Friday, March 11, 2011

Tweaking Life for Migraines

Most of the time I feel like my migraines dictate what I can do and when. I've had to develop entirely new methods of going about the activities of life. I've had to fight against the organized control freak in me to become flexible enough to work around my pain. All of which I am not that happy about. Sure part of me knows that learning to be more flexible and forgiving of myself is actually a pretty positive consequence of my migraines, but it is a constant struggle.

I've had to tweak my environment to decrease my exposure to triggers. I got room darkening curtain on the cheap at Target to protect my eyes. I've altered the brightness on the TV and on the computer screen. I have cleaning products that, for the most part, don't have crazy chemical odors. All of the light bulbs in our apartment are of very low wattage. And I keep all of my meds in specific locations so if something happens and I suddenly need my nausea meds, I don't have to turn on lights and search for it. I always know right where it is and can get to it quickly and easily.

I've had to tweak my activity planning. It used to be I could make plans with anyone for any time. These days that doesn't really work. I have to plan preparation time before and recovery time for after. The length of time needed on either end all depends on the kind of activity I'm planning. For example a dinner with friends isn't going to need as much prep and recovery as a wedding or site seeing day. I also keep track of where I am in my cycle as that has some impact on how I feel. For example, I'm more likely to have pain free days from the time I ovulate until the time I get my period. I know that during my period pain is hardest to control. By keeping these times in mind I'm more likely able to make plans on a day that won't be too bad.

I've had to tweak my expectations. There is no escaping the loss these migraines have imposed on my life. While deep down I'm the same me, I've found that many of the qualities I used to attributed to myself have shifted. I used to be so focused and mentally quick and now my migraines and my medications have slowed me down. I used to be very physical and now I have to be careful not to overdo it or spend too much time with my head below my heart. I used to be so dependable. Now I make tentative plans that may need to change if things are out of control. I used to be very active and now I have to pace myself and rest far more than I want. I used to be patient and slow to anger but these days my temper is short and I find myself frustrated and angry more often than I care to admit.

Yeah, things aren't as they once were and that makes me sad. I don't always like the migrainista I've become. At least there is time to keep working on becoming better at living with chronic pain and more forgiving of myself and those around me. I am not bound to any state of being and for that I am thankful.

1 comment:

  1. What a great, thoughtful post. I'm thankful for your wisdom, and for helping me to feel less alone in Pain World.