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020: Depression, Anxiety, Digestive Issues, & Chronic Migraines with Alison Yate

Uninvisible Pod

020: Depression, Anxiety, Digestive Issues, & Chronic Migraines with Alison Yate

Alison Yates is a multi-hyphenate creative living in Los Angeles. A comedienne and actor, producer, writer, photographer, social media manager, website designer, and skincare consultant (phew!), she performs sketch and…
May 1, 2019
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CNS Summit

020: Depression, Anxiety, Digestive Issues, & Chronic Migraines with Alison Yate

Alison Yates is a multi-hyphenate creative living in Los Angeles. A comedienne and actor, producer, writer, photographer, social media manager, website designer, and skincare consultant (phew!), she performs sketch and comedy regularly with Second City and the Groundlings, and has a production company called The People Zoo. She’s been featured on several TV shows, including Jane the Virgin and Mom. She’s lived with migraines since she was 6 years old, and depression and anxiety since she was 15; she very clearly sees the direct link between her migraines and her mental health symptoms.

Listen in as Alison shares… 

– when she had her first migraine (aged 6), and that she sees a genetic link in her family 

– that she also has digestive issues associated with her migraines and emotional wellbeing, and as such is always aware of the location of the nearest bathroom 

– that her digestive issues are currently undiagnosed (have been diagnosed as IBS in the past), but she manages her symptoms with dietary restrictions 

– how her migraines come on and manifest 

– treatments she’s tried to manage her migraine symptoms: pharmaceuticals (including Imitrex, Cymbalta, and Aimovig), marijuana and CBD, sleep, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, Botox, daith piercing, yoga, meditation, and dietary changes 

– that many migraine medications also have an antidepressant effect 

– that women are more prone to migraines than men 

– that her entire life is designed around her migraines 

– that there is a cause and effect for every migraine, and her migraines are easily triggered by bright lights and spinal re-alignment (especially Alexander Technique and chiropractic) 

– that she sees a direct link between her migraines and depression/anxiety 

– that she overdosed on her migraine meds when she was 18 

– that she struggled to access Aimovig (monthly migraine medication) for 5 months, and finally got it 

– that she’s gone through at least 15 medical practitioners and medical practices in an effort to control her symptoms 

– that she experiences numbness after her aura – very similarly to stroke patients; sometimes she can’t distinguish whether she’s having a stroke or a migraine 

– that she’s at a higher risk for stroke because of her migraines 

– that she has learned to be her own health advocate 

– that she makes occasional visits to the ER for morphine if her pain is off the charts 

– that her migraines have wrecked her financial life and spiraled her into debt – between specialists, insurance costs, and surgeries 

– the guilt she feels when canceling plans when she has a migraine coming on, and the gender divide on guilt and responsibility toward others 

– that remote work has been essential to her earning capacity because she can’t work 9-5 

– that she’s created her own community of migraine survivors through social media 

– that, while social media can be helpful in terms of building community, it can also be incredibly alienating 

– that it’s much easier to talk publicly about her migraines than it is for her to address her anxiety and depression 

– that migraines have given her some agoraphobia and social anxiety 

– that she was told early on by friends that her “feelings were too big”, so she retreated into herself and her comedy is drawn from an accordingly deadpan style 

– that acting has been a productive outlet for her depression 

– the prevalence of mental illness in the entertainment industry 

– that trying to “be better” is exasperating 

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