Woman sitting on couch practicing self-care and recieving text and picture messages from her husband who is at a concert.

When Self-Care Looks Self-Ish

My brain has a mind of its own. Some days I’m totally fine with this, like when it craves large slices of chocolate cake. Then there are the days when I’d like to change its mind. Sadly, my brain never seems to have second thoughts. When this happens, I must work with the choices available to me. So, that particular evening I did what I could do: I kissed my husband goodbye, left my pre-schooler with the babysitter, and trudged upstairs. I was having a date night with myself.

When migraine ruins plans

“Are you ready to go?” my husband asked.

Funny, I’d been asking myself that question all day. The babysitter had been booked, and my outfit picked out, because my husband and I were going to a concert that night. Then Murphy’s Law (the popular law of nature that states if one didn’t have a migraine before a special event, one will get a migraine before said special event) declared the entire day to be a struggle.

Earlier that morning, my mind had woken me with dreams of a woodpecker tapping at my head. The tiny bird had turned out to be the beginning of a migraine. Thankfully, I was able to avoid it by taking my abortive medicine in time. All day long, though, I felt like I’d been one blink away from a whole team of woodpeckers retuning. Was I ready to go?

Disappointing my husband

I’d been doing my best to take it easy. As the day went on, however, I understood that taking my sensitive brain out to hear loud music and watch strobe lights flicker was going to send it into overload. My fear of spending long days in bed dealing with migraines won out. I wasn’t ready to go.

“Honey, I think you should go without me.”

“I thought you didn’t have a migraine...” My husband’s voice trailed off in confusion and disappointment.

My stomach felt empty as I explained that I might get one. The more I explained, the quieter he became. His disappointment hung heavy in the room, and I understood why: Standing in front of the man I love with no migraine to give me away, I look like a totally healthy woman telling my hubby to go on a date by himself.

Knowing the importance of practicing regular self-care

My invisible disorder can make it difficult for people to remember that I’m forced to practice a version of self-care that’s more extensive than simply going out for a mani/pedi once a week. It can feel mighty selfish, because short of dancing naked in the moonlight, I’ll do anything to stop the pain of a migraine. (Alright, I might even dance naked.) My version of self-care puts me first.

I probably could’ve canceled the babysitter (something else to make me look selfish), but I chose a date night in with me. I got some rest and later my husband texted pictures from the show, so in a sense, we went together. And I didn’t have one dream about a woodpecker…

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