Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Bit On Self-Care

Living the life of a migrainista, it is easy to get either in a rut or out of practice in the art of self-care. I'm in one now after what has been a tough month of problem medications and the intrusion of additional health issues. During the worst of the bad days, it seems impossible to exercise, do much food prep, relaxation and such. But having been on this down slope before I know I can find my way back and regain some balance.

Some of regaining this balance is a little out of my control like when I had that reaction to Neurontin and there was nothing I could do but hang on until I could titrate down. If anyone has figured out how to maintain any level of self-care through these toughest derailments I would love to hear all about it - really.

These derailments aside, sometimes it feels like the self-care I'm doing is no longer really providing the balance and relief that should come from good self-care. Mostly I chalk it up to my need for variety. But it can be so difficult to seek out and add this variety, or even adjusting these techniques to address new stresses and/or ailments.

I try to set aside some time each month to work on different areas of self-care. For example I spend a couple days each month looking for new healthy recipes to try so I can continue to eat healthy without getting sick of my foods. I like to spend some time looking at YouTube videos for new exercise ideas. Then I can try different things until I find what will work for me and my pain situations. I've only recently begun meditating, well trying to meditate. I won't really be able to get in a rut until I actually get the hang of it.

Perhaps the toughest area of self-care since I started living with chronic pain has been in caring for my creative side. This is not because I haven't put in the time and effort, but rather because my creative side has gone into hiding. I simply can't find it to feed and nourish it. I used to draw and paint and do theatre. The arts were very much a part of who I was. The migraines seems to have rendered that part of me unconscious.

As I think about it right now I wonder if what really happened is that all of my creative energy has been focused on migraine management and altering my environment to accommodate my chronic pain. Of course, the question then becomes, how does one nourish and feed that kind of creativity? I wouldn't even know where to begin. Maybe the fact that I need to use it so frequently at least keeps it in good shape. Either way, I haven't been able to get the creative artist in me out of a rut for more than 5 years.


  1. Absolutely all of your energy has been focused on your pain and the management of it. Chronic pain takes everything out of you/me/us. Self care is difficult when you feel like hell all the time. When I've been at my worst, I had no creative energy at all. You are creative in cooking, and that is keeping that part of you alive, and I bet when you are finally delivered from the pain, your creativity will flare. Do you still have paint and supplies? You may want to get them out. I think you could demonstrate your pain through art (if the pain would subside long enough), and they would be some incredible paintings. I would love to see what you have created, and what you do create in the future. I wish for you good health, good doctors, and better than average pain relief, if there is such a thing anymore. I wish for your creativity to return and to nourish your soul.

    I think you are an amazing woman to deal with what you do, and still manage to exercise, and take care of yourself to the best of your ability. I know some days are tougher than others, but you are strong honey, stronger than you may think.

    I better quit before I start bawling. Take care, dear friend, and I hope you have a pain free evening.

  2. I think I am so fatigued that creative things I used to take pleasure in are just too much in addition to what I deal with daily. Wishing I had a solution. Great idea about checking out YouTube for excercise ideas. Never even occured to me!!! WooHoo!

  3. Della, you are so very sweet, thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement - honestly it give me strength:)

    Winny, yeah I feel like I can relate to what you are saying here too.

  4. Creativity seems impossible to me when I'm in a painful month or two. But I'm not sure I'm ever very creative. The migraines wear me down. I can barely read some of the time let alone create anything. I hope you are able to nourish yourself in some way so that you can express yourself more creatively.

  5. Yes, creativity. Thank you for putting this most important thing in the mix!