Brain, sitting in the dark with striped light cast upon it. Behind it is a shadow that makes a broken heart shape

Heartbreak and Migraine

Living with chronic pain can be like living with a huge brick wall on your back. It is heavy, hard, and makes getting through each day a monumental task. I used to think that living with pain all of my life meant I was well equipped to handle a lot of adversity, after all, I am used to dealing with emotional, physical, and psychological pain due to this disease. Strong are those who undergo outstanding trials I thought...that is, until I experienced the kind of heartbreak that changed my world.

Pain worse than migraine 

Pain worse than migraine? Pshhh, no way. That's what I thought, too.

Not after heartbreak. 

My partner and caretaker left me in order to pursue their own goals and dreams. Our relationship was not perfect, and anyone with chronic migraine knows that loving someone with daily pain takes a toll on all involved. Among many considerations and reasons, my closest friend decided to leave because a lot of our time collectively had been spent on me. This was crushing.

I thought I knew what it was like to experience pain, but this threw me into a loop of deep depression and physical pain. I couldn't eat. My back hurt. I lost weight. My migraines worsened. My medications provided little relief, and I felt I could not handle the pain I was normally in, on top of what felt like my world-shattering. The aches, loss of appetite, anxiety, crying---it was a perfect concoction for feeling even sicker. My migraines felt like they never had before...unending and piercing. Truth be told, I entered into a deep depression that I felt was stealing my life away.

No end in sight

For weeks, it felt to me as though there was no end in sight for this pain. Friends and family told me that time would help, but every single millisecond felt like a decade. The physical pain I felt seemed to manifest in ways I didn’t even think were possible. I made doctor and therapy appointments because I became frightened at what was happening to my body and outlook. It seemed that there was no end in sight.

Experiencing true and compassionate love with chronic pain

During the near seven years that my partner and I spent together, I was shown some of the most selfless and compassionate care that I believe exists. My partner was truly understanding, willing to learn, and attentive. They accompanied me to appointments, administered medications, helped me travel, and made me feel safe, comforted, and desired. I would not trade this experience for anything in the world, but having experienced the kind of love that I thought was ideal for someone living with a debilitating disease only makes it that much harder to cope.

I lost something special and important, something truly unique, and each day in pain feels like a stinging reminder of that. I know that the pain of heartbreak can last a long time, and on some days I feel that the pain of all of my health issues and the heartbreak is impossible to balance ...yet I keep getting up and going on with life every morning.

Looking forward, pushing through

There are so many aspects of migraine that involve at times the consideration of pushing through: finishing school, achieving goals at work, attending family events. Sometimes we make choices about balancing what we can and can not do when it comes to chronic pain. With heartbreak, I feel like I do not have a choice but to push through each day. I have to learn to be on my own and independent. I have to advocate for myself alone at the doctor’s office sometimes.

I have to figure out so much, even when I do not want to. I am beginning to realize though that there are things to look forward to: independence can be a great, powerful thing to achieve. I know there will be setbacks, and I know some things will not work out the way I intend, but I am holding onto hope that the future will get brighter, and that the pain will slowly subside some. Heartbreak while living with migraine can seem unbearable, but I know I can make it.

Have you experienced heartbreak while living with migraine? How did you cope? Did you find out new things about yourself through the process? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The 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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