Social media often gets a bad rap for displaying unrealistic ideals and warping the minds of the younger generations. Though it has its downfalls, social media can be utilized as a powerful tool to amplify our voices and build communities of people who are on similar journeys.
When you live with a debilitating condition like headache or migraine disease, it can be hard to find people in your circle who empathize with you. When it feels like no one understands, isolation and loneliness can quickly creep in. Migraine and headache attacks can cause us to continually decline invitations or cancel plans, but social media allows us to be present in a different way.
With a quick search of “migraine and headache community” on Facebook, you can find dozens of educational and support groups filled with people who can relate to your journey. Not only will you find an abundance of general migraine or headache communities, but there are also many specific groups that may be relevant to you, such as cluster, vestibular, hemiplegic, treatment support, emotional support and more! Even if there’s something that makes your situation unique, you are bound to find people who understand your experience more than most people in your everyday life. Remember, social media gives you access to people around the world, making your chances of finding someone you identify with much more likely!
Tip 1: Search relevant hashtags to find people like you to connect with
Tip 2: Test out multiple communities to find best-fit groups for you
For many, social media has become their main outlet for receiving news. New information on treatments, causes, symptoms, triggers, etc. is being shared all over social media daily. If you follow the right sources, you’ll have no problem staying up-to-date on the condition you live with!
Of course, this aspect of social media can be good or bad. There is an abundance of high-quality science-based information, but there is also a lot of misinformation out there. Luckily, you can combat the misinformation and misconceptions by amplifying your voice.
Tip 1: Follow profiles that are known for sharing reputable news and educational materials
Tip 2: If you see misinformation, call it out! Misinformation can lead to stigma and can have other negative effects
Tip 3: Share the fact-based information you see so you can help educate others
Amplifying Your Voice
Social media can be whatever you make it. Some choose to use it as a way to stay in touch with friends from afar while others use it as a public journal of sorts. It can also be a way to share what’s on your mind and bring new perspectives to public issues.
You may rarely get the chance to share your beliefs with hundreds or even thousands of people, but you can do it daily on social media through your posts or commenting on others. Even if a few people are reading your posts, it can be empowering to write down and share your experiences. If only one person reads your post it just may be someone whose perspective you’ve changed or a person who was searching for the inspiration they needed to get through their day. That impact is priceless!
The ability to amplify your voice is potentially one of the most powerful benefits of social media if used properly. It’s the reason why public issues have been getting more attention than ever before and it’s how a topic can go viral in an instant!
Tip 1: Be kind and honest; your words and story can impact people more than you know
Tip 2: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a lot of followers or choose not to engage much, letting your thoughts become posts can be therapeutic in and of itself
When we see all the ways social media can impact our lives as people living with headache and migraine, it can start to be used as a vehicle for raising awareness, building community and staying informed!
by Melissa Calise
Association of Migraine Disorders