We first learned about Kerrie Smyres as a contributor to Migraine.com, an all-encompassing online community and resource for individuals suffering from migraine headaches. Kerrie shares much of her backstory on her About Me page at her personal blog, The Daily Headache. Now in her late 30s, she began to suffer from chronic migraine and other headache pain more than 25 years ago. Eventually the pain became so all-encompassing that she was forced to quit work. Still wanting a creative outlet, she started her personal blog to explore what life was like for someone living with a chronic pain condition.
She started The Daily Headache in 2005 and became a contributor to Migraine.com in 2011. She also does other freelance work.
She is currently living in Phoenix, Arizona after other areas of the country proved to harbor weather patterns that were major migraine triggers. She found the mild, consistent weather in Arizona to be better for her condition. She is has been able to build a personal network of family and friends and now experiences reduced migraine pain. Besides writing, she also enjoys baking, traveling, yoga, reading, baseball, and crafting.
Intro to the Daily Headache
Kerrie Smyres has a strong personality and her passion about her writing comes through her words on the screen. Let’s take a quick look at some of the work she’s done over the years.
What initially caught our eye in early June was a well-written and researched piece on working while experiencing chronic pain. It provides plenty of real world advice and resources that anyone can use to help them earn a living while they’re also battling near-constant pain. She shares details about the book Women, Work, and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working Girlfriend and freelance resources for work from home jobs such as Flexjobs and Rat Race Rebellion. We loved how honest and practical this post was and we are happy to share her advice.
In March, Kerrie Smyres shared some information about a new treatment technique using transcranial magnetic stimulation. The post was brief but shared studies on the success the treatment was having in early clinical trials. She also shared information about when it might be available to the public.
Another post earlier this year cataloged some of the more unusual symptoms of migraine headaches. She discussed many of the symptoms that she has experienced over the years that are either so common that she doesn’t even think about them anymore or things that most people don’t associate with migraine pain. The list was incredibly informative and it is helpful for both doctors and other patients to hear the inside story from someone actually experiencing these symptoms.
Many of her symptoms included:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Sensitivity to exercise
- Heat intolerance
There were many more on the list. Most people wouldn’t consider these things specifically migraine-related but understanding the correlation and how they happen when migraine triggers are present could help someone better understand their own body and the way it reacts to this type of head pain.
We also love that Kerrie Smyres often chooses to focus on the positive. Yes, chronic migraine pain is not easy to live with but rather than dwelling on that pain, she takes the time to write about the way she beats it to accomplish her goals. In the blog post titled “Doing the Impossible with Chronic Illness,” Kerrie shares her thoughts on things that went well in 2014. In a moment of self-reflection she recognizes the good that she does by providing a resource for the migraine community. When she is having a bad day, she can think about how she has literally changed lives for the better.
Migraine.com contributions and community
Kerrie Smyres also works with a great resource that reaches more people than her individual blog. Migraine.com is one of the leading online communities and resources for people living with the pain of chronic migraine headaches.
Through her years of writing experience, Kerrie has become a voice for those who feel like their message often goes unheard not only by the medical community but by all the people around them.
She shares information about photophobia, which is one of the most common symptoms of migraine headaches but is often ignored or dismissed. Classifying it is a phobia automatically makes it feel less like a symptom and more like a personal issue. But it is a very real problem for so many people who deal with chronic migraine pain. In this post she share the real facts of photophobia and how it affects migraine patients without talking down.
Speaking of the dismissive nature of our culture when it comes to migraine headaches, Kerrie Smyres broaches that topic in this blog post. She poses questions that we feel are very important when it comes to disabilities that are considered invisible.
“Migraine has rendered my life and my personality nearly unrecognizable. To say it has wreaked havoc on my life is the understatement of the century. This is an experience familiar to many people who have migraine. Yet, also like so many others with migraine, I’m wary to tell anyone about the devastation because the response is so often: ‘What’s the big deal, it’s just a headache?’ or ‘Take an aspirin and get over it.’ Most of the time, this makes me feel isolated and sad, but sometimes I get angry. During a recent bout of fury, I wondered how the general public’s understanding of a disease could be so radically different from the reality of people who live with it.”
Kerrie has made another huge contribution to the migraine community, but one she doesn’t shout from the rooftops. She is the co-founder of a company called TheraSpecs, a product designed to help migraine patients deal with the effects of photophobia.
You can get involved in Kerrie Smyres’ community by following her on Migraine.com and reading and participating on her personal blog.
Who are your favorite migraine pain bloggers?
Image by Andy Piper via Flickr