Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Activities, Images, and More

NMAHM2016JoinUsDo you have Migraine, Cluster Headache, or another Headache disorder - or care about someone who does? Almost everyone knows someone with a Headache disorder. Whether one or more of these disorders impacts you directly or through people you know, I hope you'll join us this month - Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM) - in our efforts to raise awareness and improve lives.

One of the most important aspects of MHAM is getting accurate and compelling facts out in view of the general public to dispel myths and misconceptions and to reduce the social stigma associated with Cluster Headache, Migraine, Post-Traumatic Headache, and all other Headache disorders.

Many people are generating creative ways to observe MHAM, and there are some organized efforts that everyone can join.

In previous years, there's been a MHAM Blogging Challenge. It's been great. This year, to involve more people, the Blogging Challenge morphed into the Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Social Media Challenge. I provided a "prompt," which is a fact to be used for each day of the month, and a logo to go with them.

Here's how it works:

  • MHAM16SMC150To participate in the Social Media Challenge, you need to use the fact in your blog and /or on one or more other social media platform - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., using the hashtag #MHAM.
  • You don't have to manage to participate every day to accept the challenge. We know that some of us simply won't feel up to it every day, so participate as much as you can.
  • If you use an image, please use the Social Media Challenge logo (without changing it), which you can see here. I'll add it in a few different sizes at the end of this post so you can get it.

You can find all the prompts and more info in my post Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Social Media Challenge.

People are also having great fun changing their Facebook profile and cover images to Awareness Month images. I've created one of each that I'll add below. You're welcome to use them. If you do, please do not make any changes to them.

The month is off to a strong start with bloggers writing about it and people Tweeting and posting on Facebook about it. I hope you'll join us to reach more people and make it even stronger. There are images below for Facebook and for general use. If you have any problems with getting the images, or if you have any questions, please contact me through the email link at the top of the right column of this page.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1

 

 because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"

Visit MigraineDisease.com

 

Follow me on    or 
 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape© Teri Robert, 2016.

 

All images ©Teri Robert, 2016. You're welcome to use them in conjunction with Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, but they must be used without any changes or additions.

Facebook profile image:
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Facebook cover image:
MHAM16

 Awareness Month Logo:
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Awareness Month Social Media Challenge Logo:
MHAM16SMC250  MHAM16SMC350


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Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Social Media Challenge

MHAM16SMC250June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, the month of the year when we put extra effort into raising awareness about Headache disorders including Migraine, Cluster Headaches, New Daily Persistent Headache, Post-Traumatic Headache, and literally hundreds of other Headache disorders.

For the last few years, we've had an Awareness Month Blogging Challenge during which we set topics or "prompts" for each day of Awareness Month, and participating bloggers each wrote their take on that topic. This year, to expand the Blogging Challenge to include more people, it has become the Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Social Media Challenge. For bloggers used to the Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blogging Challenge, hopefully, you'll use these prompts as you have in previous years. This isn't meant to take away the blogging challenge. It's evolved to involve even more people.

Here's how it works:

  • Below, I'm going to post either a fact about a Headache disorder for each day of June.
  • To participate in the Social Media Challenge, you need to use the fact in your blog and /or on one or more other social media platform - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., using the hashtag #MHAM.
  • You don't have to manage to participate every day to accept the challenge. We know that some of us simply won't feel up to it every day, so participate as much as you can.
  • Wherever you can, please use the Social Media Challenge logo (without changing it), which you can see here. I'll add it in a few different sizes at the end of this post so you can get it.

I'm going to post all of the daily prompts now so you'll have them in advance. Here they are, complete with hashtags:

  1. 75% of the world's adults had a #Headache or #Migraine in the last year. #MHAM
  2. The majority of people w/ #Headache and #Migraine are not diagnosed. #MHAM
  3. Accurate diagnosis of #clusterheadaches can take years. #MHAM
  4. @WHO says #Migraine is the 8th most disabling disease in the world. #MHAM
  5. #Migraine can and does kill through stroke and suicide. #MHAM
  6. Patients with #NDPH usually know the exact date their daily #headache started. #MHAM
  7. Social Stigma increases the burden of living with #Migraine. #MHAM
  8. #Migraine is a neurological disease caused by genetics and a hypersensitive brain. #MHAM
  9. #Headache Disorders cost the U.S. economy more than $31 billion each year. #MHAM
  10. #Migraine significantly increases risks for other serious diseases incl heart disease. #MHAM
  11. Pain of #clusterheadaches usually starts over one eye. #MHAM
  12. #Headache disorders are the most prevalent neurological disorders #MHAM
  13. #Migraine affects all ages from pre-verbal children to the elderly. #MHAM
  14. There is no cure for #clusterheadaches or #Migraine. #MHAM
  15. @WHO says severe #Migraine attack as debilitating as quadriplegia. #MHAM
  16. Most people see up to 5 doctors before an accurate #Migraine diagnosis. #MHAM
  17. Suicide attempts are 3 times more likely in people with #Migraine with aura. #MHAM
  18. Depression and suicide are common in patients with #clusterheadaches. #MHAM
  19. #Headache and #Migraine patients educated about their disorder have better outcomes. #MHAM
  20. #Migraine is no longer considered vascular; it's neurological. #MHAM
  21. There are NO treatments originally developed for #clusterheadaches. #MHAM
  22. Neurologists aren't always #Headache and #Migraine specialists and vice versa. #MHAM
  23. @WHO reports #Migraine responsible for at least 1% of total US medical disability. #MHAM
  24. Most med students get only 4 hours education on ALL #Headache disorders. #MHAM
  25. #Headache disorders are responsible for nine percent of all US lost labor productivity. #MHAM
  26. A #Migraine attack isn't a #headache. It can occur with NO headache at all. #MHAM
  27. #Clusterheadaches have earned the nickname suicide headaches. #MHAM
  28. There are no diagnostic tests to confirm #Migraine or most other #Headache disorders. #MHAM
  29. People with #ChonicMigraine have a #Migraine more often than not. #MHAM
  30. #Migraine causes Americans to miss 113 million work days per year. #MHAM

Here are some hashtags you may want to use. These have all been defined at www.tagdef.com.

  • #MHAM Migraine and Headache Awareness Month
  • #clusterheadaches Cluster Headaches
  • #migraine Migraine
  • #headache Headache
  • #chronicmigraine Chronic Migraine
  • #hemiplegicmigraine Hemiplegic Migraine

Thanks go to Tammy Rome for her help in putting together a prompt for each day. Thanks, Tammy!

If you have any questions, please email me by using the email link at the top of the right column of this page.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1

 

 because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"

Visit MigraineDisease.com

 

Follow me on    or 
 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape© Teri Robert, 2016.

 

 

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Migraine Awareness Month 29: "More Often than Not."

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Good morning, and welcome to day 29 of National Migraine Awareness Month!

Today's prompt for the Awareness Month blog challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #29: "More Often Than Not."
Today is Chronic Migraine Awareness Day. Think of and share a random act of kindness that you could do for someone with chronic Migraine.

First for anyone who may not understand what chronic Migraine is, let me explain:

As defined in the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders, Second Edition (ICHD-II), which is the gold standard for diagnosing and classifying Migraine and other headache disorders, chronic Migraine is Migraine or tension-type headache 15 or more days per month with at least eight of those being Migraine. In other words, people with chronic Migraine are in pain more often than not. Some people actually have a Migraine or headache every day. You can read more about chronic Migraine in Chronic Migraine - What Is It?

Now, on to the challenge. There are several "random" acts I can think of that could be quite helpful to someone with chronic Migraine. For the chronic Migraineur in your life, I'd suggest choosing one that best fits their life:

  • If they live alone, they may get lonely, especially because they may seldom feel like getting out. Give them a call and see if they feel like having a visitor. If they do, offer to bring lunch with you and spend some time with them. As if there are any errands you can run for them before or after your visit. Be sure to ask about what to bring for lunch, not just so you bring something they like, but also to avoid any food that might be Migraine triggers for them.
  • If they have a family, fixing dinner may be an issue for them. Offer to bring a home-cooked meal for them and their family. Again, check to see what foods are good. Pack everything into a basket or box, including disposable plastic plates and utensils so there are no dishes to be washed.
  • Do you have friends with chronic Migraines who have kids? Offer to pick them up from school? During the summer, offer to take the kids for an afternoon or a day.
  • Call a friend with chronic Migraine and just ask how they're doing and what they're doing that day. See if they need anything, want any errands run, or if there's anything at all you can do for them.
  • Call a friend with chronic Migraine and tell them you'd like to learn more about their Migraines and what you, as their friend, can do to help them. It will mean so much to them that you'll be totally amazed!

ChronicMigraineButtonToday is Chronic Migraine Awareness Day! Please take a bit of time today to do something for someone with chronic Migraine. If you've never lived with having that kind of pain more days than not, it's hard to imagine living that way. It's not just the pain and other symptoms. It really wears a person down, saps a person's strength and hope. A small gesture from a friend can go a long way toward restoring that hope.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny
 

Puz-only-btn

Get the latest Migraine and headache news, informational articles, tips for living well, and more in my free weekly newsletter. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.

Follow me on    or 

 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

© Teri Robert, 2012
Last updated June 29, 2012.


Migraine Awareness Month 26: "From The Outside Looking In"

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Good morning, and welcome to day 26 of National Migraine Awareness Month!

Today's prompt for the Awareness Month blog challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #26: "From The Outside Looking In."
Write about what you think your family, friends and others think a day in life, a day with Migraine disease is like.

From the outside looking in...

Most of my family and friends are only vaguely aware of my job as a patient educator and advocate.  It might surprise you to know that the majority of them don’t even know where I work other than ‘online’. 

I have never asked them what they think my days are like, but they occasionally give me a little insight with the things they say.

Sadly, some of my friends think that I spend all day long visiting Dr Google, obsessing over my health conditions.  In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Most of my time is spent either writing, or helping other patients online.  Most of these people think that spending time online must make me feel worse, when in reality the opposite is true.  Helping others gives me purpose and keeps me concentrating on everything but my pain, so I can often be found even working while in bed in the dark, iPad on my lap.  I stop for the day only when a Migraine is completely out of control. 

A few relatives think I waste my time each day in front of a television eating bonbons.  I wouldn’t know a bonbon if it stood up and introduced itself to me.  Although a radio or the television is often on for background noise to drown out my tinnitus (ringing ears) I rarely watch TV unless I happen to be passing through the room at an especially interesting time.  I average approximately 12 hrs a day working as an educator/advocate.  It’s true that part of this time is my job.  However, the vast majority of it is volunteer.  Patients are my priority.  Even with those numbers, I still feel that I let some patients down because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  I do my best and hope they see that.

A few friends and relatives think I waste my time on useless or frivolous sights such as Facebook and they see no purpose in it.  The reality is that I visit many online social media platforms, participating in too many of them to really count.  Sometimes I ask questions myself because I am always learning, but usually my time is spent helping others who are asking questions or looking for support.  I also keep in touch with other patients through these social media platforms, and we are often found sharing prayer requests and comfort for each other.  Hardly a waste of time in my book. 

I take my meds when I’m supposed to.  I distract myself from my pain every day.  I take out a little time each day to concentrate on things that cause me to pause with wonder and smile.  I enjoy the time I spend with my dogs and cat, and although my heart aches for the interaction, I enjoy watching the daily activities of the horses that surround my home.  I plan to go somewhere at least once a week because this makes me feel like my life is a little more regular.  I struggle to be as normal as I possibly can, with a very *not normal* situation. 

It’s my fault that my family and friends aren’t more aware of how I spend my days as a Migraineur because I could just talk about what I do and how I spend my time, but nobody is asking questions and I don’t feel the need to sit them down and bore them with the details.  I think they don’t ask questions because the reality is that they don’t want to know the answers.  They know I live in pain and that makes them feel uncomfortable.  They don’t know how to talk to me anymore.  Mostly, they are uninterested and busy with their own lives.  That happens with all of us from time to time.

My hubs and kids know how I spend my time because they live (or used to) with me each day.  My kids are Migraineurs too, so they understand from that perspective.  My world became very small when I got sick and that’s okay.  It’s okay that they are the only ones who “get me”  because they are the ones who matter most.  And the most important part of this equation is I am blessed that they DO understand and know me, and I am not alone.

 

~Ellen


Migraine Awareness Month 17: Father Knows Best

MomAndDad166Good evening, and welcome to day 17 of National Migraine Awareness Month!

The prompt for the Migraine Awareness Month blog challenge for today is:

Migraine Awareness Month #17: "Father Knows Best."
Some understand Migraines; some don't. Write a letter to your father or the man closes to you, and talk about your Migraines.

I was going to skip this one because my father died in 1987, but I decided to go ahead and write it anyway because my father had so much to do with who I am today...

Dear Daddy,

Today, I'm working on several things, trying to wrap up work so I can go to Los Angeles this week to attend an American Headache Society conference. Who would have guessed all those years ago when I started having Migraines that I'd end up working to help other people learn about them and live with them? That's what I do now, and I'm going to the conference so I can learn more and network with doctors who are experts in the field and other patient educators and advocates.

It's Father's Day today, so it's really fitting to say "Thank you" for this work that I do, this "calling." Whenever someone thanks me for helping them, you deserve that thanks. You were the one who sat outside my closet and held my hand or stayed in the bathroom and held my hair back while I vomited. You were the one who gave me shots of I don't even know what when they were really bad.

Putting Migraines aside, Daddy, you were also the one who told me I could do anything I wanted to with my life and taught me to stand up for myself. I don't know where I'd be today if you hadn't taught me those lessons.

My Migraines have made my life a living hell at times, but they've made me stronger too. John takes care of me, like you did. He drove me eight hours, each direction for appointments with Dr. Young in Philadelphia several times a year for several years until Dr. Young helped me get the Migraines controlled. You'd have been so proud of him. Now I have a doctor in Morgantown, so we don't have to go so far, and you know I can't go to Morgantown without thinking of you.

I love you and miss you, Daddy. Thank you for helping me with my Migraines, and thank you for helping me to be a stronger person and knowing how to stand up for myself. Those lessons were key to surviving chronic Migraines. If I've managed to pass on a fraction as much wisdom to our boys, I'll have been a success as a parent.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny
 

Puz-only-btn

Get the latest Migraine and headache news, informational articles, tips for living well, and more in my free weekly newsletter. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.

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© Teri Robert, 2012
Last updated June 17, 2012.


Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #16: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

AwarenessMonth2012BC2

Today's prompt is:

Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #16: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."  Which role fits you and why?

Although I would prefer that none of these three categories exist and we all work equally within a community, I have found that in practice, it rarely works this way.  Those who know me often hear me say “The cream eventually rises to the top.”  Given enough time, every community member finds the spot he/she is most comfortable. 

 As a result, two of these categories fit me I’m afraid – Lead, and Follow.  Although I’m not much of a get out of the way anymore, I do like to be an Indian when I can, so from that perspective I even fit *get out of the way*.

As a kid, I was the painfully shy, quiet one that didn’t want to stick out.  I loved being a get out of the way'er because there was less stress and it was easier to blend in that role.  When in grade school, I began doing art work that was getting noticed.  It was hard to stay in that get out of the way role after that, no matter how hard I tried.

By the time I was giving riding lessons and training horses, I had left the get out of the way role behind.  Get out of the way's don’t make good teachers, and they make lousy animal trainers.  Although that was where I was most comfortable, it wasn’t really where I belonged anymore.  It took a long time to come to terms with that and learn how to be comfortable as a leader.

When I first began helping other patients, I wanted to be a get out of the way'er.  I wanted to blend in and I stayed anonymous for a very long time trying to do that.  However, because I had so many personal experiences to share, I ended up often finding myself in leadership roles in my online communities, despite my best efforts.  I just couldn’t stand by watching people suffer when I had some of the answers to their questions and problems, and those skills to be a leader. 

Despite the fact that every one of these roles is vitally important to a community, it’s hard being in leadership roles! 

In the animal kingdom, most groups function on a hierarchal principle.  Typically there are alphas (leaders) and the leader’s best friends or number two’s (followers).  Then there is everyone else (get out of the way'ers).  Among the *everyone else* group there will be constant jockeying for higher positions and better status, because in the animal kingdom, this means a better chance at survival. 

Every once in a while, someone wants the leadership position and starts a fight to get it.  This is understandable in animal societies, but I like to think that in human society, with our ability to communicate verbally and work together with purpose and forethought, this jockeying for position should be unnecessary.

I have never felt that, in an ideal world, online communities should be run this way – we are all patients and all have similar experiences to share.  We gain or lose as a group depending on whether our groups are successful in what they are trying to accomplish.  The bottom line is, we are all valuable, and every time someone leaves a community, we are all the poorer for it.  There are all times when we should be leaders, followers, and times when we need to be getting out of the way so we can get things done. 

Have you stepped up into a leadership role within the Migraine community?  Do you consider yourself someone who is more comfortable following, or do you participate actively and the *get out of my way* position fits you best?  How do you think you would feel if you were thrust into another position?  Why?  We hope you'll let us know in your comments below...

~Ellen

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!

 


Migraine Awareness Month 15: We're Like Pennies

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Good afternoon, and welcome to day 15 of National Migraine Awareness Month!

Today's prompt for the Migraine Awareness Month blog challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #15: Free Blog!
Blog on a Migraine related topic of your choice.

I like this one! My topic will seem a bit strange to you at first, so please bear with me...

I want to talk about how people are like pennies. Yes, pennies.

See, I told you it would seem a bit strange. Allow me to explain...

I spent about 10 years after my divorce living single, alone, and working a job that didn't pay all that well, and no health insurance. One of my biggest frustrations was that I love, love, love to give presents, especially at Christmas, but there wasn't a lot of money during that period of time. What I decided to do was keep a big jar in my closet, and when I came in every evening, take the change out of my purse and put it in the jar. No matter what happened, I never touched that change until time for Christmas shopping. I was always truly amazed at how much a few cents here and a few cents there added up to.

Are you starting to see where I'm going? People and advocacy efforts are much like pennies in a jar. It's all cumulative. Every person one of us can educate about Migraine disease is one less person out there who "doesn't get it," who thinks Migraines are "just bad headaches," who gives us a hard time at work or doesn't understand why the chronic Migraineur next door hasn't left their house for six months, who feeds the stigma associated with Migraine. One less. And one more who can help spread the word. One more. And just like that change in my jar, it's amazing how quickly all of those people can add up.

AwarenessMonthContest166So, here's the question - How do we do that? How does that chronic Migraineur I just referred to who hasn't been able to leave her or his house for the last six months do that?

If we use our imaginations and creativity, we CAN answer that question. One of my goals for Migraine Awareness Month is go put together a list of some ways individuals can help raise awareness even if they're not well, ways that cost little or nothing. To do that, I'm having a contest on the HealthCentral Migraine community site. One of our readers there has already give us a great suggestion that I'll share with you here as an example of what I'm looking for:

How about changing our phone answering messages to include something brief and upbeat about June being Migraine Awareness Month? Something like,

"Hi, this is MJ, I'm out spreading the news that June is Migraine Awareness Month, but I'll get back to you soon, so leave me a message!"

Or, "Hi, this is MJ. It's June 14 and I'm inviting you to wear a purple ribbon along with me in support Migraine Awareness Month. Leave me a message!"

AwarenessContestPrizesTo enter the contest for a chance to win the prize package on the right, go to Enter Our Migraine Awareness Month Contest!

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny
 

Puz-only-btn

Get the latest Migraine and headache news, informational articles, tips for living well, and more in my free weekly newsletter. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.

Follow me on    or 

 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

© Teri Robert, 2012
Last updated June 15, 2012.


Migraine Awareness Month #12 "Let's Do The Monster Mash!"

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Today's prompt for the National Migraine Awareness Month is: 

Migraine Awareness Month #12 "Let's Do The Monster Mash!" Choose a movie monster that reminds you of your Migraines and tell us why.

While the song "The Monster Mash" is fun to listen and dance to, when I think of my Migraines I think of something more sinister. 

I call them The Beast

There are a lot of reasons why, but because I tend to think about them that way makes this post an easy one for me.  Two 1980's movie monsters together fit the bill here...

1.   Kurt Russell stars in an old creature feature called "The Thing".  In this horror flick, Mr. Russell's character is in an isolated Antarctic research facility when a friendly dog infected with an alien life form is chased into their compound.  The alien life form has taken over the dog, cell by cell replicating it and it actually only appears to be a dog.  When the dog is alone with the facility's other sled dogs, it begins killing and replicating the bodies of the dogs.  Soon, one by one, the life form perfectly takes over members of the crew.  No one trusts anyone, and for good reason.

When a Migraine is hitting me, I feel like that life form has taken me over.  I have to try very hard to remember who I am and act like me instead of acting out like my head and body makes me want to.  I don't want to attack those who are closest to me.  I don't want to hurt them.  But the nature of the beast in my brain makes controlling this really tough.

2.   The movie monster I think overall represents my Migraine beast the most comes from a series of movies that began with the film "Alien" starring Sigourney Weaver. 

If you're one of the 10 people on earth that haven't seen one of these, in this film the crew of a space ship goes to an asteroid and finds a large ship filled with eggs.  When a crew member comes near, the egg opens and a "face hugger" leaps out and attaches itself to his helmet. When he is found, the face hugger has used acid and eaten its way through the mask and has tightly attached itself to the crewman's face and neck.  It is planting an alien larvae down the throat and in the crewmember's stomach.   While at dinner, the matured larvae grows and while the crew holds the crew member, down it bursts out of his torso, killing him in agony.

Put one of these things inside my head, and you've about got what a Migraine feels like - something alive and pissed off and completely beyond my control is inside my brain trying to violently split my head open to come bursting out near my eye.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!

Ellen