Collage featuring Black married couple, pair of wedding rings, ice pack, scattered pills

Getting Married with Migraine

Oh my goodness, migraine community, I am getting married! This feels like a big deal. Not only because it is a huge life development and I get to build a wonderful future with my partner, but as someone who has lived with migraine for most of my life, I have always wondered if I am ‘too difficult’ or ‘too sick’ to love for the long haul. This internal negative speak has always impacted my confidence. It has taken a long time and a lot of growth for me to work through some of the feelings of shame and guilt that accompany life with migraine. Truth be told, I will likely be working through those feelings for all of my life, but I have made progress on loving all of myself, migraine-droopiness included.

Navigating life with migraine together

Now, I feel affirmed that my partner is willing and ready to navigate this life-with-migraine thing together. My partner, G, has also been my caretaker for almost a decade, so I feel secure that we have a shared understanding of our needs that will set us up for success. All of that said, I am also already overwhelmed thinking about The Big Day.

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Getting over the shock

Anyone who has been engaged probably has felt similarly to how I did for weeks after putting my engagement ring on my finger. Is this really happening? Am I awake? Oh my gosh, did I call my mom yet? Followed by the intense urge to take a million ring selfies. Never before have I been so attentive to my cuticle bed. Ha. I felt joy like I hadn’t in such a long time and it was...so...nice! To be honest, 2020, for many reasons, has been the epitome of adversity and my migraines have been...not as manageable as I’d like. The bliss I felt from this news provided a bit of light that I had been missing for far too long. I immediately started scouring the internet for pictures of inspiring locations and decorations, and it felt so good to lose myself in the bliss of dreaming up my special day amidst what had been a painful few months. I’d nearly forgotten what it was like to truly escape from the pain of migraine, and this amazing news provided just the right prompt to lean into total joy.

Snapping back into reality

After a few weeks went by, though, I snapped back into reality. I am still super excited, but I’ve started thinking about the nitty-gritty. The euphoria and adrenaline also aren’t high enough anymore for me to ignore the pain seeping through my body, and I really needed to get off the screens after a few weeks of non-stop Pinterest board making. Luckily, my partner’s mom sent me a wedding planner in the mail, so I could still dream up my wedding day without having to stare at my computer for hours.

Joy turned to anxiety

Back in reality mode, I began to think deeply about what it will be like to get married while living with chronic migraine. Of course, migraine is unpredictable and, in my experience, has a way of stealing the most precious moments. My initial joy-filled shock soon began to turn into anxiety. Will migraine stand in the way of my beautiful wedding? What if I am very sick on my big day? How am I going to plan all of this in time? How on earth am I going to coordinate all of these details? Whew! I had to take a step back because the stress of thinking about all that could go wrong was causing me to feel drained, and my head was splitting---and that’s not what I want my wedding to be about. Instead of leaning into the anxiety, I decided to think about who I could call on for help, as well as what I could do to keep it fun, from the planning stage all the way through to walking down the aisle.

Planning for the absolute best

Migraine is certainly incalculable in many ways, and weddings are quite the opposite. Many weddings have all I’s dotted and all T’s crossed from the minor details to the overarching theme. So what does planning my migraine-friendly wedding look like? Well, for starters, I think I am going to take the approach of planning for the wedding I truly want. Oftentimes in my life, I have simply not tried things out or made concessions before I needed to because I feared migraine would get in the way. I don’t want my wedding to be about all the things that can’t happen, but rather about the possibility and the future I will build with my partner. Just getting my frame of mind oriented in the positive instead of the negative seems like a great first step towards planning for the best and preparing for the worst. While I will need to be cautious to ensure I have a support system in place throughout this process and make sure the day’s events accommodate me, I can still dream and plan for my dream wedding.

Accepting possible changes along the way

Accepting change is a part of living with migraine. Not only will I be planning a wedding that may find the bride in bed on the big day with a cold compress on her head, I am also navigating planning amidst a global pandemic and hoping by the time I have the details squared away, we’ll have a vaccine for everyone. But I am prepared to accept challenges as they come along. One perk of navigating chronic pain is acceptance. Peace, health, and safety are my top priorities, and I will still plan for the best wedding I can imagine! I know that if I take my time and prepare for changes along the way, I can get close to that dream.

Have you gotten married while living with chronic migraine? What was it like? Do you have tips for newly engaged couples? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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