Sarah Rathsack’s Advocacy Story
Sarah Rathsack’s Advocacy Story is written and told by Sarah Rathsack and edited by Miles for Migraine team. Miles for Migraine’s Advocacy Stories highlights the many different ways that health advocacy shows up as individuals advocate for themselves and others. This project is not limited to migraine and other headache disorders, nor is it limited to individuals that personally experience a health condition. You can read more from Sarah at My Migraine Life and social.
Sarah Rathsack’s Advocacy Story
On a Saturday evening, while attending a wedding with my husband, I had an all too familiar migraine, as he mingled and socialized with friends and co-workers. I was feeling quite alone but put on my brave face. Soon, the wife of a co-worker greeted me and asked what I did for a living. I explained to her that I write a migraine blog. Her face softened and she said she would love to hear about it. Her own husband, she said, did not understand her migraine attacks and did not believe the severe pain to be real.
My new friend began to tell me a story about the last wedding she and her husband attended. She said she developed a severe migraine and slept in their car, while her husband remained at the party. He had not considered her pain to be severe enough for them to leave the wedding and return home. She and I ended up chatting and sharing experiences all evening. Later, she told her husband about the migraine blog I write and my husband explained to them, ways in which he is able to support me and my work.
Sarah’s Story Made a Difference
It was an eye-opening night for all of us regarding the stigma of migraine. By sharing our stories, the wife no longer felt alone with her pain. In fact, every day, millions of people fight debilitating migraine pain. Because of our conversation, she no longer believed her migraine was something she had to hide. She told me how much better she felt after telling her story. The evening that had started for me with migraine pain and dread of meaningless conversations, became an evening of making new friends and sharing experiences. We all left the party feeling better than when we arrived.
Tell your Advocacy Story
Do you have an advocacy story to tell? What is one of the most memorable advocacy experiences in your headache disease journey/daily life? Try to recall a time when you practiced advocacy. Perhaps you shared your story, posted on social media, or attended an advocacy event such as Headache on the Hill or a Miles for Migraine event. Looking back on that experience, what did you notice? Did you experience a negative moment such as shame, stigma, or a positive moment such as joy, hope, or relief? If there was conflict, did you resolve it or was it a conflict that still affects you today? If the outcome was positive, how did that make you feel? Did the outcome cause you to advocate again for yourself? How has your most memorable story shaped you today? There is no right or wrong way to share your story.
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