Surviving Holiday Party Small Talk - “How Are You?”

The holiday season is well and truly here - a joyful time full of many festivities, parties, catch-ups, events and family reunions.

It can be the worst nightmare for a person with migraines.

Distant relatives, partner’s colleagues and long lost “friends” all want to know the same two basic questions: “How are you?” and “What do you do?”

So, how can you respond to these questions?

1. “I’m well.” This could be interpreted that you are a healthy individual without any cause for concern. However, what you probably mean is that in the scheme of things you are actually doing pretty well, you are out of bed today, the pain is manageable and things could really be a lot worse.

2. “I’m doing OK.” This could be taken that you have had your ups and downs (like most people) and are generally just cruising along. What’s really going through your head is that you actually feel OK at this moment. But if they were to ask you again 20 minutes after enduring standing at this party and making small talk, your answer may be very different.

3. “Actually, I feel like I have been hit by a truck!” Here you have chosen to lay all your cards on the table. You do feel like you have been hit by a truck. Just be prepared for the person you are speaking with to think you are a hypochondriac and watch them try to escape the conversation as fast as possible.

Once your migraines have been revealed, be prepared for the barrage of “advice:”

“I get headaches all the time, too!”

“Have you tried ____ diet. I hear that is good for headaches.”

“My great aunt had those. She was healed by ____ (insert drug/food/exercise/specialist of choice!)”

“I know a great alternative ____ (insert health care practitioner of choice)”

And with that, you smile sweetly, grit your teeth and make a choice: either exert your remaining energy for the evening on educating that individual about your illness with as much grace as you can muster, or excuse yourself and head to the nearest quiet area knowing this could be a very long night!

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