After at least 12 years in a perpetual migraine attack, I finally got a break this year with a digestive enzyme called diamine oxidase. I still have chronic migraine, but I can go a day or two between attacks. Well, I was able to until other food intolerances surfaced this summer and I returned to constant migraine-mode for weeks at a time. The reversion has been tough.
I remembered how draining it is to have a migraine every day. I remembered how discouraging it is to wake up each day and still have a migraine. I remembered wondering how much longer I could endure such pain, fatigue, brain fog and nausea. Remembering is different than experiencing. Being plunged back to that reality after six remarkably good months was shocking.
In an attempt to cope with this, I began repeating certain phrases to myself as a sort of pep talk until, unwittingly, I developed a series of migraine mantras. These are the sayings that get me through when migraine attacks drag me down physically and emotionally.
I have migraine, migraine doesn’t have me. It’s easy to fret that migraine is in control of my life. Migraine only has control if I give it that power. It has an outsize role in my life for sure, but it doesn’t determine who I am at my core or what I believe. Reminding myself that control is an illusion is a comfort when it seems like migraine has taken charge of my life.
This is difficult and that’s OK. Thanks to the self-compassion work I’ve been doing, I’m not beating myself up for doing something to trigger each spate of migraine attacks or for not coping well enough. I’m not telling myself someone else has it worse than I do or even that I had it worse for many years. I’m acknowledging that what I’m going through is tough for me right now and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’ve done this before and I can do it again. This applies both to coping with constant migraine attacks and sorting out triggers. I survived many years of far more painful migraines than I’m having now. If I had the grit to get through that, I can do this. I also had an amazing triumph when I figured out that dietary histamine is a major trigger for me. That was years of work and the discovery changed my life. Since that happened once, I believe I can do it again.
Tomorrow is another day. My outlook is always bleakest at the end of a day. Even when I go to bed wondering how I’ll make it through another day, I always wake up in a better mood. I tell myself that I can worry about it if my attitude is still as bleak the next morning. It never is.
What “mantras” or reminders help you get through migraine attacks?
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