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Gaining Independence with Migraine

Truth be told, for the past few years I have been heavily reliant on my partner and caretaker when it comes to getting through my day to day with migraine.

Errand help and emotional support

From the time I wake up on many days to the time I am laying my head down to rest, I require assistance in both small and big ways. Sometimes it is my partner picking up my medications or administering them to me. Other times it is picking me up from work because I can’t drive because of nausea, sensitivity to light or both.

Often it is in the form of emotional support, being there and helping me to put my stressors and my pain into perspective. This immense level of support has helped me to achieve things I never thought were possible for someone with chronic migraine, like getting active in my community, holding down a job consistently, or exercising regularly. My caretaker has become an essential part of my life, and an essential part of my ability to function at the level I am currently used to, and that is why dealing with migraine has been really difficult lately.

Life changes leading to more independence

Over the past few months, I have taken on more work responsibilities, become more active in my community, and even have added regular exercise into my lifestyle thanks to a lot of communication, self-advocacy and encouragement, and a great deal of support from my caretaker. It hasn’t been easy, and unfortunately, I still experience a lot of limitation to what I can do in a day, but I have tackled more challenges head on.

Very recently, however, some big changes have occurred. Most important of the new changes in my life has been that my partner and I are having to spend more time independently for work and other commitments. My partner currently now works in a city an hour and a half away from my house, and also has a band there with whom he practices regularly. Due to our separate commitments, we have shifted from spending most of the week in close proximity, to just one or two days. I have had to gain a lot of independence really, really fast and it has been difficult.

Learning again how to better care for myself

Those of us who are privileged to have either a professional caretaker or a loved one in our life who takes on the role of attending to us and our chronic pain with compassion are really lucky I think. I have realized even more so having to adjust rather suddenly to a necessarily more independent lifestyle just how lucky I am to have this person in my life. I am having to be more diligent about lining up my food preparation and medications for easy access, having to be careful about my scheduling and the way I plan things, and really attentive to the way I treat my body because it isn’t so easy to call on my trusted partner for help.

I am learning what independence can look like with migraine again, and while it has been very difficult at times, it is also a bit freeing. I know now that I can take care of myself more than I previously thought. I must admit, there have been some pretty bad nights where I have been stuck in bed unable to get what I need to try to ease the pain, and I miss having the warmth and embrace of someone who has sought to understand and help, but I am finding strength in myself each day that I forgot I had.

Light at the end of the tunnel

These changes for us are pretty transient, as we are in the process of moving soon to a new house in the city my partner spends most of their time in now together, where I will also be working. Even though I know that soon I will have the proximity to and care of my partner that I have grown accustomed to, I think this transitional period has been helpful in allowing me to find my independence and strength again.

Do you feel as though you have someone you can depend on in dealing with migraines? In what ways do you feel independent when it comes to living with Migraines? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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