The College Transition

11:44 PM chronicmigraineellie 2 Comments

College is hard. Everyone tells you that it'll be the best time of your life, but they forget about the transition, and how hard it can be on your body.
My orientation and first week of classes were amazing. I loved every second of it and made so many amazing friends. But emotionally, it was so hard for me to keep my head up, especially when I had two migraines a couple of days apart. I felt like I was losing control, like I wasn't ready to go off to college. Thoughts like this can consume anyone with a chronic illness, because life is so unpredictable. 
For days, I put off telling my new friends about my migraines, until I felt comfortable enough sharing what was going on. I felt very out of control; I had a new environment, new triggers, my sleep cycle was changing. All of these pointed to me being terrified that I couldn't succeed.
Now that the first week of classes is almost over, I know that I can do this. I needed to have a migraine in order to realize that I can do this by myself.
It creates pressure trying to venture out on your own with an illness that is so hard to control. During the past two weeks, I've felt helpless, tired and confused. But never give in to those emotions that tell you that you can't succeed.
I've found that telling myself to break it down helps a lot. I use planners, to-do lists and calendars to help keep everything in my head straight. I'm enjoying college so much, and I'm so happy here. Sometimes, it's okay to admit that you aren't okay, just so you realize it and can keep moving forward. Never let your chronic illness, migraines or other, keep you from doing what you want in your life.
As a way to sign off on this semi-emotional post, I have two mantras that I have written in my room and that I say to myself.
1. Don't forget to breathe.
Whether it's a migraine, test or social situation that is giving you anxiety, remember to breathe. Breathe in, hold, breathe out. Do this five times and it'll help you calm down and focus.
2. You can do this.
A little bit of positive affirmation can really go a long way, especially when you say it to yourself. Say "you can do this," and you are one step closer to actually doing it.
And finally, a quote that I put on a whiteboard bubble in my dorm room by Jimmy Dean:
"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."
I love that, and hopefully these speak to you and help you through all of your days. I hope everyone has a migraine-free lovely week!
xoxo,
Ellie

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