Why I'm Unapologetic About My Chronic Illness

8:22 PM chronicmigraineellie 4 Comments

When I first got sick, I was ashamed to talk about my illness. It was hard for me to ask for help, and I felt like I was inconveniencing everyone around me. It's been about 5 years since I first started getting migraines, about 3 years since they became chronic. I used to apologize for having to ask for accommodations, or for substituting something that I can't eat at a restaurant. Maybe I'm just growing up, but I've realized that I needed to stop apologizing. I never asked to have a chronic illness. I never wanted to live my life with the uncertainty that I may not be able to make plans or live my life the way that I want to. Yet that's what happens with chronic illnesses- no one asks for it, but it's something that we have to learn how to deal with. It's  like riding a bike- except for the fact that your bike has a flat front tire making it impossible to control. Every step of the way is bumpy, even when your life seems to be sailing a little bit smoother.

So why was I apologizing for something that I didn't even have control of? First of all, I'm a chronic apologizer. I even apologize to inanimate objects when I bump into them. "Sorry" became a filler word for me. When asking a question, I would start with "Sorry," instead of "Excuse me" or the question itself. "Sorry" became a word synonymous with distancing myself from my illness, adding shame to requests that were perfectly reasonable.

Once I realized what I was doing, it was easy to change my attitude. There is no reason why I should be ashamed or embarrassed about my illness. It is as much a part of me as my passions and interests. I always felt that I had to apologize because I was "different."  I said "sorry" because my case was difficult and seemed to have no concrete, long-term solutions.  I had to learn how to deal with doctors, insurance companies, and medication side effects for a misunderstood illness that still needs a great amount of research to be fully understood. I was never a textbook case, nor will I probable ever be (ex. my blood clot). Now, I don't say "sorry." I talk to doctors about my case calmly and clearly, because I have nothing to be afraid of or "sorry" about. I've already been through the worst.

By not saying "sorry," I'm taking control of my illness. To say it clearly, I'm living my life instead of apologizing for letting my chronic migraines make my life decisions. Chronic migraines don't define me. They don't define my passions, my hopes and my dreams. Rather, they've helped me to see how strong and resilient I am, what my body has endured and how I've come out okay. If I never got sick, I would not be doing what I am today. I would not be writing this blog, or working to raise awareness about chronic and invisible illnesses. So no, I'm not sorry. Even though my life has been a rollercoaster with no end in sight, it's made me into who I am. I am a headstrong, passionate girl who doesn't eat gluten, tyramine or soy and is set on changing the world.

As always, have an amazing migraine-free week.


  1. Good for you!! How did you determine that gluten, tyramine and soy are triggers for your migraines?

    1. Hi Lynn! It was a lot of trial and error, I found out about tyramine when I made a sandwich with smoked gouda and got a migraine within 5 minutes, the same thing happened with sesame oil which also contains tyramine. With soy, it was basically the same thing, where I would get migraines if I ate anything with soy in it. Gluten was a bit more difficult. I was in denial for about a year that I was gluten intolerant, but when I would eat gluten, I would get migraine-like symptoms and brain fog and have to go lay down for 3-4 hours. Sometimes I would get full-on migraines because of eating gluten, and even extreme nausea, sometimes even throwing up. I went completely gluten free a year and a half ago, and since then there's been a slight decrease in my migraines, and I've been feeling a lot healthier overall!

      Feel free to contact me on my facebook page or through twitter if you have any further questions!

  2. Hi Ellie, I stumbled across this post and am so glad I did!

    I too am a chronic migraine sufferer, and I am absolutely living for these words you said --

    'By not saying "sorry," I'm taking control of my illness. To say it clearly, I'm living my life instead of apologizing for letting my chronic migraines make my life decisions. Chronic migraines don't define me. They don't define my passions, my hopes and my dreams.'

    I too had spent far too long apologising, especially to doctors who didn't believe everything I was telling them. And like you said, we have nothing to be sorry for!

    Again, great post!
    Sophie :)

  3. The medication for migraine is called RIZATRIPTAN 10mg or LYOPHILISATE max melt 10mg. You put it under the tongue and 5 MINUTES LATER is GONE!!!!
    You can spend the rest of your life trying to sort it out by any other mean, like food, lifestyle etc. Live your life instead! Migraine is just a blip in the cirtuit. Good luck!!