Will Reserving Energy Now Mean I Risk Losing it Later?

As I write this, I’m sitting in a tiny house AirBNB in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Many years ago (gulp: 24), back when I was a competitive swimmer, I met a girl at the US Air Force Academy’s summer sports camp. We were randomly assigned to be roommates and, though I’m not much of a believer in fate, it feels as if we were destined to become lifelong friends.

B. has always lived in Albuquerque, a place that is very far from every home I’ve ever had along the East Coast. We’ve kept up through letters and calls, and when she texted me in June 2017 to say that she was going to get married in September, I immediately reserved the date in my calendar. I couldn’t wait to see her.

Prepping for my friend's wedding

If I couldn’t wait to see her, this person who has been a dear friend to me for two and a half decades, then why am I sitting by myself in an AirBNB when I could be with her, her family, and her friends helping decorate the wedding venue before this evening’s ceremony?

You here on this website won’t be surprised to know the reason: migraine.

The thing is, this one is tricky, because it’s not like I’m bedridden or anything. I’m sitting up (though still in PJs), looking at this computer screen without any screen-light-related pain in my eyes, able to function pretty well. What I’m doing is hedging my bets, hoping that by treating myself delicately this morning I will be closer to 100% this evening at the ceremony and party.

“But if you were there now, helping decorate and hang out with everyone, you would actually have more quality time with B.,” the sassy little devil on my left shoulder says.

“No, that’s not the answer,” the contrary devil on the right shoulder says. “Remember how before you got married you thought that wedding ceremonies weren’t such a big deal, but then you actually had one yourself and looked out at the crowd and were filled with such love and fulfillment seeing all those loved ones from throughout your life? You don’t want B. to look out over the crowd and not see you. Save your energy now so that you can go to the wedding later.”

So what do I do?

This is the sort of conundrum that my fellow migraineurs—especially ones with frequent or chronic migraine episodes—can really identify with, but people without chronic illness struggle to understand well. This is the type of issue I feel vaguely uncomfortable describing to a friend who doesn’t have chronic pain; thankfully, I can describe it here on migraine.com and know that I’ll find understanding friends.

So who out there can see where I’m coming from? When you’re faced with situations like this, how do you decide what the next move is? Have you ever made what later turned out to be the “wrong” choice, and what happened because of it? 

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