By Kerrie Smyres | August 19, 2013
Migraineur: a person who has migraine (according to Merriam-Webster)
I use the term “migraineur” regularly to refer to people who have migraine. I’ve deliberately chosen “migraineur” over “migraine sufferer” in my writing because the latter makes us sound like victims, which I refuse to identify as. I also believe suffering is a state of mind and that one can have an illness without suffering from it. As the Buddhist wisdom says, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” — embracing that belief has been a life-affirming, empowering shift in my attitude toward chronic migraine’s role in my life.
Now I’ve learned from Am I a Migraineur? on the fabulous blog Migraine Monologues that “migraineur” has it’s own controversy. Some people believe that calling oneself a migraineur is tying a person’s identity to migraine. I had no idea it carried that connotation and, while I understand the argument, I don’t buy into it personally.
Maybe because I don’t really use migraineur as an identifier (I rarely say “I am a migraineur,” preferring “I have chronic migraine” instead), but to refer to someone or a group of people who have migraine — such as, “…anything that helps families better comprehend the plight of migraine is a boon to all migraineurs.” For me, “migraineur” is a less wordy way to say “people with migraine,” not an identity.
Or maybe I’m so opposed to “migraine sufferer” (and am not thrilled with “migraine patient”) that I have no room left to be offended by the alternatives!
What do you think? Do you have a preference for “migraineur,” “migraine sufferer,” “migraine patient,” “person with migraine,” or some other description?