My father doesn't understand that this is a biological problem - not a mental one.

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My father doesn't understand that this is a biological problem - not a mental one.

Post by Laura on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:56 pm

My dad has asked the same question so many times. He just rewords it - but it is still the same: "Could your headaches be psychological?" - "Does the doctor think your headaches are related to your emotions?" - "Has the doctor suggested a relationship between your headaches beginning in 2004, and your brother's death in '03 and your divorce in '04?" ...Each time I try to answer his question. I have responded with statements such as: "I've seen a psychotherapist about that and no, the she does not think the pain is psychological." - "No, these headaches started in peri-menopause and the doctors think it began as a hormonal problem." - "I've asked the doctor if it is a psychological problem and she says 'No, it's a biological problem.' "

Even if it is a "mental" problem, asking me this question repeatedly doesn't help me to solve my problem. It just makes me feel like he doesn't listen to me. I love my dad. And I'm fortunate; he's in his early 80s and still is able to live independently. He pays his own bills and can still drive. But his memory does fail him at times. So, I like to think that he forgets that he has asked me this question before. But I'm growing impatient. I've been hearing it for years now. I know he loves me and he wants me to be well. But he does not accomplish anything positive by asking me this again and again. The fact that he is still asking me this question after so many years gets me downright angry sometimes - though I have never responded in anger to him.

I may have to be more assertive in my answer next time he brings this up. I'm thinking of saying, in a very neutral voice, something along the lines of: "Dad, I know you love me and you want to help. But you have asked me this question on many occasions. So I'll answer you this one last time. No, neither my doctors nor my therapist think that my headaches are psychological. They all believe I have a biological problem that medicine does not know how to solve yet. Please, now, I ask you to do me a favor. Please don't ask me this question again."

Have any of you dealt with a loved one who just doesn't get it? Were you able to resolve the issue or come to some kind of understanding?
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Laura

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Re: My father doesn't understand that this is a biological problem - not a mental one.

Post by pīwakawaka on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:18 pm

My wife sometimes accuses me of having a migraine to get out of doing something/going somewhere. She'll often off a list of important/special occasions where I wasn't able to attend due to a migraine. However, if one has 2 - 3 migraines per week lasting between 8 hours and several days, there's bound to to be many such times. No matter how often I remind her of all the occasions I get migraines when nothing is on - many times more than important events, she still complains to me and others that I "chose" to have a migraine. If migraines could be brought on by wishing it, then I'm sure they could be stopped the same way....

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Re: My father doesn't understand that this is a biological problem - not a mental one.

Post by Laura on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:25 pm

You are right. Just the law of averages means you are bound to miss some important occasion. Sometimes I think I should start pointing out to my boss or my friends every time I show up to work or to a social event with a migraine.

I've tried wishing them away. It hasn't worked yet. I'm wishing the one I have right now away - but I think just going to bed might work better.

Has any particular line of reasoning worked better with your wife to help her understand?


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Re: My father doesn't understand that this is a biological problem - not a mental one.

Post by pīwakawaka on Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:24 pm

When she's not frustrated by my condition, she appears to understand. But I'm not sure how much she really does. One recent thing that seems to have helped somewhat is that she recently was on Prozac for a short time. When she describe the adversed side effect that the medicine was having on her (she felt emotionally numb/empty and everything felt distant/unreal) and I explained that that is what I usually feel during a migraine, it seemed like a light went on in her head. At last she seemed to have something to relate to.

Time will tell whether it will have any long term effect on how she copes with the frustrations of living with a migraineur....

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Re: My father doesn't understand that this is a biological problem - not a mental one.

Post by pīwakawaka on Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:40 pm

Laura, Just after posting above, it occurred to me that if you could find something in your father's past that could in some way put himself in your shoes with regards to what you experience during a migraine, he may be more understanding.

Have you thought of possibly taking him to see your doctor specialist - even if you make a special appointment just so he can hear it first hand from the doctor. I suspect he will be more likely to remember that occasion than you explaining migraines to him a hundred times.

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