“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”Dr. Steve Maraboli
My journey from monthly to daily migraines this past year has been anything but easy. At the beginning of this month as I was reflecting out loud, I admitted that I was proud of myself — for powering through the pain, for being strong and resilient. My husband was quick to validate. He’s always the first to remind me that this too shall pass, that there is hope and that I’ll feel better. He hates hearing me say that I am powering through anything and I can see how this is wearing on him too. He never complains, and he is always there for me.
Between the prayers, the mindful tools, the preventative care, of course I have hope for healing and relief. Why else would I continue to do these things? I think sometimes I need a little more than hope to keep me going.
I am no stranger to chronic pain
Dealing with a back issue since I was 18, I know all too well the time you have to put into your health just to get by. I have fallen into depression many times before because of back pain, so when I felt it creeping in this past year I have been quick and resilient to combat it.
For someone who values time with others and living in the present moment, living with migraine is one of my worst fears come true. I’m exhausted and tired of migraine stealing my time, my goals, my health, and for another post… my first year of marriage.
Empathy for invisible illness
When I was about 12 years old, my mom’s health put her in bed all day for weeks at a time. Prior to that she had been dealing with pain for five years, and it took an another five before she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism. I stepped into the role of an adult and caretaker to my two younger siblings. I did most of the cleaning and cooking for our family of 6, while my father and older brother took on multiple jobs to support us.
This affected me in a lot of ways such as overcoming resentment and behavioral issues in my 20’s and catching up on my education; as well as a lot of positive things too! For example, I have a strong sense of empathy. Watching my mother go through so much physical pain also created an inner drive to be proactive in pursuing a healthy lifestyle. It has also created a huge underlying fear that I might have a similar diagnosis, although all my lab work proves otherwise. The amount of time I spend in my bed, isolated and out of control of my body, really scares me.
How will this affect my relationship long-term? What does our family planning look like? Will I be capable of being a present parent?
I have things I can’t avoid doing, the worst is driving to/from work, as well as being in front of a computer all day. Doing smaller tasks also take a lot out of me, tasks that those without chronic illness probably don’t think much about doing… I certainly did not until this past year. Things like getting out of bed, general hygiene care, meal preparation and eating. Too many things add up to a lot of energy spent for someone who doesn’t have very much energy to begin with.
I do not want to feel like an invalid. I do not want to see my health, my relationships and my spirit suffer. I continue to survive every day despite the pain, and it really does help to know how to manage my energy. When your health is in question it brings clarity to what matters most in life. A month after this conversation and it’s looking like one of my more difficult months but I continue to dig deep. I continue to be resilient. I continue to power through.