Being a part of the migraine community is something I have found eye opening, incredible, inspiring and heart breaking all at the same time. Knowing that there are other people out there who experience what I do on a day to day basis, makes this journey a whole lot easier.
I often get asked how I cope with holding down a job whilst living with Chronic Migraine and how I balance my work. What if I have a bad day? What if I have a bad episode whilst at work? What plans do I have in place? I count myself extremely lucky that although it may not be full time, I am one of the few people who suffer with Chronic Migraine that is able to work and I thought it may be helpful to share my story with you.
I’ll start with the truth. Some days, I really don’t balance my job at all. There are many days when I wan’t to quit my job because I simply feel like I cannot do it when I am having a bad day and I worry what other people may be thinking when I am having a bad episode or I need to leave early, take five out or have that extra break. Yes I know, you’re probably thinking that all I go on about is not worrying what others opinions are but sometimes, it definitely is hard.
Managing the symptoms that I get alongside Chronic Migraine is something that I have had to learn to cope with whilst at work to enable me to get through my shifts. Some of the main symptoms I get when having a migraine and during day to day life include brain fog, confusion, memory loss, vertigo, loss of balance and jumbling up my letters and numbers. When working in retail, this can be not only embarrassing but extremely frustrating. I have a little chair at work that is my safety net if I need it and I know that If it gets too much, I can take five and have a rest. However, I often look zoned out, dis-interested and like I am ignoring someone but that is far from the truth. It takes me a long time to process what has been said and when people ask me to do something, nine times out of ten I will have to ask them a few minutes later what they have just asked me to do. I am lucky I work in an environment of extremely understanding colleagues which definitely make my time at work a lot easier.
My migraine survival kit is something that I cannot recommend more. Whether you suffer from headaches, migraines or occasionally you just need that little pick me up when you’re not feeling one hundred per cent, my on the go kit is my little piece of reassurance. I know that when I’m working, everything is right there if I need it and I will always carry my medication, some sort of heat pad, my tinted glasses, my forehead stick, some spare painkillers, something sugary to eat and an essential oil (often mint or lavender as these are the most calming). If things get a little too much at work, popping a few drops of this onto a tissue just helps to reassure me and I find mint often helps to unblock any fluids and make you feel refreshed ready to start again.
When suffering from Chronic Migraine and also working, it is important to manage your time well, enabling you to get a good work and life balance. When you get time off, it is important to have both a mental and physical break from work to allow you to re-charge so that you are able to give it your all when you are next there.
And finally I believe it is also about having the right support. Having a good manager and good colleagues definitely makes the work balance a lot easier and allows me to feel a lot more at ease. When I am having a bad day, many understand and they kind of just know to leave me be but they’re right there if I need them and you know what? That’s just the way I like it. I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m not asking for someone to constantly ask if I’m okay but knowing that they’re there, is just right.
I may not be where I want to be with my work but I am where is right for me at the moment and I believe I have a good balance.
Remember, I’m only ever a message away.
All my love,