Fighting For Happiness

It’s hard to hold on to happiness from the couch sometimes. It’s darned near impossible to hold on to it from my bed. Every day that I wear a smile, it’s because I fought hard for it. I am a chronic migraine sufferer.

I have kept plenty of food journals trying to narrow down the foods that trigger a migraine. I watch my sun exposure – a trigger – which means as much as I love the beach, I go sparingly and only in the very early morning hours or at dusk. I track my pain scale daily. I micromanage my life, sometimes apologetically to my family, because the decisions I make today affect my migraine status tomorrow. In spite of all that I try, sometimes I just can’t lift my head from my pillow or the most I can do is make it to the couch, where I stay for much of the day.

It’s difficult not to think of all the things I could be doing…if only I were migraine-free. Sometimes I wonder how much my life would change if that were the case. I wonder if instead of on the couch, I would already have my college degree. I wonder if I would be a reliable full time employee at my dream job and a dependable volunteer at the elementary school two blocks away. Sometimes it’s hard to hold on to happiness. Sometimes I lose my smile.

I have always believed that the mind is stronger than the body, and then migraines came along to challenge that. My migraines cause mind fogs. I cannot recall information that I know beyond a doubt is in there. My migraines leave me tongue tied, blinking silently as I try to think of what I wanted to say. In the meantime, the reason I needed to respond in the first place hides out in that all-encompassing mind fog. I remember the first time I sat on the floor crying, not understanding why migraines would render me stupid.

I fight for happiness every day. Sometimes I win with prayer and positive affirmations like “this will get better”, “tomorrow will be better than today”, and “every migraine isn’t like this one”. I make a list of all the things I would like to achieve for the week knowing I won’t do it all, but my goal is simply to accomplish SOME. I know that I can do some. I take pride in fighting my own mindset and that of family and friends who imply that I do nothing all day. Sometimes I give my medication an hour or so to kick in and I sit outside in defiance. Periodically, I work in my garden or watch the ocean from my car in spite of the remaining symptoms. I believe my migraines will respond to my positive mindset and by following a good treatment plan.

I know that I am more than my migraines but every migraine feels as bit like defeat. I insist on battling that feeling. I insist on happiness. I insist on maintaining peace of mind. My personal reminder: this IS real and I am not alone.

Do migraines leave you feeling defeated? What do you do to combat that feeling?

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