Embracing Mystery, Finding Motivation
Having lived with migraine since early childhood, I have what I would consider to be a thorough understanding of some of the ways migraine manifests itself, as well as the impact it can have on lifestyle, relationships, livelihood, self-perception, goals, and the list goes on. Migraine has personally affected my career, my ability to pursue further higher education at the moment, my familial and romantic relationships, spirituality, even my social personality. I feel a deep dissonance about some aspects of my life, because migraine can sometimes dictate that I don’t pursue fully some of the things I want, like playing music with my band or watching movies, like traveling, or trying out new hairstyles, or even pursuing the career I dream of.
Not only do I have extensive first hand experience of migraines, I also have done a lot of research, in the hopes of finding out answers for my own health goals, about how migraine affects others, what drugs and medications are available to patients, insurance options, and many other considerations of living with this disease. It can be all-consuming at times, because ultimately in searching all about migraine, I am searching for relief from stress, pain, discomfort, and misunderstanding. Having invested so much, both willingly and unwillingly, in discovering a lot about migraine, one of the most difficult realizations I’ve come to accept is that there is just so much that is unknown still.
Migraine is a mystery
The exact cause of migraine is yet unknown, and many of the experiences of migraine’s triggers and symptoms vary from one person to the next. Getting a diagnosis differs between patients, and treatment methods can also vary depending on the person. Further, sometimes what used to work for treating migraine for an individual just doesn’t work anymore, or becomes inaccessible due to financial cost or lack of availability. It can be so frustrating living with this disease, because each day can seem to bring more questions than answers.
Here for instance is just one example of this occurring in my life: not too long ago, I was taking a beta-blocker which seemed to be providing some relief for my migraines finally, but after a few months, I was told that the medication wasn’t actually safe for me to take as a comorbid asthmatic patient. I was switched instead to another medication that isn’t as effective for me, and I felt like I’d been handed a go back three spaces card. It seems with migraine for many of us, the mysteries and challenges unfold continually.
Seeing in the dark
Although there are some common symptoms among many migraine patients, such as light sensitivity and throbbing pain, there are patients who do not experience either of those. Some folks do not experience any head pain, and others experience intense nausea and vertigo. In short, there is no one-size-fits-all for treating nor experiencing migraine. That can be so frustrating for those of us continually searching for relief. Even though there are a lot of mysterious aspects of migraine though, there is also a lot of commonality.
One of the most important pillars of my journey with migraine has been finding commonalities between those who live with migraine and building understanding through those similarities. Finding common ground has equipped me with better 'migraine vision', so that I can see in the dark and navigate migraine a little easier. From learning more about elimination diets, to finding out ways to deal with light sensitivity, delving into what others experience has helped me to define my own experiences and try to new methods of relief.
I have also developed the mindset that migraine's mysteries can be puzzles for solving, and that motivates me to try each and every day to live my best despite migraine (though that can be really hard at times). Sometimes trying my best is simply staying in bed, while other times it is taking a good look at what I put into my body. Sometimes seeing in the dark looks like figuring out an insurance hurdle or advocating for myself socially, and other times that looks like asking for help from the community. There is no one way to solve migraine's puzzles and sometimes the method can look unconventional, and that is okay!
Turning the unknown on its head
Delving into the unknown and making discoveries can lead to deeper relationships with others in the migraine community as well as to relief in some cases. Finding out that there are possibilities for relief, however big or small, provides opportunities to try to obtain that relief, and I think those are opportunities worth taking head on, no pun intended. Not knowing is not always a bad thing, because where there is discovery to be made, there is hope!
Have you made a discovery about your own migraines that had an impact on your life? What happened? Which of Migraine’s mysteries has been most elusive for you? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?