Your Migraine Muscle: How the Condition Can Strengthen Us
It is without a doubt that migraine can consume, deplete, and drain us. On multiple levels and on many fronts, day after day, migraine asks much of, and takes a lot from, us. To this end, it’s certainly easier to focus more on all we’ve lost to migraine (time with our families and friends, being sidelined from our careers, etc.) than to give ourselves credit for how we’ve risen to the challenge it presents. But truly, let’s take a moment and acknowledge the strength it takes to live with this condition.
Migraine pushes us
Like a muscle that gets repeatedly flexed, overextended, and given weight beyond its capability, migraineurs are pushed to the limit with each attack. We reach a point when we believe the pain might kill us. And in the days following the harshest of attacks, much like a muscle that’s just been overused, we feel tired and weak. But that’s only because we’re busy responding, healing, and knitting back together on a very deep level. During this window (much like a muscle healing from overuse), we may feel sore, achy, and cranky.
Getting stronger after each attack
Eventually, with time and after repeated migraine encounters that bring us to our knees, we actually begin getting stronger. Almost unbeknownst to us, it happens on a level that can’t be seen. We become more capable and more responsive; more courageous and compassionate; more adept at handling the condition and how it affects all aspects of our lives.
What it means to be a migraineur
Think, for a moment, about the many ways you have become stronger and more able as a result of migraine. Every migraineur I know:
- Navigates logistical and emotional hardships and advocates for themselves with family members, friends, coworkers, doctors, pharmacies, and insurance companies;
- Endlessly seeks meaningful ways to be there for loved ones when unable to physically be there;
- Traverses the emotional landscape of guilt, anger, and sadness that comes with having a chronic illness;
- Feels at some point like a guinea pig due to trying medication after medication;
- Desperately seeks a solution to migraine only to be greeted with repeated disappointment when the stakes couldn’t be higher (health and wellness);
- Works hard to find deeper meaning in life and relationships in response to all migraine takes from them
How have you responded?
These are just some of the countless ways that migraine can both force and inspire us to dig deep and rise up in response to the condition. To that end, we are asking our community members to think about how you’ve responded to this extreme challenge and to tell us how you may feel stronger as a result of living a life with migraine.
Are you proud of the way you’ve handled a hard situation and/or do you feel more confident about some aspects of your life because of what you’ve learned about yourself from migraine? We know it’s a condition that can take and take, but here, we want to focus on how you may have grown as a result of it. Please share with us in the comment section below. We’d love to learn from your earned wisdom.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?