Written by Kristen Estep for Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc.

I would like to start by saying that I hope you are not quarantined, but if you are there are some lessons you can learn from the invisible illness community.  We are experts on self quarantine, this is our lives.  I’ll let you in on some coping strategies that I find very helpful.

  • With every cancellation, you feel a little less connected.  Most things are easily rescheduled, just reach out and ask.  Use your technology, we are lucky to be in this time where we can skype, facetime or messenger each other.  If you are sick, texting works also.
  • With every missed day of work, your self worth diminishes.  Since we define ourselves by our jobs, when that is taken away from you, you may feel lost.  So, find some jobs at your home that you have been meaning to accomplish for years and complete them.  You could even write out a schedule to keep yourself on point.  Doing this will help you feel as though you have a purpose.  For me, when I’m housebound I spend my time writing and creating graphics, this is my purpose when I can’t work.
  • When you can’t leave your house, now what?  I have learned that there are so many services that will deliver to your home, or where you can order and pick up from the comfort of your car.  So, don’t freak out if you can’t leave your house!  For me, personally, Amazon is my best friend!  I am also thinking about putting a plastic container with a lid out for deliveries to be put in.  This will help with no contact and keeping your packages concealed.
  • You don’t have an income coming in.  This one I am newer with, but I have discovered that there are plenty of companies that hire remotely.  A lot of them do not pay a whole lot and don’t come with employer sponsored insurance, so you really have to look around and apply to a lot of jobs.  Don’t let your job loss whether it is from Covid-19 or due to disability, define you.  You will get through this!

I never thought that being housebound with chronic intractable migraine would give me some useful skills and coping mechanisms.  I still can have contact with the world outside when I’m stuck in the house, it’s just different now.  I try to stay positive for the most part, but sometimes it is hard to do.  I’m sure some of you who have not ever been confined to your homes are having this difficulty too.  Just know that for you it will end and you will get your life back.  For the invisible illness community, this is our life we don’t get a reprieve from it.  Can you try to imagine that?  I hope that it never happens to you. 

I also use many coping mechanisms for distraction.  Music, this is a big one that I use  and my choice depends on my pain level, I have pretty much all genres of music on my play list.  I also scroll mindlessly on social media (it’s a nice way to see people when you can’t get out).  I love listening to my Audible books too.  The TV is another distraction, although too much makes me lazy.  I also like to meditate, it helps calm the mind.  I also write, which I just started doing about a year ago, I find it very cathartic.  In the spring and summer, if my pain is low enough, I enjoy gardening.

I hope that some of what I’ve said you find helpful.  We are in uncharted waters right now and there are so many people who are not going to know how to handle this.  Our migraine and invisible illness communities can help out.  Help the people who have doubted you.  Help the people who have excluded you.  Help those who have been less than nice to you.  Don’t be bitter.  Put that good karma out there, this is our time to shine.

*Disclaimer* This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding migraine and headache disease and all medical conditions.

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