“Honey, I have a headache.” The easiest excuse to grab out of the bag, right?
But what if you really do have a headache? What if you suffer from chronic migraines? What if all you want to do is lie in a dark room and wait for the pain to go away?
For about a year, before we found out I had a tumor, I suffered from both migraines and cluster headaches. This put a huge strain all of my relationships, particularly my relationship with my husband. A bad headache put me in a terrible mood quicker than anything else. I usually wanted to be left alone.
The internet is flooded with articles about getting rid of the “headache excuse.” But it really sucks for wives who actually deal with headaches (especially migraines) on a regular basis. Here are four tips that I pray are helpful to you:
1. When you don’t have a headache, make the best of that time.
Honestly, I had very few days where I didn’t fall asleep with a headache at the end of the day. As I was working through the process of trying to figure out what was causing my headaches and what could help, I learned that those headache-free days were priceless.
Be spontaneous. Initiate intimacy. Make some awesome memories. Don’t think about when the next headache will hit—just enjoy some quality time with your spouse.
2. Be patient with your husband.
I often made myself out to be the victim. I’m the one with a headache, so I have every right to be short with him.
Nope. It wasn’t easy for him either—having a wife who wanted to go sleep in a dark room as soon as she got home from work each evening doesn’t sound very fun. Don’t snap at him just because you don’t feel good. If you need him to bring you water, your medicine, or run to the store to grab food that won’t make you puke, just ask him. Don’t expect him to read your mind. I made that mistake time and time again. I felt super worn out and frustrated, but when I asked (nicely), he was always willing to help.
I remember one day we were low on groceries, and I was hungry. Really hungry. But I had a huge list of “migraine triggers” on the fridge that I was supposed to stay away from. Kyle was trying to help, but every suggestion he came up with had something on that list. I finally collapsed into a puddle of tears on the kitchen floor. That was the first time I was completely honest with him about how overwhelmed I was.
Sometimes you have to stop trying to be so darn strong, and let your husband help you.
3. Know that you aren’t alone in this.
Feeling miserable all the time was isolating. I felt like no one understood. Heck, I couldn’t even find a blog for people with migraines (and there are blogs on pretty much everything). People don’t jump up to help you deal with migraines. They’re chronic. They’re debilitating. They affect you every day. But it’s impossible to know just how horrible they are if you haven’t ever had them.
Just know that you aren’t the only one going through this. There are so many things out there that can help migraines, and it can be a long process of trial and error, but once you find something that helps, it’s so worth it. So don’t stop trying.
4. Don’t let headaches fool you into thinking you aren’t blessed.
I remember talking to my mom one night, extremely stressed out and frustrated. Nothing was helping. Not diet changes, not medication, not glasses, nothing, nothing, nothing. With the help of a few other things, my headaches had placed a huge rain cloud above my head.
My mom responded by saying, “Tayler, you really do have a great life,” and it kind of stopped me in my tracks.
Even despite the headaches, I have a really have a crazy blessed life. Everyone’s life is a mix of struggles and blessings. Many have it better and many have it worse. And even if I had struggled with daily migraines for the rest of my life (praise the Lord, they’re farther apart now!), that really pales in comparison to a perfect eternity with Christ.
I pray for the wife out there who’s struggling with migraines. For the one who feels like she’s reached the end of her rope. For the one who’s losing time with her family because she’s too busy throwing up in the bathroom or lying flat on her back. I pray that you strengthen her through this. I pray that she’ll be able to find some relief. I pray that she’ll lean on you in the meantime. Lord, be with her husband. Help him understand that what she’s going through is really, really tough. Help him help her. I pray that she knows it’s okay to reach out for help when she needs it. Lord, sustain her. Give her peace. Help her to see the blessings in her life, even through the headaches.
In your name I pray,
If you deal with migraines, or even if you don’t (and you’re still reading!), consider sharing this. You probably have a friend who deals with migraines, even if you don’t know it.