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Balancing Life Within Pain

I was asked to post my story as I have lived with migraines for 55 years. They started after a bad fall when I was 10. Now I fight daily headaches and migraines with auras, syncope and AIWS. I also have Fibromyalgia and all of the multiple issues tied to FMS/MPS, so pain and sleeping are always an issue, but mindful meditation and melatonin usually help until the restless legs kick on around midnight.

Needless to say, my life has changed drastically. I was forced out of my job of 22 years and into early retirement because I can’t be around any perfumes, detergents, or chemicals which will bring on instant migraines with only a sniff. I basically live in isolation now, knowing if I go out, I risk a migraine. Do I miss the life I once had? Of course. But I am no longer angry about losing it. Nor am I angry that I deal with pain every day, all day. Because being angry is useless, wasted energy! Energy that I desperately need thanks to fibromyalgia fatigue. This is my life now, so I go with the flow. Instead if I wake migraine free, I revel in the opportunity to ride my bike, do tia chi or clean house. Finding joy in these activities keeps me from dreading them! And to get my balance back? Well truthfully, I consider these painful distractions part of my balance! Does that make any sense? You see, I decided if this daily pain is always here, why not balance my life WITHIN it.

Everything I do is to prepare for the days I can’t do anything. Sure, it’s not much of a life compared to what I had before, but I no longer fret over what I’m missing. Instead I enjoy what I have. A lovely warm home. A caring kind husband. An adorable smart funny dog. Being surrounded by old family antiques and artwork created by my talented father. I have music, hot tea, plants, soft bed, hot water! There are tons of things to be grateful for and that’s where you can find your own joy. Holly Baddour wrote an article recently about embracing our pain and trying to think of migraines as a partner. I can’t say that I am quite at that point, but I can say that learning to accept my pain, to quit hating it, and instead walking beside it has made my life less miserable! So that’s how I balance my life. Living with the pain at the center of, but not destroying my life. Because if I spend all my energy worrying that it’s ruining my life, then what do I have left?

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

  • AZReynolds author
    2 months ago

    Thanks for your kind words. I like the muffler idea too! God bless you all.

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    2 months ago

    @AZreynolds thanks for your post! It just proves that even though we suffer from migraine and it’s baggage we can still choose to enjoy the life we have. We are more than just this illness, but at times need to be reminded of that so thanks for your inspirational words!

  • glassmind
    3 months ago

    Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

    In addition to migraine, I have other long-term ailments that cause pain and limitations, but like you I am grateful for things like family, pets and tea.

    I found on my own after many years of fighting to “fix” my chronic conditions that acceptance and finding the “balance within” as you say does make things better.

    I’ve since come across studies that show embracing chronic pain does reduce the pain.

    Why? Who really knows, but likely because our pain system is aggrivated by emotiinal distress. Pain leading to depression or anxiety about the pain, anxiety and depression amplifying the pain.

    I liken it to a muffler. Acceptance, peace, balance, meditation… these things muffle the pain. It’s still there, yet it “sounds” quieter.

    Where as the distressing emotions are those mufflers used in racing cars to amplify the sound and enhance speed. Ugh, I certainly will pass on enhancing pain.

    You are so right about anger being a waste of precious energy.

    When I stopped fighting my chronic ailments, I became able to use that energy for the things that I could change.

    Thanks again for sharing. You worded things so well!

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