I could say - another year, another Migraine - but why? How does that help me take charge of my Migraines and my life? Taking control of Migraine disease can mean many different things to people. For some it may prompt them into finally seeing a "true" Migraine specialist. Others will try to identify and manage their Migraine triggers. Some Migraineurs will make better decisions regarding their overall health by starting a fitness program, eating more healthfully, and reducing work/family related stresses.
I do know, however, that just hoping I won't have Migraines in 2011 will not be beneficial to me or anyone close to me. Migraine disease is part of my life, and I'm going to have some Migraines this year - it's just a fact - because there is no cure yet. I do take the steps I've already mentioned above by seeing a Migraine specialist, avoiding the triggers I can, staying on a medication regimen, and using biofeedback on a regular basis. These have all been incorporated into my life. But the issue remains, I still have Migraines, and what am I going to do about it this year?
Cope. Accept. And move forward. That's the plan. Coping (or feel free to use handle, muddle, deal, or manage) with Migraine disease is full of intense moments of pain, pleasure and frustration for me. To begin with, my Migraine pain is not always obvious to my family, friends and - in a few rare instances at the start of an attack - me. It is "invisible" because my loved ones and friends can't "see" it. There is no band-aid on my head letting them know I'm in pain. On the other hand, you know when someone's leg is broken because we can "see" the cast. We can "see" their pain - the cast proves it to us. Migraine disease also gives me moments of great pleasure which may sound odd. But without Migraines I wouldn't have the honor of being able to help other Migraineurs with the support and information I've learned along my journey. But I also become frustrated when people say they don't understand Migraine disease, or worse, won't even try. All the information and education in the world, even from fabulous Migraine specialists, wonderful neurologists, excellent primary care doctors and patient advocates alike, cannot enlighten certain people. Statements like "Can't you just take an aspirin and lie down?" "It's just a headache," or "what's the big deal?" can lead me to great frustration. If we all could just take an aspirin and lie down, we would.
Accept my Migraines. I've come to learn that acceptance, for me anyway, is a continual process. Understanding that I have limitations is not a strong suit of mine, and continually being reminded of that is not something I relish, but one I have to accept. And here's what I mean - accepting the fact that when given directions to tasks, projects, or whatever, I may need to have them explained not just once, twice but maybe three times before I finally retain the information and even then it may take twice as long. Thank you mild traumatic brain injury. If people get frustrated by that, my deepest apologies, I am truly doing my best. Imagine how frustrated I feel. Continuing to accept the fact that life is different with Migraines and chronic pain, and I am unable to do things at the same pace I used to. Just accept every day as as it comes with Migraine disease.
Moving forward and staying the course this year with Migraine disease may be one of the biggest challenges I'm going to face. Coping and accepting certain things does not come naturally to me. So clearing my head at the end of the day is not, and has never been easy for me. I have to make a conscious effort to stop my wheels from turning, and that's hard! But tonight as I lay my head down on my pillow and close my eyes, I will not rehash my day. Instead, I'll think of all the things I have been able to cope with during the day, all the things I've accepted and all the joy I've experienced. Let my mind work on positive things through the night, rather than fester on the daily, troublesome, seemingly unending difficulties in life.
How are you going to take charge of your Migraines in 2011? If you'd like to read how others are taking charge, go toPutting our Heads Together, where Teri Robert is hosting the January 2011, Migraine Disease and Headache Blog Carnival.
Thanks for reading, and feel well,
© Nancy Harris Bonk, 2011.Last updated January 9, 2011.