Friday, 7 March 2014

Migraine: confidence, self esteem and living a full life

There can be such a tension between what we want to do and what our bodies seem to let us do. I guess everyone experiences that as they get older but for me as a migraineur, I have looked upon older people struggling with their deteriorating bodies and have deeply identified with them! I was in my thirties when I first felt this and on some dark days, I have thought "oh my goodness, I have years of this struggling ahead of me".

Migraine is like a recurring reminder of your body's need to find a predictable, unstimulated, routinised existence. The migraine beast constantly tries to pull the migraineur back to a scaled down version of life. The migraine beast likes things to be really simple and safe. He is at his happiest accompanying me to work or social events or holidays! Hand in hand we walk to work and sometimes, like the children I live and work with, he starts to play up! I come home with the beast trying to set up home inside my head!

So when new opportunities arise that look like they could add a sense of reward and excitement, yet may stretch us because these opportunities are new/demanding/exciting/ what do we do?

I find myself as a working migraine mum wondering lots about how to handle my use of time. Do I say no to new things because they may make my life harder and may give me more migraines?

I guess health does need to be a priority as without health you can't function at all. But there comes a point when taking on some activities that bring you a sense of excitement, reward or fulfilment can in fact be healing itself. To live your life through migraine is inevitable when you experience them so regularly but somehow, we need to be able to put the migraine beast in his cage so that the effects of this beast don't permeate everything we do. I have found that working a little has helped me enormously in developing my confidence and self esteem.

I have gone too far in the past, trying to pretend that I don't have a chronic illness. Denying the Beast can also be detrimental to your well being. Yes, migraine is about awful debilitating pain and all the other symptoms but the effects of recurring migraine can cascade into all aspects of life...confidence, self esteem, career, social life. Denying it, or to put it another way, hiding it, is another way of adding pressure. I have realised when I keep getting migraines and get stuck in that cycle of pain, it would be better to be honest with those around me, especially my work.

So what is the answer.? I think a continued reflective way of living. Being aware for space, rest and unstimulating environments and trying to find these where You can each day. This is not easy living in a family as children and work normally present the absolute opposite to what a migraineur needs! So, an even more concerted effort needs to be done in response to the times that are out of our control...I find this a constant battle, a way of life and makes me realise I am living with a disability. Because of this, I have decided to tell my boss and be more honest. I'm hoping that will help me handle the load at work better and my attitude towards the beast.

Keep calm and don't let the beast take over.

MM xx


Anonymous said...

Keep on keeping on MM. You are an inspiration. As always I love to hear how you are. Hope number 3 gets better soon! x x

Migraine Mum said...

No 3 is fine now! Amazing recovery. I have a migraine!

AstarteAlison Moon said...

I found your blog after reading your article in migraine action, keep fighting, its tough but every day is a day we got through xxx

AstarteAlison Moon said...

read your article in MA, keep fighting, every day is one we got though! take care, Alison

Migraine Mum said...

Thanks! I think you are right. I feel pleased with myself when I get thru a day with or without a migraine. It is a major achievement for any migraineur to operate in normal life! I think it is a disability, especially when they come regularly. Thanks for your support, Migraine Mum.