Migraineurs- The new Superhero?

It’s my nature to look at life’s glass as half full, and yet with migraines, it’s easy to get stuck looking at the negatives. There are so many negatives, after all. It is for this reason that I’m grateful for the rare moments when I gain a refreshing perspective on the potential positives related to migraine.

A colleague recently asked me to describe how migraines work. I explained how the nervous systems of migraineurs are more tightly wound than others: lights are brighter, sounds are louder, and smells are more fragrant.  I was describing this in a fairly negative tone- that these heightened senses make for a more difficult existence.

She thought for a moment and asked, "Are you psychic? I mean, it sounds like superpower stuff to me. You can see more clearly, hear more powerfully, smell more strongly. All of your senses are more finely attuned and more powerful. How are you making this work for you?"

I loved this. I am thankful to her for turning my negative to a positive. Is it possible that all of us migraineurs are a breed of Superhero? I’ve amused myself thinking of the many ways that our overdriven senses could be used for the good. We could alert people to smoke far before there’s fire. So sensitive to pressure changes, we could be storm predictors. Hearing the smallest of sounds, we could be called “SuperHearo”.  With our phenomenal sensitivity to light, we could scan the horizon for the smallest glimmer- perhaps rescuing ships lost at sea. While I’m still working on the ability to leap small buildings in a single bound, l believe we are on to something bigger here.

It’s an interesting notion:  taking the hardest parts of migraine and flipping them into a positive. An overarching question, perhaps, is whether or not migraines, even with all they take from us, can ultimately have a positive impact on our lives– resulting in our becoming more powerful people.

For me, it’s been a long journey to find even a single gift that migraines have to offer.

That said, the process of doing so has given me strength.  Proactively looking for lessons that lie in the experience of daily pain rather than feeling repeatedly victimized helps me keep my chin up and stay engaged.  And while we can all agree that I can’t fly, I have felt great power in the way I’ve chosen to respond to the biggest challenge of my life.

By taking away my career, and the many related ways that I once defined myself, migraines forced me to reorient myself and my priorities. After spending some years quite bitter about this, I came to see that it is how I live, rather than what I do, that will have the most powerful impact in my lifetime.  For me, it is about treating others with compassion and respect. It is about choosing to love with my whole heart. By taking so very much away, migraines helped me slow down and deeply appreciate what I do have. So, on the topic of Superheroes and superpowers, I suppose I’ll confess I don’t have any verifiable ones. I will say, however, that by focusing on the positive traits I’ve earned rather than focusing on all that I’ve lost, I see my life’s glass as overflowing. And to me, that’s superpower enough.

Do you believe that migraines hold any gifts for you? Are you a migraine Superhero? If so, what are your powers?

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