Relapsing Into Bad Habits
As of late, I am exhausted. I mean the kind of exhausted that is in a way spiritual. For folks out there who appreciate puns: like a quarter at an arcade, I am spent.
I’ve been silently dealing with heightened fatigue from new medications, and daily throbbing head pain for what seems like an eternity. I’ve been incredibly stressed out from the constant buzz of a go-go-go society. I’ve had trouble sleeping due to migraine, and since I haven’t been able to sleep well, I struggle to feel energized throughout the day.
Making strides and slipping behind
My diet has gotten all out of whack too, which is pretty frustrating because for a while I had an excellent, migraine-attentive exercise and eating routine. Just a few months ago I had the thought: Hey, I am actually starting to feel good!
Sadly, that didn't last.
Still, I’ve tried my best to give the impression to my professional and personal circles that I have been doing okay. I am still making great progress in my work and keeping up with many of the commitments I make, and I've continued to work towards goals I’ve set for myself.
Things are not always what they seem
To many in the world, I might seem like I am doing pretty well, but the truth is, I’ve felt awful for a long time. I can see myself slipping into poor habits of care, even if I look "fine" on the outside.
If you were to ask some of my friends and family how they thought I was doing right now, they might say I was doing well. I’ve made great strides in my current position at work. I’ve also been able to hang out with family and friends, and have great Instagram-able photos to prove it. I’ve been smiling, and I look pretty good on the outside.
The truth is...I have felt good in those moments, but I also have felt pain. In a way, I’ve chosen to let the genuine happiness shine out in front of others, but that has come with a cost.
What does the real picture look like?
If you were to ask my partner and caretaker, G, they’d offer a totally different picture. Most nights, they witness me in bed, curled up in pain without enough energy to speak. I haven’t been eating well or exercising, and the smile I put on each day is getting more difficult to place.
I really do feel happy when I am hanging out with friends, or when I make great achievements at my job, so the smiles are earnest, but they don’t tell the entire story. Not having the entire picture can sometimes make it look to the outside world as though our migraines are under control, when they may, in fact, be driving us towards poor habits.
It’s not all or nothing
It’s particularly upsetting to feel like I am in a slump right now due to migraine, because I was doing really well just a few months ago. Unfortunately, everything came to a halt when I got sick for an extended amount of time, and I haven’t really found the energy or dedicated time to bounce back. I know that working myself to exhaustion, eating crappy food, and not moving around has only made me feel worse.
At the same time, some areas of my life are going great despite the pain. Dealing with the ebbs and flows of migraine management is never all or nothing, at least in my experience. It can be really confusing to navigate when things are going well and not so well all at once.
Making a best effort to pause and reset
I’ve been making an effort to get back on track, but the truth is, I’m finding it difficult. With migraine disease, there are so many factors that can be out of the control of the folks who deal with them. I’ve started to take baby steps towards re-balancing my diet, exercise, and sleep habits while being attentive to my health needs, and keeping up the good work and good relationships.
It’s a lot, so I am not beating myself up over habits that don’t change overnight. Cooking vegetables again instead of throwing a processed vegan burrito in the microwave when I can has been a good start. Walking a little bit when I can has been a good start towards getting back to hiking and running.
A well-balanced life has definitely helped me feel more in control of my migraines in the past, so that is what I am working towards again, and giving it my best effort.
How do you overcome and get back on track?
Migraines are unpredictable, and many of us who experience symptoms of migraine disease do so despite our best actions and behaviors. Many of us also deal with hard-to avoid triggers, stressors, and environmental factors that can prompt an attack.
What does having your migraines "under control" look like for you given so many considerations around "control"? Do you relapse into bad habits, like eating poorly, when the attacks get bad? How do you overcome and get back on track? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?