Expressing gratitude: whom do YOU want to thank, and why?
Like any chronic illness patient, I could fill a book with my list of frustrations and complaints. From being angry that I have another migraine at another friend’s wedding to being frustrated by a healthcare provider who doesn’t listen to being just plain tired of being tired all the time, I could probably vent all day. And venting is healthy for us, in moderation. Many migraineurs we hear from on migraine.com don’t have a built-in support network in their regular lives, so they turn to fellow migraineurs here on the site (and on our Facebook page) for camaraderie and validation. I am so grateful we have this site.
Something else has emerged over time, though, and I’m so proud of my fellow contributors and all of you who participate in this site every day (even those of you who are lurkers who read a lot but don’t comment—that’s totally fine, too!). You know what’s inspiring? That so many of you remain so positive. That when a depressed migraineur posts in the forums about feeling hopeless, you rise to support that person with words of comfort, validation, and encouragement. That you are taking steps to educate those in your personal and professional lives about migraine disease and all its intricacies.
Venting isn’t bad, and expressing the very many negative facets of this illness is of the utmost importance. But looking on the bright side (after you don your special sunglasses to protect your photophobic eyes, of course!) has its merits, and I really applaud you all for being positive whenever you are able. Sometimes you’re not in that place, and that’s okay—we’ll be here for you through the rough patches as well.
Bearing all that in mind, I have a proposition for you. I want you to think of someone who has helped make your life a little easier as far as migraine goes. I want you to think of a friend, a family member, a doctor, a colleague, a supervisor, a shopkeeper, or even a complete stranger who has brought you comfort when you needed it. Tell us about that person in the comments below. How has he or she made your life with migraine that much easier? Does he or she know what a positive influence he/she had on you?
For those of you with a little more time, I suggest that you take a few minutes to write this person a letter. It can be one sentence, or it can be pages long. It can be an anonymous note from you or you can email or mail it to the person. (I strongly encourage you to make sure the note gets to the addressee, even if you decide not to sign your name—you will likely make someone’s day and increase the likelihood that he/she will continue to be a positive influence in others’ lives.) The point of this exercise is to try to exhibit gratitude in the midst of struggle.
Let us hear from you in the comments. Who has helped you? Whom do you want to thank? And will you share your words of gratitude with the person or keep it a secret, and why?
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?