Migraine in the Workplace- For Employers
An excerpt from the Migraine Ireland, Migraine in the Workplace- For Employers, written by DNM.
Migraine in the workplace is a huge issue! People living with migraine find that many of their colleagues or employers do not understand that it is a complex neurological condition and a real medical condition, just like diabetes, epilepsy, or asthma. In fact, it is more prevalent than all three of these conditions put together.
Migraine is particularly hard to understand for people who have no experience of it because it is invisible, with no obvious signs of discomfort, and those with migraine can appear perfectly fine between attacks. […]
The workplace can be a minefield for a migraineur, especially in an office environment, where everywhere they turn there is a potential trigger, be it fluorescent lights, overpowering perfume/cologne, long periods in front of a computer screen, loud noises from machinery, air conditioning, or lack thereof. It can be overwhelming.
For a person with migraine to ask colleagues to help by not doing something or changing something in the office is a daunting prospect as they first need to tell them that they have migraine, then must try to explain that it is not just a headache, they are not taking the mick, and they’re not looking for time off. Then they might have to go through all the other symptoms to explain it better, after which, they must wait and see if their colleagues accept it, understand it and are willing to help, or if they will just brush them off and tell them to get on with it!
It is a bit easier if the person works in a small office with a few close colleagues who know them well and understand, but if they work in a large office with a high volume of staff then it could be easily overlooked with less compassion shown especially as they may need to stop doing something that they like, such as wearing their favourite perfume/cologne every day or having the radio on during work.