Embracing the good days

Today the Migraine and Headache Awareness Blog challenge is to read and comment on the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou as it relates to migraine and headache disorders.  As I read the poem, one particular section stood out:

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

As I read and reread this section, I began to think about all the times we experience disbelief from friends, family, co-workers, and even health care providers.  It is the curse of the invisible illness.  If we look too good, we take the risk that people will question our illness.  If we appear poorly, then we risk being accused of being an hypochondriac. We often wonder, “What does it take for people to believe that we really are that sick?”


It is as if by being sick we are not allowed to enjoy the pleasures of life. Yet embracing and enjoying the good things in life keeps us sane.  It is the antidote to all that is hard about living with migraine.  Having a good day when we can feel the sun on our face and the breeze in our hair is priceless.  Enjoying the company of good friends without pain is a precious gift.


Why spoil such a gift by questioning the veracity of our illness just because we are having a good day? Why not rejoice with us? Why not enjoy the good time? We get so few moments, why risk our relationship?


I’ve come to the conclusion that I want people in my life who can celebrate with me on my good days and support me on the bad ones.  The nature of this disease is one of ups and downs. In order to be a part of my life, loved ones must be able to ride the peaks and valleys with me. Fortunately, I have a lot of amazing friends who can do just that.


I offer this challenge:


For just one day, let go of concern about what others think.  If you feel well enough, then smile. Put on your favorite outfit, fix your hair, apply some makeup, and let yourself embrace the moment. Ignore the whispers of your detractors.  A painful day of darkness and quiet will come again soon enough. Give yourself permission to experience joy.


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