Retreating into quiet and dark spaces
Valerie Barogiannis has lived with migraine for decades, but it wasn’t until recently that she found her migraine voice. A Montreal resident who works in business technology at Lundbeck, Valerie experienced her first migraine with aura, or visual disturbance, when she was 21 years old. Since then, migraine has been a regular presence in her life, but she kept her experience mostly private, retreating into quiet and dark spaces to manage her migraine attacks alone.
Lately, though, Valerie has found strength in speaking more openly about her disease and sharing details of her migraine journey with a broader network of friends and colleagues.
“My close entourage has always known I have migraine, but I don’t think even they understand the depth and impact it has, above and beyond headache,” she says.
Valerie now shares her story to help people understand not just her personal experience, but migraine disease more broadly. With migraine affecting an estimated 1 billion people worldwide,1 chances are most people know someone living with migraine; and chances are, most don’t fully understand the full impact of the disease, Valerie says.
“The less we speak about it, the more people don’t understand,” she explains. “In the past, I would often push through an attack, smile plastered on my face, to avoid hearing things like ‘not again!’, ‘did you take some aspirin?’ Now, I take the opportunity to educate instead of masking.”