Who Am I Beyond Migraine?
Last updated: October 2021
Some huge changes in my life have prompted me to get a bit existential, and I have been pondering questions like: "What is fear?" and "Who am I?" I mean, besides someone who lives in chronic pain and who feels hurts a lot of the time...who am I? Sometimes living with chronic pain can be so consuming that we can lose sight of ourselves beyond the pain, stigma, and adversity. I’ve spent some time thinking about what defines me, my character, and who I am beyond migraine. Here is what I found:
I am an advocate
From being active in my community pushing for a society that is kinder, more compassionate, and fairer to us all, to advocating for increased understanding around migraine and other illnesses, I am a passionate advocate who is greatly concerned with the well-being of both myself and others around me. Even though the pain is immense, I am committed to strive for something better, and this keeps me going during particularly rough patches.
I am a friend
Many in the community know all too well what is like being the friend with chronic pain. Always cancelling. Breaking commitments at the last minute. Being reclusive. Many of us, out of necessity have limitations on what our friendships look like. I know that I have caring and kind friends in my life, and I am a friend to them, too. I communicate openly, and am there for loved ones when I can be. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and tough to not be able to hang out or take part in fun and important activities, but I am lucky to have a handful of friends whose only expectations are really to love, be kind, and be honest. That makes it easier to be a friend and to hold friends.
I am a big sister
My younger brothers (all four of them) mean the whole world to me. Even though I can’t always hang out with them and stay up through the rambunctious play times , I provide for them when I can and am always loving. The love that I share with my siblings is one that keeps me feeling lucky. Not everyone has family who cares unconditionally, and having these fun, outgoing, and understanding friends for life is a treasure.
I am a dreamer
Like many in the community, I deal with anxiety and depression. Migraine is a dark and debilitating disease, and sometimes there are days, weeks, and even months where I can’t see sunshine anywhere. Pain is a strong motivator though, and for me, it drives hope. I still have dreams and I still strive to achieve them when I can. It may look differently than someone completely able-bodied, but even slow progress is progress to me. I dream of returning to school, I dream of feeling better, I dream of traveling, and I dream of having a career. Sometimes my dreams feel deferred, but I keep hope alive because I believe the world is full of possibilities for change and growth, even if it doesn't look like what we hoped for.
Who are you beyond migraine? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?