Surviving University When You Suffer With Migraines

University is hard enough as it is. Throw migraines into the mix and it becomes a whole other ball game. Forget trying to organise your work so that you can meet your deadlines on time. If you suffer with migraines you can be the best planner on campus and still find yourself in trouble. You may have a carefully mapped out work timetable, but throw in a migraine attack that lasts multiple days and you can still end up in a massive rush to get everything finished in time through no fault of your own. However, there are things migraine sufferers can do to help make life at university smoother.

Students studying in college library

You can apply for disabled student’s allowance. This is funding which is allocated to those with disabilities (of which many types of migraine have been classified as since 2010) so that they can purchase specialist kit that will help them on their courses. If you suffer from migraines this could include things such as a screen filter for your computer, a Dictaphone (so you don’t need to spend so long looking at a computer screen to make notes), a track pad, or even a coloured lamp (some sufferers find that certain colours of light reduce their migraine frequency – in scientific studies, green light has been found to reduce migraine pain).

You can also, and should also, tell student services that you suffer from migraines. If you let the university know that you may need extensions on coursework or different arrangements for exams (sitting an exam is hard enough as it is, let alone while you’re having a migraine) before the event arises they’re far more likely to be able to help and have contingencies in place for your time of need.

Identify your escape route. If a migraine hits when you’re at university, where will you go? Is there a quiet, dark space which you can go to? Are your seminar rooms close enough to your accommodation for you to get home before an attack reaches its critical point? Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Sign up with a local doctor as soon as possible. If you need to switch medications, or your migraines change in any way or need monitoring over time, then you’ll want to have a GP you can call on. It might also be an idea to book an appointment with them for soon after you first arrive at uni so that you can tell them about your condition and discuss any changes that you might need to make. You never know, they might also have some suggestions for migraine treatment that your doctor at home didn’t.

Don’t be afraid to tell your housemates. If you mention that you suffer from migraines before you get a migraine then your housemates will know what to do in the event of an attack, and, if you bring it up in casual conversation, there’s no need for it to be a big bombshell; it’s just another part of all getting to know each other.

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