax was working. His attendance at doctors' appointments helps especially if I'm not able to remember or process things because of the pain.

I think it took me telling him over and over how much pain I was in for him to understand. He doesn't suffer from headaches. I think he has had 3 in his lifetime. He listens now and does try to understand. I try to explain as much as I can so he can understand and explain how his pressure on me only makes things worse.

I hope this helps, I know that it takes all types and having a supportive spouse makes it a lot easier. I don't know how I would have made it through the last couple of years without my husband.

Good luck getting your spouse's support.

PS Hi Sara.


Nicky
Co-moderator Migraine Forum
 
I'm working everyday to overcome the pain and depression that comes from my chronic resistant migraines.
 
 


myio
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/11/2011 9:46 AM (GMT -7)   
I could definitely use some advice/tips on this topic. I have been mostly keeping my migraines managed with frequent acupuncture treatments along with a strict list of dos and don'ts to manage triggers. I used to have a migraine 4-5 days of the week.

Now, I am down to about 1 every 10 days and they are much less severe. However, I have found I get the beginnings of a migraine (a mild headache, but the kind you can feel is different some how and a mood shift) nearly every night. Sometimes I feel the change happen as early as 3-4pm other nights it hits me about 7-8pm. In any case, the worst part of it is the mood shift. I'm so used to the pain that its not that big of a deal for me to cope with. However, the mood shift is something I cannot figure out how to control.

Everything irritates me! I see the world through a dark lens and become intensely critical. I've got to the point where at least I am able to recognize that its happening and can tell myself these feelings/impulses are exaggerated and not real. But I know I project an intense negativity and sometimes can't help but snap at my partner or friends about things that are totally stupid and benign. I hate this and it makes me feel like a bad person. I worry constantly about how much longer my partner can tolerate me. I'm no fun to be around when I feel this way, I don't like being around me so how could anyone else.

Does anyone have any tips on how to control the mood swings or handle the critical impulses? Even biting my tongue I still am left with this pent up negative energy inside.

EvilFluorescents
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 224
   Posted 2/12/2011 3:09 PM (GMT -7)   
That's hard. I can definitely relate, especially at this time of year (winter) when the weather isn't the best.

Recognizing the fact that you're feeling this way and acting on it, is more than half the fight. When you think of something negative, try and think of how the same situation can be seen in a positive light (or better yet, say something positive). I know it seems silly, but with lots of practice it actually works. I'm a huge believer in neuroplasticity.

I find kicking up my exercise regimen helps. It's a two pronged sword. Exercise is the bodies natural antidepressant and anti migraine med (yay endorphins!).

Have you had your vitamin d levels checked recently? Many of us are deficient.

If you don't want to go the medication route (ssri's can be quite helpful to lift the mood, even in the face of migraine), you can also take a multi B vitamin, Fish oil (I believe the current literature suggests that the EPA:DHA ration should be about 1:1) and a few other things. Just be sure whatever you do take doesn't interact with any medications you're on (e.g. it's not advisable to take an ssri and st. johns wort at the same time).

I would suggest checking into mindfulness meditation. When I get negative thoughts like those that you are experiencing or anxious, I gently "tell" the thoughts to shut up. I then practice pseudo-mediation wherever I am at the moment, i.e. push the negative thoughts away and concentrate on my breathing (the different quality/characteristics of my breadth). This takes practice and good instruction but can be incredibly effective.

Best of Luck!
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