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Thoughts from a Caregiver

Thoughts From A Caregiver

As a caregiver to a chronic migraine sufferer, I can tell you that sometimes things are challenging to say the least. There will be days when you feel like nothing helps. From time to time, you might feel unappreciated. You might feel like you are missing out because of your responsibilities. You will feel frustrated and possibly even angry. Unchecked, all of this stress can lead to feelings of resentment that will destroy your relationship.

My experience with negative caregivers

I have seen first-hand through support groups for caregivers, people who all but hated their significant other because of the toll chronic pain had taken on their relationships. These caregivers openly criticized and demeaned their loved ones on social media outlets to complete strangers. I found it difficult to stay in these groups and simply keep my thoughts to myself when such rants took place. I did though not because I agreed with these people’s complaints, but because sometimes we have to be willing to agree to disagree.

Have I ever had any of the same thoughts in my personal life? Absolutely! The difference is in how I choose to respond to those thoughts or feelings when I have had them. We all have wants and needs in life. Equally, we all go through times where some or all those wants and needs are not being met.

A life not according to plan

I came from humble beginnings. My parents did their absolute best to teach me right from wrong. They taught me to treat others, as I wanted to be treated, to be responsible, to be caring and compassionate and to try to be the best version of myself that I could be. Yet, even amongst all the guidance I was given, by the time I was 19, I had destroyed my credit almost beyond repair, before I really knew what exactly credit was.

Fast forward a few decades. I am now married to my fourth wife. I still have no college education and each day that seems less likely to happen. I have four very strong children who are all but grown and rarely speak to me. Not because of any negativity, but the miles between us makes it easy to forget to call or send a text from either direction.

I grew up on an island in northeast Florida. Since I was 9 or 10 years old, I’ve dreamt of sailing around the world living my life on the sea. I wanted to experience other places and cultures in ways that weren’t described in text books. I wanted to experience rain forests by the feel of sweat from the humidity, caused by the canopy of treetops. I wanted to listen to the sound of waterfalls pouring down over the rocks and smell the air in an otherwise untouched or unaltered place free from the smog filled air we are all so accustomed to these days, instead of learning about it all through advertisements and pictures.

My life didn’t turn out that way. It didn’t go according to my plan. Speaking also as a combat veteran, I can tell you; a plan only lasts until the first bullet flies or the first bomb detonates. Everything that happens after that moment, is a series of reactions and choices that lead you to where you are now.

A request for caregivers

For any caregivers out there feeling burdened about their life not going as planned, I would like to propose a small experiment. Go back to the first paragraph and reread it. Only this time, remove the first portion of the first sentence “As a caregiver to a chronic migraine sufferer”. Start from “I”, and ask yourself what else that paragraph describes.

For me, the paragraph describes every relationship I have ever had. For that matter, it describes most of my life; both personally and professionally, right down to the letter.

Your dreams may be very different from mine. In all honestly, life would be dull if we all wanted the exact same things. The point is that there were a million different things stopping me from achieving my dreams of being a world traveler, long before I ever met my beautiful wife. Her medical condition had nothing to do with me not achieving that particular dream. To this day, she is my number one supporter of that dream.

There is a common misconception that love is an emotion that can change or fade somehow over time. The same thing applies to happiness. In reality, loving someone is a choice. Whether you live out your days in a state of depression or in a state of happiness is also a choice. I chose to marry my wife, for better or for worse, in sickness AND in health. If given the opportunity, I would choose it all over again.

My wife didn’t choose to be sick, and she never asked me to be her caregiver. I chose to be that for her because I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

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

  • Muscojm123
    1 year ago

    Mr. Workman, you expressed truths that so many people don’t realize. Struggles and resentments in relationships; anger in people who feel their live’s dreams are being thwarted by their ill companion; and your analogy to your war experience to get the point across that things blow up, and plans have to change, and it’s all up to the person to react and make decisions from there on. Not sit and feel sorry for yourself. Life is a series of choices and LOVE and COMMITMENT are definitely choices. Thank you for your article. You and your wife are truly blessed.

  • Steven Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    I’m glad to see that the article resonates with others. I was initially concerned about how it may be received, but felt like it needed to be done. People suffering with chronic migraine or any other chronic pain condition, live in a constant battle every day. A compassionate caregiver can mean a world of difference for them. Sadly, many caregivers don’t truly understand just how big of an impact their presence may have on their loved one.
    Steven Workman

  • Holly H.
    2 years ago

    Also as a person with chronic migraine whose husband left, I love the line, “My wife didn’t choose to be sick, and she never asked me to be her caregiver.” Indeed.

    Then those great words, “I chose…” Yes, you did and you do, Mr. Workman. And it’s a wonderful, loving choice!

  • Steven Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    I hate that this happens to people, but I understand that it happens all too often. I am truly sorry that you were faced with this reality. My hope with these articles is to bring caregivers into the light. To help them see how important they are. I feel like the attention we place on people who suffer with chronic pain should be equally be placed on the caregivers. I say this not to inflate any egos, but in the hopes that at some point, more caregivers will come to understand just how crucial of a role they have. Their presence can be just as helpful as medication at times. Unfortunately, they also fail to realize how detrimental their absence can or will be. I wish you all the best. We are all in this together!
    Steven Workman

  • tawnycat
    2 years ago

    As a person with chronic migraines whose husband left, I can’t express much more than a very heartfelt and tear filled thank you.

  • Steven Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    I’m sorry that you went through that. Living with chronic pain is difficult all on its own. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be for those you care for to give up on you because of pain that is out of your control. Sending you thoughts and prayers for better days. Know that you are not in this alone. The migraine community continues to grow each and every day. We’re all in this together, and together we can survive anything.
    Steven Workman

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