Chronic migraines are an ever-changing struggle. I have good days in a row, and I start to feel almost “normal.” And then I have bad day after bad day that has me wondering, “will I EVER feel that normalcy again?”
Up and down on the pain rollercoaster.
This week, I had an appointment with my neurologist to discuss treatment options.
I’ve been seeing the same doc for years… and he just seems kinda… lost. I’m a hard case, because most of the things we tried have actually made me worse. And none have really helped.
I had to ask for a referral. I am LONG overdue for seeing a new doctor. I need a MIGRAINE SPECIALIST, not just a neurologist.
I know my neuro wants to help, but at this point, I need another opinion.
SO *fingers crossed*… I’m waiting for insurance approval, and then I can set up an appointment.
Such is the life.
The difference between then and now is MINDSET.
Are migraines happening to me? Or are migraines happening for me?
As humans, our nature is to avoid pain. If we touch a hot stove, we burn our hand. So next time, we check the stove first to see if it is hot, in order to avoid pain.
What happens when we experience pain that isn’t so clear cut, like a migraine? What happens when migraine pain (and the full body experience that comes with migraine) seems to come out of nowhere?
For me, I started to feel fear, anxiety and paranoia. … around anything and everything. And as soon as I felt that pain, I wanted it to go away. Because I hate pain SO MUCH!
But little by little, I am trying to change this mindset that I’ve had for so many years. I am trying to experience migraines in a new way: with a mindset of curiosity, not fear.
Migraine, what are you trying to tell me? What are you trying to protect me from?
Migraine, am I being loving toward myself enough? Am I taking care of myself lately?
Am I connecting with my spiritual side, or putting it off?
Am I connecting with friends and family?
Am I giving back in any way to the world around me?
Am I doing the things I love each day, that move me toward joy and fulfillment, that make me feel alive?
Am I keeping a Gratitude list and feeling thankful for all of the things I have?
Practice makes perfect progress!
Whether I experience the pain of migraines or not, that is not the point right now.
Each day I am working toward having a curious mindset, where migraine is my friend, trying to warn me about something. What is that something? I’m not sure yet.
But I feel like this is the key to healing.
^ This website is a total game-changer for me.
I am learning how to relate to my pain differently, and it has been helping me SO MUCH.
I was at rock bottom after the 17 day migraine streak, thinking I couldn’t go on another day in that much pain. It was terrifying. I was deep in the depression and anxiety pit, so scared that the migraine beast wouldn’t leave me alone.
But now I am changing my relationship to the pain, and how I think about it…
I think it’s making a difference! Which is very exciting, because I needed a change–a mindshift.
This chronic pain journey is really intense. I feel like I am always learning something new. I move forward, and I have setbacks. But changing my relationship with pain is important.
I don’t want to live in fear anymore. I don’t want to be paranoid. And I don’t want to battle my body every day. I want to be friends with it again. I want to feel safe and comfortable in my own skin. I am taking baby steps to make this happen. Instead of hating the migraine part of myself, I am learning to love all of me.
I am a person who suffers from chronic migraine attacks. They are random and extremely painful. I also suffer from bouts of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
But lately, I am trying to move past those labels and live the best life I can live.
I am trying to focus on “healing” instead of “pain”, which is very tricky for someone who has been so focused on “pain avoidance.” I am adding in more tools for de-stressing. I try to do good things for myself with the purpose and intention of “this will calm me down” or “this will make me happy.”
I used to spend a LOT of free time researching migraines. Now I try to spend less time on research in general. And when I do research, I try to look up positive articles, like “re-wiring my nervous system.”
I am trying to avoid the trap of paranoia, worrying that every headache will turn into a migraine. I pop the pills I need to take, and then I find a good distraction.
I am trying to take care of myself on my good days, and spend less time worrying about the black holes of time I miss when I have bad days.
Am I still in the habit of berating myself for not being normal? Not as much. I am more accepting of my condition and its limitations. I am trying not to get as frustrated when I miss out or have to cancel plans. This condition does not make me a bad person. Sometimes I feel like one, because I am not reliable like I wish I could be. Just because I have certain (really negative) thoughts in my brain doesn’t mean they are true.
I’ve been going through the ups and downs of this roller-coaster life. Sometimes it’s hard to write in this blog because of the dramatic emotional changes that occur constantly. I’ve had moments of feeling “normal” that make me SO elated and blissful, and I want to write in this blog, “OMG, I AM DOING AMAZING! 🙂 ” …which is soon followed by pain and depression and negative thoughts like, “OMG, I CAN’T STAND BEING ALIVE WITH THIS TORTUROUS PAIN ANYMORE!”
Feelings are temporary, and knowing that is comforting. I enjoy the good moments while I can, and when I am in a bad moment, I know that I will feel good again.