Mar
242016

#Migrainegrams: Things to Say That Are More Empathetic Than “I Hope You Feel Better”

Most of the people who come to my workshops and read my articles are interested in how to make their romantic relationships better. But as I’ve been talking more about what it’s like to live with chronic migraine, I’ve been getting a lot more questions from other migraineurs about their friends and family.

These fellow migraineurs tell me about how when they share what’s going on for them with their loved ones, those folks frequently say the wrong thing. Often, their friends and family will say “I hope you feel better!” These loved ones nearly always have great intentions, but saying “I hope you feel better” doesn’t always connect with someone who is in a lot of pain and doesn’t know if it ever WILL get better. Chronic stuff might get better, but it also might not. You might have good days, but “better” isn’t necessarily how they’d describe that.

It’s like if someone graduating from college doesn’t know what they want to do for a career. Saying “I hope you get a really high paying job!” isn’t really helpful. Sure, they might score a lucrative gig somewhere down the line. But saying that doesn’t make them feel any more awesome about the uncertainty and discomfort they’re dealing with at that moment. It doesn’t meet them where they’re at.

So I created a series of “migrainegrams” – little notes to share that reflect an understanding of what it’s like to live with this kind of pain. They’re meant to be little shareable empathy nuggets to demonstrate that even if you don’t know what it’s like, you care about trying to understand.

So instead of saying, “I hope you feel better” to your chronic migraineur friend, here are 9 things you can say instead. Feel free to share them on your Instagram or direct message one to a migraineur friend.

These are little reminders to meet people where they’re at. When we do that, we help people feel accepted and understood. And when people feel those things, we get more connection. Isolation is one of the crappiest things about having chronic migraines, so the more connection we have, the more joyful we’ll all be.

Bonus: Here’s a little video I made about this.

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