Sitting on the Sidelines

Hiking? I’m in. Dancing the night away at a wedding? I’m in. Climbing on playground equipment? I’m in. Playing Rock Band? I’m in. Well, I want to be in, but this chronic migraine thing tends to get in the way.

When I think of the people who have met me in the last 10 years, I wonder how much difference there is between how they would describe me and who I truly am. What other people think of me is not the issue here, but rather the vast disconnect between the person I see myself as and how I behave.

I am not quiet and withdrawn, never joining in group activities. I am not the person who gathers everyone up to go on a hike, then waves goodbye from the couch. I am not the woman who leaves the party early if she even manages to make it at all. Except that I am. Not by choice or because that’s my personality, but because of chronic migraine.

It’s the kids in my life I wonder about the most. They are too young to understand what’s really going on, they just see what I’m not doing. To them, I’m the one who “never feels well,” which my niece said when she was nine. The one who is “no fun,” according to a friend’s 11-year-old, because I turn off the music or don’t play the board game everyone else is playing. They can’t see how much I want to engage in the world, nor do they see how hard I constantly try to participate.

I used to worry that chronic migraine had changed me into someone who sits on the sidelines, that this was the person I’d become and would always be. I’ve had enough treatment success — and therapy — to know that the real me is still here, she’s just been hidden for a long, long time.

Sitting on the sidelines is not my thing, but it sure looks like it is. How many people do I know who think I abstain from fun by choice?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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