A Call for Good Advice, Prose, Poetry, and Lyrics to Help Manage the Migraine Life
As we navigate the challenge of migraine, we are frequently given unsolicited and unhelpful advice by well-meaning but ignorant friends, coworkers, and family. From the “have you tried” to the “my mama told me the way to live through hardships is to…” we take the brunt of advice we never asked for.
Helpful advice and migraine
That said, if we’ve been unlucky enough to live with migraine for years, we’ve hopefully picked up some actual helpful gems along the way. Whether through guidance gleaned from books we’ve read, lyrics in songs that have made a difference, or poems that resonated - there ARE incredibly meaningful words out there that can help as we maneuver through our painful moments.
In the comment section below, I’d like to invite you to share whatever advice, lyrics, prose, or poetry has helped you manage your migraine life. Let’s not keep the good ones to ourselves. I’ll start with sharing some advice that has helped me.
Tensing up and holding on
Many times, when responding to change or an overwhelming situation, our first inclination is to hold on for dear life. We want to cling on to all we know, all that is familiar. The unknown can feel terrifying. Similarly, when faced with severe pain, our bodies tense up - like we’re bracing for something.
The truth is, even though it can feel counterintuitive, sometimes the healthiest step we can take is to let go, acknowledging the awful truth that we can’t control everything. Physically, to relax our muscles and breathe through the pain rather than to provide more flames for the fire by tensing up. It takes a concerted effort and focus to do so but it may help us move through the storm if we can do so.
Resilience as an insult
Someone recently told me I was the definition of resilience. This was meant as a compliment to acknowledge how well I seemed to be handling a life crisis. Interestingly, another person told me that this is actually an insult. The word resilience refers to something that pops back into shape after being stretched - much like a rubber band.
My friend’s point was that we don’t want to be going back into anything. We want to be moving forward. I like the idea of linear movement when it comes to healing. The incorporation of new information and lessons that lead us to the taking of a new shape. It’s perhaps just the parsing of words, but I like the symbolism of bouncing forward, instead of bouncing back.
Another lesson, both applicable to migraine disease and any life crises is that of trying to figure out how to slow down and not get overwhelmed by all that is needing our attention. When we have chronic migraine, our energies get diverted from all that needs doing, and, before long we are facing an unmanageable to-do list. Often times the list itself becomes its own paralyzing stress trigger that sends us back down the rabbit hole of another attack.
Bring the horizon to your forehead
A friend encouraged me to bring my horizon to my forehead. In other words - to tend only to the tasks that need addressing today - rather than the huge looming worries in my life. For instance, let go of concerns about how my migraines are impacting my friendships and instead think today about whether or not I’ll use my limited energy to take a shower or make a meal.
These are a few of the lessons and pieces of advice that have worked for me over the years. Please share what has worked for you in the comment section below so we can learn from and support one another.
How much has your migraine disease changed or evolved over time?