When discussing migraines, I can easily recognise a fellow sufferer, or a person who is close to one. They give a particularly strong reaction of empathy, because they know exactly what it means; how painful, how incapacitating, and how life-spoiling. Migraines are not ‘just a headache’.
I had a bad migraine yesterday and, although I managed to struggle through conducting my bands in the evening, most of the day was a write-off. I was sad not to be able to go to Crossfit, work on my assignment, or read a friend’s story, as I had planned.
This morning I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I feel as if someone has walked over my head. But I’m also incredibly grateful. It’s as if I’ve climbed out of a dark hole, and the world seems particularly beautiful in comparison. If migraines must be part of my life, then it’s important to remember that they have taught me valuable lessons:
The Joy of Eating: Okay, I always love eating, but when you can’t eat anything for a whole day, or hold down water, it gives you a new level of appreciation for food and drink. It’s so easy to take the basics for granted.
Be Prepared: Yes, I could be a Scout! I have learnt to keep a day ahead of my schedule, when possible, because I never know when a migraine will hit. I was thankful for the fact that I’d done most of my preparation for band earlier in the week. I have become much more careful about managing my time and energy, which is a useful skill in general.
Realising the Important Things: I can easily become caught up in my own little world. Migraines make me stop. When I have an idea or a plan I can be extremely focused, which is not a bad thing, but it can become so. I have such lovely friends and family, and they deserve my time and attention. I shouldn’t be so busy that I become neglectful of the things that really matter.
Empathy: I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be in agony all the time. Having one day of pain reminds me that some people suffer that much, and worse, all the time. Hopefully this helps me to be more understanding and more compassionate.
Gratitude for Being Alive: I woke up this morning, feeling thankful about the smallest things – things that so often pass me by. We never know what a day will bring, and however busy or stressed I feel, it could always be worse. Migraines give me a sense of perspective. Today I got out of bed without nearly collapsing, and that alone made me happy. It’s a wonderful day to be alive!
When I have a migraine, my optimism and long-term thinking are crushed. I wouldn’t ‘wish them on my worst enemy’ and, if I had the choice, I would never have one again. But I wouldn’t be who I am without them and I’m grateful for what they teach me.
I can’t pretend I thought that yesterday.