Pain Pals of the Non-Human Variety
Part of living with migraine or chronic migraine is finding the things in life that make dealing with the physical pain and emotional distress that comes with it easier. After deciding to rescue a boxer about two years after I became chronic, I came to the realization that one of the things that helped on bad days was my new furry companion. Over the years of working with a nonprofit and moderating in support groups for individuals with chronic migraine, I realized I was not the only one who took solace in a non-human pain pal.
Why a non-human pain pal
I am not being mean to people and saying I only want my dogs around when I do not feel well. There are just few humans, at least in my life, who truly understand that I do not function up to par on a bad day. I may be at a loss for words or simply unable to concentrate on anything at all. By nature, most people want to chat or physically do something. If I am miserable enough that I am just vegetating, I am not up for conversation or board games. The benefit to a non-human pain pal is that they do not care what you are up for doing. If I am trying to push through and do housework, my furry children will get up under my feet until I resign to park it somewhere. They take no offense if I want to curl up with the TV on or just in the dark. They can truly sense my pain and curl up ever so close by wherever I have happened to collapse for the time being. On an honest note, yes this has occasionally involved my kitchen floor or another floor area in the house. They do not need me to talk to them or cook dinner for them. They are happy to just be cuddling with me, even on the hardwood floor if that’s where I am. If I find myself sitting in the tub with a hot shower pouring over me, they are laid out across my bathroom floor and occasionally poking their heads past the shower curtain.
Benefits of a pain pal pet
There are many benefits to our furry pain pals. One of the main benefits is how they decrease the sense of loneliness that individuals with migraine can be faced with regularly. Primarily for the reasons I explained earlier, it is not much fun for somebody else to just sit there while the individual with migraine tries to sleep it off; therefore the person with migraine ends up spending a large amount of time alone. By having a pain pal, this creates a sense of not being alone which helps to increase a sense of safety and security. Granted my fur brats are love bugs and most likely to drool on you, but when they know I am in extreme pain one of them becomes very protective of me. Many different types of animals are naturally in tune with their owner or their person’s emotions. This is how my dogs know when my pain is extremely high and that I need to stop doing chores. They can also sense when we become scared or anxious. One of my dogs knows when I am becoming anxious sometimes even before I even do and has helped wake me up from a night terror a time or two. They can help increases an individual’s activity and motivation to do things by playing with their pain pal or taking them for walks. It can be hard not to laugh when your pet does something silly, even when you are in a lot of pain. So this is most definitely a benefit because our pets do cute things all the time. Our furry pain pals can also reduce stress and create a calming sensation in their owners when they are requiring petting or some cuddling time, which mine do frequently.
An unpayable debt
At the end of the day, our non-human pain pals provide us with so many benefits. Some of their qualities are definitely things that one may find in a very special human companion but those individuals are very rare. Our pain pals present us with an unconditional love that knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter to them if we have a houseful of family or if it is just us and them, they are committed to us for the long haul. We do not have to worry that they are going to get tired of our bad days and leave or anything along those lines.
Do you have non-human pain pals? If so, in what ways do they help you cope with everything you are going through with your migraine?
How much has your migraine disease changed or evolved over time?