Written by Judith Flanagan (United Advocacy Australia) for Chronic Migraine Awareness Inc.
This year I am turning 41 years old, and I have lived with migraine for thirty-four of those years. As you can imagine, migraine has most definitely affected my mental health. It has definitely affected my ability to spend long hours working and participating in other activities throughout my life. I have lived with anxiety since I was thirteen and I attribute that to migraine, which I have lived with since 1987. Migraine was the first condition I was diagnosed with and I now live with other conditions and comorbidities. I have no doubt in my mind that living with migraine for all these years has had a major impact on my brain and lead up to my comorbidities. It has affected my memory and probably my mood at various times which in turn caused my mental health to decline.
Some of the mental comorbidities I have lived with include agoraphobia, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and stress disorder. I have tried many treatments that include, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness Therapy. I have also participated in online self-help programs. Russ Harris offers free workshops that go hand in hand with his book The Happiness Trap, which I consider an exceptionally good resource.
I would like to thank CMA, Inc. for the opportunity to share my story because talking about mental health helps end stigma and there is no shame in talking about it.