Dehenna Davison left struggling to get out of bed due to impact of chronic migraine

A Conservative MP has admitted that chronic migraine made it "feel impossible" to get out of bed some days.

Dehenna Davison, the MP for Bishop Auckland, quit her position as a levelling up minister last month due to the impact the condition was having on her role.

She has now spoken to ITV Tyne Tees about the day-to-day problems that it caused.

"Some days it can be so bad that getting out of bed feels impossible," Ms Davison explained. "You do it because you have to but even getting up to just get a glass of water from the kitchen or any bit of light is horrendous.

"I get really bad light sensitivity, so a chink in the curtains or opening the fridge light is horrendous and makes the pain even worse.

"But the thing that I find most frustrating is a brain fog and this sense of confusion where you can't quite concentrate in the right way. You can't quite pull your thoughts together, and as a politician, you can't pull your words together sometimes. Which is a pretty important part of the job really."

Dehenna Davison in Parliament.

The 30-year-old has been praised by migraine awareness charities for her actions, helping to highlight the issue, especially the impact it can have in the workplace.

"We are really grateful to Dehenna for talking about migraines so openly," Robert Music, Chief Executive of the Migraine Trust said. "Because that's one of the things we don't see enough of and it's about getting a conversation going and that's really important.

"Around one and three who came to us recently talking about their workplace experience had to go from full-time to part-time time and a similar number had to give up their job altogether. So it's huge."

Ms Davison was elected in 2019 at the age of 26 and was widely considered to be one of the rising stars of the Conservative party. However, she will not be standing in the next election after announcing her decision to step away from the frontline of politics last year.

She admits her condition was in her thoughts when she made her decision but stressed the biggest determining factor was wanting to live a more "normal" life.

"A huge range of reasons really," she said when asked if it was why she decided to quit Parliament. "It was in my mind but right throughout my 20s, it's not been a normal life

"Just reflecting in recent years about the scrutiny, the fact that you are always mindful that you're in the public eye, and in your 20s you should be thinking about going on nights out with your pals and whatever, and I'm always a bit reserved on those sorts of things.

"As I was getting towards 30, I thought 'do I want that same life right throughout my 30s, or do I want to step away?' and try and step back and experience a bit of normality, and just give my family and friends more time."

What is chronic migraine?

A chronic migraine is when someone has 15 headache days a month and eight of them include migraine symptoms, and it lasts for three months. It can have a significant impact of quality of life and make it difficult for people to live their daily lives- whether that’s work, relationships or social life.

Headaches are the key symptom and are normally coupled with pain on one side of the head. Other symptoms can include sight problems, being very sensitive to light, sounds and smells, fatigue, feeling sick or actually being sick.

It’s estimated that there are 10 million people in the United Kingdom that live with migraine and there’s around 1 million people that live with chronic migraine.

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