Sunday, June 8, 2014
Living Despite Chronic Migraines #MHAMBC
The Day 8 prompt is to relate the following quote to migraines: "It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live." JK Rowlings
Seems to me you could replace dreams with most anything and the same would hold true. Dwelling is sort of like the mind being stuck on something and I just don't see how one can really live in the present while in such a state. Certainly dwelling on migraines is contrary to living life.
In the early years, after my episodic migraines went chronic, it was hard not to dwell on what was happening to me. Especially when there were a few months during which the migraine pain was constant. It was like the migraines had taken over my life and certainly dominated my thoughts. I didn't understand what was happening, I was scared and just in so much pain, every second of every day... What a dark place to be both physically and mentally. This is when I was still certain that I just needed to figure out what happened to cause this craziness, take care of it and return to living my life as it was before.
At some point you have to pick yourself up and figure out how to go on living anyway. After a while it became important to me that these migraines (and later the fibromyalgia) not define who I am. I knew I couldn't carry on as if everything was normal so basically I had to relearn how to live within the confines of my chronic pain. I had to work up the courage to go out in the world and still participate in activities. I had to figure out how to pace myself and make adjustments to everything I wanted to do in order to maximize my ability to function. I had to find light exercises that allowed me to move and stay fit without triggering a migraine or a big fibro-flare. I learned how to distract myself from the symptoms with comedy and projects. I've learned a great deal in the past 8 years about living with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia.
Yes, chronic pain does occupy my mind daily. Of course it does, there is not a single minute of the day that I am not in pain AND dealing with at least one other symptom. The difference now is that I have parameters to work within that allow my mind to think about my projects, domestic chores, philosophy, hubby, whatever. So long as pain is at a manageable level, my mind is easily occupied with many such things. When the pain reaches about an 8 out of 10, I have to step in and provide myself with mindless comedy or reruns of old shows to distract myself. Left unchecked, that kind of pain can easily take over my mind and invite in all kinds of panic and fear.
All the effort has been well worth it. My quality of life has improved over the years as I've gotten better at living with chronic pain. Much more work lay ahead as I continue on this journey. I hope in next couple of years is to reduce the frequency and severity of my pain and other symptoms through better pain management techniques.