Being emotionally supportive to a friend or loved one suffering from chronic migraine syndrome can be challenging. You may not fully understand what they are going through and as much as you’d like to – you can’t magically take their pain away. What you can do is ask the right questions to ensure you are being helpful. Here are 6 great questions you should ask someone with chronic migraine syndrome to show you care.
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1. Are there any errands I can run for you this week?
Migraine symptoms include visual disturbances, sensitivity to light or sound, throbbing pain and nausea, making even the simplest task seem like an impossible feat. Sunlight, noise and activity can enhance the severity of a migraine episode and driving while battling symptoms can be extremely dangerous for the migraine sufferer and others. Offering to help could tremendously influence their odds of feeling better sooner and prevent them from entering into a life endangering situation.
2. Do you want to talk about your migraine syndrome or how you are feeling today?
Suffering from chronic pain can sometimes feel like a solo journey. Ask your friend or loved one how they are feeling. Give them the opportunity to express frustrations or fears and describe what it’s like to live with chronic migraine episodes. Talking is an excellent way for the sufferer to reduce stress and anxiety about the situation and you can gain better insight into their struggle.
3. Would you like some help with kids or pets?
Severe migraines are debilitating for some, hindering their ability to care for children or pets during an attack. The stress of trying to be a good parent or owner when piercing pain is working against their every move can become overwhelming and may even worsen symptoms. Volunteer to baby sit for friends or loved ones when attacks occur. The privacy and break from responsibility will provide the sufferer with guilt-free quality time to focus on managing pain and children or pets will appreciate the play date!
4. Can I prepare some meals for you this week?
Another stressor that migraine sufferers are concerned with is: how long will an attack last? The answer isn’t always predictable and that means days can go by before the migraineur can get back to daily responsibilities. During this time, one of the last things they may be thinking about is food. Offer to prepare meals for the week to make sure the sufferer and his or her family is getting enough to eat. Removing the stress of having to provide for the family could help the migraineur recover more quickly.
5. Do you need anything from the store or can I fill any prescriptions for you?
When a migraineur is battling an attack, they may choose to forego some of the essentials they need, like basic household items or (more importantly) medication because they are too inflicted to leave home. Ask if there is anything you can pick up for them. Make sure their prescription medications are filled and if they are running low, offer to handle getting a refill. Having access to everything they need will make an attack more bearable and less likely to progress.
6. Can I drive you to any appointments?
Migraine attacks can be frightening, frustrating and exhausting for sufferers. Often, migraineurs have anxiety about when the next attack will strike or stress about an attack occurring while they are alone and away from home. Offer to take your friend or loved one to any appointments they may have. Your company could ease their stress and keep them safe.
Migraine attacks can completely debase a sufferer’s quality of life, but your simple gestures of kindness can make all the difference in their ability cope. Be available to listen as they express thoughts and feelings about their journey and offer to help with child care, pet care or running errands to keep them safe and stress free. Be specific in your questions so the sufferer doesn’t need to think about how you can help them. They’ll be more likely to accept a specific gesture than define one. Volunteering just a little of your time could drastically alter their ability to live with chronic migraine syndrome and may even impact the severity and frequency of their attacks.
Image Source: Mustafa Khayat