WikiHow Reinforces Migraine Stigma: Please Act Now!

As you might well imagine, blogging and all my advocacy-related projects have been on hold since Harper was born in late June. I hate that I’ve been away from everything for so long, but it is what it is. This is a special time with my precious girl, and I’ll be back when she’s a little bit bigger.

In the meantime, there’s a very important action alert I’d like to bring to your attention.

I’ll leave it to others to explain in more detail (a good blog post is linked below), but in a nutshell there is an article on a site called WikiHow titled “How to Fake a Migraine Successfully”. I hope it’s abundantly clear the ways in which such an article reinforces many common misconceptions about Migraine Disease.

Too many Migraineurs are accused of faking it or exaggerating their symptoms to get out of going to work or school. Anyone who comes across this article may be tempted to conclude they’ve been right in assuming we’re full of it when we can’t make it to school or work or when we have to cancel a social engagement at the last minute. (This particular article is about faking a Migraine to get out of going to school, but could just as easily apply to work or social engagements, really.)

In the largest study of Migraine-related stigma ever conducted and the first in the United States, researchers found Migraineurs are subject to a high level of stigmatization and discrimination as a result of living with the condition.

Stigmatization is important for many reasons, including:
The lack of adequate research funding that results from stigmatization of a condition. Since Migraine is not perceived as serious or life changing, policy makers see little need to allocate more money toward research despite the far reaching and devastating impact of the disease.
The impact on career and employment opportunities.
The impact on social relationships with family members and friends.
The way the stigma we impose on ourselves as Migraineurs (called internalized stigma) impacts the way we treat ourselves and hinders our ability to cope with this difficult condition.
My colleague Teri Robert has written a very good blog post for Health Central about this situation that outlines the issue and provides all the information you need to know to speak out to help us get this issue addressed.

How to Fake a Migraine Successfully: Another Wiki Problem

WikiHow IS starting to take action to address the concerns of those who’ve contacted WikiHow founder Jack Herrick via email. So far they’ve changed the article such that it can only be seen online if one has the URL for it. Searching for it will not bring it up in search engines. But we need to keep pressing to be sure the article is completely removed from the site. It’s the right thing for them to do.

Content by Diana E. Lee.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.