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The Intersection between Hope and Acceptance

The Intersection between Hope and Acceptance

People who have had migraines for years know how emotionally risky it can feel to open themselves up to the idea of improvement. It’s hard to explain why this is the case. The process of repeatedly entertaining the notion of being released from unrelenting pain just to learn that it’s not possible is very painful. It is something akin to closing your eyes and pursing your lips for a first kiss just to be punched in the face.

There’s such promise and vulnerability wrapped up in the moment you allow yourself to believe that wellness can be yours. It is a huge leap of faith. You are letting down the armor that you’ve learned to wear after years of suiting up for the daily battle against migraine. You do so because the shields you carry are heavy and the idea of running free and without pain is so enticing. So, you try.  Because what do you have to lose? That’s what many people ask. What’ve you got to lose?

Well, let’s break this down. Hope is what drives us to pursue solutions, right? It’s hope for improvement. Hope for a pain free life, or a pain free day, even. Hope for a better life. Hope for more quality time with our families. Hope to return to our careers, to productivity.  A normal life.   When we decide to roll the dice and try this or that new potential solution or treatment for migraine, there’s so much hope wrapped up in that gamble.

Ironically, the very thing that drives you to pursue a solution is exactly the same thing you risk losing: hope. When the treatment du jour doesn’t work for you, that’s what you lose: hope. Maybe not all hope, not all at once, but with each unsuccessful treatment, it’s easy to lose a little more hope. It’s reasonable for your outlook to feel more bleak than it was before, because the deck feels  stacked against you. If this or that solution worked for everyone but me, what’s wrong with me?  Why not me? Why am I the only one that nothing works for?


All the while, well-meaning people keep tossing ideas at us left and right as if we’d be crazy not to spend our life trying every single potential treatment out there. We’ve all heard it: “Have you heard of [INSERT name of treatment]? I heard it worked great for my friend’s sister-in-law!  It completely stopped her migraines and turned her life around!  You should try it!”  Acupuncture, light therapy, massage therapy, chiropractors, ear staples, enrollment in unproven studies, and on and on.

And yet, there will always be the nagging hope that the perfect solution is out there for each of us. What if you don’t try a solution that is THE solution?  What if there is something out there that could help you? Fix your migraines? How do we know what works and what doesn’t if we haven’t tried every single thing? Of course, we don’t. But each of us has the right to determine for ourselves when to try new treatments, and when to take a break.  We have to recognize that every attempt requires energy and hope.  And with migraines, energy is finite. Pacing ourselves, and accepting where we are as we seek treatment solutions is important so we can maintain some hope.  While I am not thrilled with my migraine status, overall, I am at peace with the fact that I have chronic migraines and that most treatment solutions currently available are not well-suited for me. With that in mind, I spend what energy I do have with my family and doing things I love while keeping hope in my heart for future treatment solutions that might work for me.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Migraineteach
    3 months ago

    I have so many health issues and chronic migraines are just a part of them. I just love it when people say well you are just used to pain so it doesn’t bother you like it does everybody else. I get so depressed but yet I continue to work when I can barely drag my body out of bed. I fight naseau and sometimes the pain from my migraines never goes below a 10. I am above a 10 a lot of the time but I’m told that the can’t happen. Don’t you just love being told how much pain you can have? I have Grit, but sometimes after working I just go home and go to bed and then my husband feels unloved. I am desperate. I keep trying all of the migraine helps but nothing is working.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    3 months ago

    @migraineteach I’m so sorry to hear how excruciating your pain is. It’s astounding that you continue to work on top of managing that level of pain and related symptoms. And yes, it is infuriating being informed by others that we “shouldn’t” or “can’t possibly” feel the way we are actually feeling.

    I know exactly of what you speak when you describe giving all you have at work and then coming home, running on fumes, with nothing left to give your family. After several years of that pattern myself, I finally applied for disability to take the ingredient of a stressful job out of my life’s recipe. A shocking turn of events as I was very career driven. For me, however, my priorities felt completely backward in that I was giving all the energy I had at work (vomiting several times while there) and then having to watch my children grow up from my darkened bedroom.

    The transition from working more than fulltime to going on disability was a major and hard one. It did NOT result in a decrease in my attacks or their severity- but it DID remove an enormous stressor and time commitment. After which my ‘new normal’ has meant a calm balance that means I can take much better care of myself and have energy and time left for my loved ones.

    Everyone of us is different, and disability is not for everybody- I share this not as a suggestion, but more to validate where you are and the stress you are under. For me, it led to a breaking point.

    I love that you said that you have “grit.” A perfect word to describe many of us migraineurs. The condition can often force us to dig so deep that it can reveal a strength we ever thought possible.

    Thinking of you-

  • Lisa A
    3 years ago

    Oh Holly, it is as if your words came straight from my thoughts and emotions. Truly. I feel this way so much of the time and I feel somewhat “stuck” in this emotional presence. Sometimes I can take HOPE and really run forward with it, and other times it’s heaviness weighs me down. I love your M posts. Blessings for better management always. HOPE

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    “What if there is something out there that could help you? Fix your migraines?”

    Another side to this that has to be recognized is that the new “fix” might actually cause you more harm. But this is where each of us has to make as informed of a decision as we can.

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