You don't ever "deserve" a migraine

Last month, I had a particularly bad week, health-wise. I woke with a migraine three days in a row with no easily discernible triggers in [hind]sight. Well, now that I’ve typed that opening line I can of course think of several things that may have triggered this episode/these episodes. I was doing really well with my walking but skipped the last few days; I also missed my morning smoothie (which often serves as my entire breakfast & is chock full of vitamins) for a couple of days after a week or so of drinking it faithfully. Oh, and the weather was shifting like crazy for the past several days. After a couple of days of solid rain, it cleared on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday was just gorgeous. I awoke Monday morning to the same drear from Friday: the skies were overcast and, for hours, it felt like it was *about* to rain.

I never truly think I “deserve” to get a migraine, but I still find myself using that term a lot. “Oh, I drank alcohol last night—I deserve this.” Or, “Hey! I’ve been keeping up with my exercise and diet—I don’t deserve to have a migraine right now!”

One of my best friends has an autoimmune condition. One night years ago, she drank too much and fell down. Her chronic joint pain flared like crazy, and she found that her partner had little sympathy. Sure, he hated to see her in pain. But it was hard for him to feel too much pity when she had deliberately gotten so drunk that she fell down in the first place. I admit to having felt this way about my own partner after he makes bad choices and ends up with a migraine; most certainly I do this to myself far too frequently.

Here’s something I want all of you to know: No one deserves illness and pain. Yes, there are lessons you can learn from your mistakes. Yes, it’s true that certain choices you make—bad choices, oftentimes—can exacerbate your condition. But you need to treat yourself with compassion and kindness; blaming yourself and telling yourself you deserve the pain solves nothing.

Do you have trouble with this emotionally-charged issue, too?

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