Self-Care: The Struggle is Real
Last updated: September 2022
Living with chronic migraine disease has taught me so many lessons. In general, life has many lessons to teach us, but I’ve found that some of the most challenging tasks center on caring for ourselves.
I've always looked after others first
I’ve spent the majority of my life looking after others. I have a close-knit family, and my wife and I have four amazing daughters and four soon-to-be grandkids. Our life revolves around God, family, and work. Living with chronic migraine and other comorbid conditions demands my attention in those areas. Self-care has not been anywhere near the top of my priority list. I struggled to carve out time to look after myself until I had no choice but to stop and examine my life.
I was constantly pushing through
When you constantly push forward in life, there will eventually come a time when your body will start pushing back. I worked 10 to 12-hour days for years. I would go home, and it was time to devote myself to my marriage and family. I slept, not restfully, for maybe 6 hours a night before starting the next day. For many years I had episodic migraines. I treated them with OTC medications and kept going. I didn’t have time in my life for doctor visits. I have always valued time. I know how precious it is. Still, caring for myself was always a back burner type of priority.
I needed to prioritize self care
In 2012 my body had enough. The brakes were sharply applied, and my life has not been the same since then. I was in and out of the hospital several times. Visits every couple of years to the doctor had become nearly weekly occurrences. The tests seemed to be never-ending and medical bills piled up quickly. It was time for me to care for myself like I had managed for others all my life. Eventually, I realized that I needed to be carried for a while. It wasn’t easy to reconcile, but ultimately I knew it was for the best. My wife and daughters all stepped up and encouraged me. The life I knew was changing, but it was not over.
Migraine makes us suffer enough
I have come across so many people who struggle with self-care. Some don’t understand what it is, think it is being selfish, or think it is a sign of weakness. It was a mix of many reasons, but I knew it was what I needed to do. I needed to invest in myself. It was a slow process but one that I’ve found to be genuinely positive. Migraine makes us suffer enough, and we don’t need to add additional weight to that suffering by setting aside our care. Our conditions do not define us; we deserve to be seen, heard, and cared for, even when it means doing it ourselves! I’d love to hear how you care for yourself and have reached a point where you are ok with self-care in the comments.
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?