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25 Struggles Only People with Chronic Headaches Will Understand

When you develop an incredibly high threshold for pain.

When your head feels like it’s literally going to explode into a thousand pieces every other day, somehow stubbing your toe doesn’t feel like the end of the world anymore. This superhuman pain tolerance might sound impressive, but anyone would give it up in a second to be a headache-less human.

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When you can’t enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures, like going to the movies.

It never fails. Right when the movie is starting to get good, and you start to feel confident that maybe you’ll escape in one piece this time...BAM. Dark theater, bright screen, deafeningly loud; it’s a recipe for disaster, really.

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When you realize that your absolute FAVORITE food or drink is a trigger.

Goodbye, beautiful, wonderful, amazing Starbucks white chocolate mocha. Of course, the one thing that makes you feel better only makes you feel worse. The struggle is real!

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When your “miracle drugs” aren’t performing miracles.

What’s the point in paying exorbitant amounts of money for something that literally is no help whatsoever!?

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When people say they “understand.”

Oh, you had a sinus headache last week? Yeah, I’m sure that’s completely comparable to the inescapable pain I’m experiencing right now. For the fourth day in a row. It makes me feel so much better that someone “gets it."

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When you literally have no words to describe how you feel.

It’s bad enough being in so much pain that you want to jump off a cliff. But when you can’t even express said pain to anyone, it only makes you feel more secluded and alone.

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When someone says, “Oh, just drink some water, that always works for me.”

Thanks so much for offering me such insightful advice that I definitely never would have thought about on my own. See also: “Did you try taking some Ibuprofen?” 

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When certain people just ... exist.

There are some people who can hardly be tolerated when you feel normal, so in Head-Explosion-ville, I am definitely not in the mood. Please stop talking. 

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When your doctor "doesn’t know what’s wrong."

This is maybe the worst of all. “I swear the pain is real. I swear I’m not crazy. Stop looking at me like I’m crazy and figure out what’s wrong with me!”

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When people accuse you of being “dramatic.”

Do people think you really want to spend an entire Friday night in complete darkness curled into the fetal position underneath the covers?  

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Starving because the nausea won’t go away.

Migraines accompanied with nausea are the worst. It’s been eight hours since you’ve eaten, but you’re way too nauseous to eat anything. Nothing sounds good, and you just want to disappear for a bit.

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Finding someone who truly understands how you feel.

Basically, they’re your best friend now. When a migraine is coming on, you can both sit in silence together without actually talking to each other. BFFs forever, right?

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Walking around knowing that it can happen at any time.

It’s like looking over your shoulder for someone that’s never there but knowing one day they’re going to be there. It could be next week, next month, or it could be tomorrow. Who knows?

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Being unable to look at your phone.

Why were phones made so bright? Even with the brightness all the way down, they still somehow shine with the light of a thousand suns. Opening your eyes to look at it is excruciating. Actually, opening your eyes at all is out of the question.  

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Missing important life events because of a migraine.

No matter how important the event is, it isn’t going to happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s your twice-removed cousin’s birthday or your sister’s wedding—attending will just lead to a grouchy bear at best and absolute, horrible pain at worst.  

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When every smell is just too much.

Yeah, aromatherapy won’t work because when a migraine is coming on, any scent is too much. Even the smell of your own perfume or deodorant can be too much.


When committing totally isn't a thing.

We don’t mean to flake on plans we’ve committed to. When the alternative is curling up in a public bathroom while feeling like death, canceling is a necessary evil. 


When your meds work but leave you drained.

If you manage to find a medicine that works, it’ll probably leave you drained and completely sleepy. Then, when a migraine is coming on, you have to decide between being super drowsy or being in pain. You didn't have anything to do anyway, right??


Calling in actually sucks.

People think that you love calling in sick, but in reality, you’d much rather be at work because that means you’d be well. Plus, your boss always thinks you’re faking it, or you're just overdramatic.


When you don’t know why your migraine is coming on.

Is a migraine coming on because of the weather or because you found a new trigger food? Chronic headaches can come on for a number of reasons and trying to figure out the cause can be an absolute (and literal) pain.


When you get a migraine aura.

Nothing is worse than getting a migraine aura. Things pop up into your vision, and they turn a manageable headache into one that’s now impossible and requires a dark, dark room.


Sunny weather is bad, but rainy weather is just as bad.

Sunlight sucks because brightness only exacerbates chronic headaches, but rainy weather isn’t much better. High-pressure storms can cause a migraine like no one’s business. Whatever the weather, it hurts.


When people think you’re picky for needing a special diet.

You’re not picky—you’re just trying to avoid dealing with pain. Doctors tell us to eat several times a day and don’t skip meals. When we do eat, we're told to avoid alcohol, cheese, gluten, and a ton of other things.


Caffeine can help, but it's also trigger.

Ah, caffeine. Our love affair with you is a delicate one. Sometimes, caffeine is exactly what you need to get rid of a migraine, but that comes at the risk of dehydrating yourself. Too much, and you’re on your way to another type of headache.


Needing to use the restroom but being unable to move.

Listen, few things are worse than needing to use the restroom but knowing the pain will just get worse the moment you stand up. All you can do is hold it as long as humanly possible and then endure the trip when you’re able.