June is National Migraine Awareness Month, and this year’s
theme is help make Migraines visible!
There are a number of reasons to help make Migraines visible. Two of the most significant of those reasons are:
- Ridding ourselves of the myths and misconceptions about Migraines and the resulting stigma. Studies have shown that the stigma associated with Migraines increases the burden of living with the disease
- Making Migraines more visible could result in more research funding which, in turn, would result in more and better treatments.
Educating ourselves and others and building awareness about Migraines are the best methods we have of making Migraines visible, and this is an area where each individual can make a difference. This isn’t something we need or should sit back and leave to others or to the professionals. There are more than 37 million people in the United States who have Migraines. Can you imagine what we could accomplish if just 10% of us got serious about educating others and building awareness about Migraine? That would be 3.7 million of us, and just think what we could do!
Here are some ways we can work to make Migraines more visible:
- Be honest and open about our own Migraines.
- When we have a Migraine, say we have a "Migraine," not a "headache." There’s a difference. Migraines have other accompanying symptoms, and sometimes, they’re more debilitating than the headache. Sometimes, Migraines occur with no headache at all.
- Keep learning about our Migraines. That lets us take better care of ourselves and explain Migraines to others when opportunities arise.
- Wear purple, our awareness color. Decorate with it. Use it on our blogs, our Facebook pages and other places. Use it enough for people to ask us why we like purple so much, then explain.
- If you have a Twitter account, watch for Tweets about Migraine and retweet them.
- If you have a Facebook page, share links and information about Migraines on your Facebook page. You can also add a purple ribbon to your Facebook profile photo through PicBadges
- If you blog about Migraines or another headache disorder, join the Migraine Awareness Month Blog Challenge from www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com. In a blog challenge, there are prompts/topics set for each day of the month, and bloggers write on as many of them as they can during the month. Each day that we write on the assigned prompt, we go to the host blog and post the URL of our entry, then we all Tweet and help promote each other’s entries. Some of the prompts are serious, some are more fun. All will help make Migraines more visible. An important point to make here is that if you don’t have Migraines, but do have another headache disorder, you’re very welcome to participate. Just substitute your type of headache for the word Migraine.
- We can also join the National Migraine Awareness Month Tweet Challenge. Join us in scheduling Migraine (or headache) related tweets every day throughout the month. Migraine.com has created a list of tweets they’ll be offering for anyone's use throughout the month, including appropriate hash tags and mentions. The hash tag for these tweets is #NMAMTC. These tweets also make great status updates for Facebook or other social media platform. Simply copy and paste them into your status or tweet bar! If you notice someone is tweeting or mentioning Migraine or headache in June, help them out by retweeting or sharing their efforts with your followers and friends.
This is just a sampling of many ways we can help make Migraines visible, and as Migraines become more visible, the lives of all of us with Migraines will become easier. None of these things take much time, and it’s easy for them to become habits, things we do almost without even thinking about it.
For those of us who haven’t worked toward Migraine awareness, National Migraine Awareness Month is the perfect time to begin. For those who have been, it’s a good time to kick it up a notch. Join the blog challenge and the Tweet challenge, look at the suggestions above, and find your own ways to make a difference. This truly is an area where each individual can make a difference, and when we join together to do it, look out!
So, what do you say? Let’s educate ourselves and others and stir things up!
©Teri Robert, 2012