In our latest interview, written by the amazing Tara, we spoke to Khorey. She introduced us to two prominent, crucial subjects that impact her daily life. These include the homophobia and miseducation that is apparent in some areas of her home-state of Montana.
Question One: Hi, Khorey! Thank you so much for enlightening us with your passion on two very distinct yet eye-opening subjects! Firstly, when did you begin to notice the homophobia and miseducation lingering throughout certain areas of Montana?
I am not exactly sure when I noticed, but I would say from a pretty young age. Around 10 probably, or maybe even earlier. Some of the older folks I’ve been around have always made homophobic remarks, and I remember even when I was that young, it rubbed me the wrong way.
Question Two: You’d mentioned that ‘..in other parts [of Montana] though, people are very accepting, and it’s a welcoming environment for anyone..’ Why do you think there is so much of a contrast between different areas of your state? Do different factors play into the difference in the communities’ political attitudes, beliefs, etc.?
I am from the southern part of the state and live around the Billings area (most populated city in the state), and this is where I tend to find a lot of homophobia. I don’t know why, but people around this area of the state and in the west tend to have a very tarnished view of lgbqt+ people. I think it’s just how they were raised. However, if you were to go to Bozeman or Missoula (they lie toward the eastern side of the stage) you would find there tends to be more welcoming communities. To me, this is probably happening because there are a lot more of the younger generations in those two towns, compared to Billings, which has a lot more of the older generations, who are very conservative and such.
Question Three: If comfortable sharing, based on Montana’s current situations and history, what do you think the majority state-wide election results and turnout will look like?
A lot of the people around where I live are very supportive of Trump, while in the Bozeman or Missoula areas, they would lean away from supporting him. I think a majority of the state is going for Trump though. I’m not majorly into politics myself, though I try to stay educated, but I don’t like to argue heavily with people, so I try not to being that into conversations. Basically, I am not 100% sure on where the state stands as a whole, but from what I can tell, the majority is going for Trump.
Question Four: Let’s switch gears to your other subject-matter. Even if this may not apply to you, why is it important to believe and respect people who self-diagnose themselves after extensive research and listening to professionals? (i.e those who aren’t able to afford a diagnosis, don’t have insurance, etc.)
It’s important because while a slim percentage of people may be faking an illness, most are not, and if they explain they have an illness or impairment to you, it’s because they trust you. You should always believe someone if they come to you and say they think/know they have a disease or illness, and you should take it seriously. Here in Montana, people don’t always seek medical attention when they are injured, because of the cost, but also because there is a bit of a stigma. The older generations here tend to say “Just walk it off,” and that applies to both physical and mental illnesses. Suicide rates are very high here, and a lot of that is caused by the stigma around seeking help. (It’s also because we are such a reclusive state and spread out, and don’t have a huge variety of activities to do sometimes).
Question Five: How have you coped during the three years that you’ve lived with this undiagnosed migraine condition?
It’s been really hard. I didn’t actually finish 8th grade because of them. (We had major issues with teachers and the school, because I missed so much school. I won’t go into too much detail but it was a very stressful period in my life). That whole school year I struggled with not only students and teachers acting as if I was faking the migraines, but my family as well. I can’t tell you how many times they told me it was all on my head, and that I was giving myself them. If I’m honest, I fell into a depression partially because of it, but other factors played into it as well. Medications do not really help—though I have found that Advil migraine and some other medicine taken together will dull the pain, but only sometimes. I have been in the hospital I think 7 times or more for them too, but I haven’t been since like early 2019. For the first 6 times or so I would go in, they’d give me a cocktail of medicines, and I always felt so drugged up. I hardly remember any of it. I always had issues with my IVs and I was actually allergic to one of the medicines, and they didn’t even realise until that 6th time. Least to say, I hate going into the doctor’s office, so that’s hard to deal with when I have to just simply go in for a checkup. My coping strategies have been to stay close to friends, and find happiness in things I really enjoy. I love listening to music, and I love drawing and writing, so I try to do that, but it’s hard to when I need light for all that (my migraines are heavily triggered by lights). I don’t talk to my family much about it, besides my sister, because she too has them, but like I said, I keep friends close, so I talk with them through it. They may not always know how to help, but simply just venting to them really helps.
Question Six: How do you respond to people that refuse to believe your perpetual migraine experiences?
It’s really hard for me to respond. A lot of the time I’m usually shocked at first, but then I end up ignoring them. This sounds awful, but a majority of the time people aren’t convinced they are real until the pain gets so unbearable that I begin to cry. I don’t want to cry in front of someone/a group of people, but when the pain gets so bad, I can’t help it. It’s interesting though, because I have found that children and younger people around my age (16) tend to understand and believe me before adults do.
Question Seven: Thank you so much for getting involved, Khorey! It was a pleasure to hear from you. Who has been your biggest support system through the realizations you’ve come to about your state and migraines?
Big support systems I suppose would be my friends, some of my family, and my idols. Music has kept me happy, and singers like Troye Sivan and Harry Styles have really helped me stay sane through this all. They remind me to use my voice, listen to my heart, and be myself. Various artists and content creators on YouTube and Instagram help me a lot to in similar ways. Since my sister also suffers from migraines, it sometimes really helps when she relates to me to an extent about it (she gets one at least every week I think). My friends, who unfortunately are mostly across the internet, have helped me through it over the years as well. Overall, I just do things that I enjoy, try my best to push through the migraines and educate others about health related issues, like chronic migraines. As well as that, I also try to educate older folks and fellow young people I am around about some of the offensive views they have.