Expressing Gratitude for my Migraines

During the holiday season I am constantly reminded to practice gratitude. I love the Three Good Things thread where we are encouraged to post three things daily that we are grateful for during this month.

Along these lines, I want to write about why I am grateful for my migraines. I have had migraines since I was a child, and they’ve taken over a good portion of my younger, healthier years. I know many of you can relate. But I now want to focus on the things that actually make me grateful for my migraines. I strongly believe that looking at my life situation this way will help me come to terms with what I’ve faced. So here goes.

I feel that learning to deal with chronic illness and the medical world have made me a stronger, more capable human being. I am a much better patient than I ever was before. I had to learn how to advocate for myself in the doctor's office. My health and well being depend on a positive relationship with my physicians, and this isn't always easy. I feel that when I was at my lowest, I discovered my strength. Not only do I feel like a stronger advocate for myself, but I also have been able to help out friends and family members dealing with similar situations. I feel this skill will likely come in handy the rest of my life, in the medical world and in general.

Dealing with a painful neurological condition has given me deeper empathy and compassion for others and myself. I understand pain, illness, and disability more than before. Though migraines have been a lifelong illness, my life changed in an instant with the sudden onset of chronic migraines. I don't take good health for granted, and I feel more connected to others who are dealing with health struggles of their own. Others turn to me for a listening ear, and I have a great sense of fulfillment over being able to help others. I also have learned to be kinder and more forgiving to myself, though that’s always a work in progress!

This next item may surprise some people. I feel migraines have given me stronger friendships. In the migraine community, we often talk about losing friends due to migraines. Sure, I lost touch with some friends, but I got closer with other friends who were there to listen during tough moments. I also have met many amazing people in the migraine community. Some of these people I talk to daily online, some I have visited or met in person. One migraine friend of mine passed away this year, but I am grateful for having gotten to know her. She never failed to help others even when she was struggling badly. For anyone feeling lonely, I encourage you to connect to the migraine community, as there are some great people there.

I truly believe the lifestyle I must lead makes me healthier. Though migraine is an illness, it is a unique illness in some ways because it encourages us to live healthier depending on our triggers. I take daily precautions to avoid pain. Migraines force me to exercise regularly (when possible!), avoid unhealthy foods or with ingredients such as aspartame, get enough sleep, and have regular check ups with my doctors. Whenever I am having a bad streak of migraines, I try to remind myself that when I'm older I'll likely be pretty healthy for my age.

Migraines have provided me inspiration for my art and writing. From weird, disorienting symptoms, to being able to tap into the deep universal human experience of pain, migraines are constantly giving me new material to work with. I have drawn, sculpted, and penned poems on migraines. I could almost call them my muse!

I'm sure I could go on, and there are likely other benefits that I’m unaware of. Though I wish that I could stuff my migraines in a rocket and shoot them off to outer space, I am grateful for all I’ve gained.

I would love to hear from you.What are you most grateful for because of your migraines?Please comment below or you can join in the more general Three Good Things thread. I look forward to hearing from you!

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