Bringing in a New Year with Chronic Migraines
Feeling cheerful about bringing in a new year may be daunting. It means another year in pain for me — a new year for many means new resolutions and, of course, a fresh start. However, for me, it's a bag of mixed emotions.
Another year battling migraines
Before my episodic migraine shifted to chronic, I looked forward to the celebratory New Year's Eve events. While millions worldwide celebrated, I was confined to my bed. Complete silence and a dark, cool room with an ice pack were crucial. My friends and family would tell me the many goals for the following year. My only thought was, what is there for me to celebrate? There is a lot to be thankful for, right? I told myself, after all, there is breath in my body, which is another day to fight on.
Another year on disability
I went on disability for my chronic migraines in 2018, which has taken me on what seems like the longest roller coaster ride. When I first decided that disability was the best thing for me, I figured maybe I just needed to decompress, and my migraines would get better. I would never have imagined bringing in another year being on disability.
You're on your own path
Pain tolerance and symptoms vary in each individual. It is easy to ask yourself why am I going through this? Why me? It becomes a slippery slope when comparing your journey to others because no two people are the same. Try not to judge where you are in life right now. Your path is yours alone.
Embrace the moment
I keep a sticky note on my desk with a reminder I am here now, but this is not my end destination. This mantra has gotten me through some dark days.
What am I leaving in 2021?
- Shame from asking for help. We all need help at some point in our lives. Sometimes, it can feel like a burden, but that is furthest from the truth.
- Guilt from canceling on family and friends. Migraine disease is unpredictable, and sometimes plans may need to be changed.
- Disappointment when I am unable to complete a task. Living with migraine takes a toll on the mind and body. There will be days when we need more time for healing.
- Trying to reach a goal by a deadline can be overwhelming. Instead, break down goals into realistic microscale achievements.
- It sucks not to be able to get out of bed. Learn to love your body on the bad days. Accept those negative emotions at the moment, then let them fall away.
- Prioritize self-care. Anxiety and stress are known triggers for migraine disease. Taking the time to read a favorite book or pick up a new hobby will allow you to take a moment to breathe deep.
Ask yourself, how has migraine affected your life? What reasonable goals can I implement to regain my new normal?
Migraine is a complex neurological disease, and even when we do everything right, an attack can still happen. It's ok if we need to set limits and boundaries. Remember, you got this; you are stronger than you think. What are your 2022 resolutions?
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