I'm Not Superwoman, I'm Just Me

3:12 PM chronicmigraineellie 0 Comments

Recently, my life has felt like a whirlwind.  I'm back in college, I'm taking 4 classes, running my acapella group, writing for my blog, seeking out public health internships and pursuing advocacy efforts. A year ago, I wouldn't have even dreamed to be where I am today.

Every three months, I get my Botox redone and like clockwork, the two weeks before bring my life to a complete and total stop. I missed classes, couldn't leave my room, and I felt like the whole world was crashing down on me. I was on the phone with my mom, crying, because I was worried that I was over-doing it. I had planned my schedule so carefully, I was trying to take care of myself, why was this happening to me?

It's not unusual to have ups and downs with a chronic illness. In fact, that's just our lives. In the past couple months, I've been more stable than I've been since my diagnosis. Yes, I've had some scares:
blacking out in class, false positive test result for a heart condition, new migraine symptoms, but overall I've been happy. So happy, that I actually am starting to look towards my future.
I haven't done that since before I got sick. I had dreams, but I quickly put them aside because if I couldn't even get to class, how would I be able to get a job? I had big dreams; I wanted to go into politics, I wanted to be a diplomat, maybe even work my way up to Secretary of State. The sicker I got, the less I held onto that dream. How could I ever hold public office with this dark secret following me around? I needed to be accountable, and in my eyes, then, I wasn't.

Periods of stability are amazing, but they can also be harrowing. This summer, I thought about the possibility of going to medical school after college, maybe going into public health, but either way, I am so passionate about raising awareness about invisible illnesses and migraines, why shouldn't I pursue it? Just as soon as I was beginning to get excited about my future, my emotions came crashing down to try and keep me in check. I don't know how I am going to be in a year, let alone 3 years. I need to pace myself, do things a step at a time. Slow down.  Just wait a minute. My life has built in caveats, disclaimers for everything that I do. No matter how big my dreams are, I'm hit with the reality that this is my life and I have to take my illness into account. Every once in a while, I feel like my old self. I have energy, I can run around from meetings to rehearsal, from events to homework without having to stop. These days are so few and far between, that when they do happen, I forget that I actually am sick. I feel capable. I feel alive. I don't feel like I'm just trying to get through the day, I feel strong and proud.

I should feel like that all the time. I should feel proud of myself for everything that I'm doing, but sometimes I forget. I can be a bit headstrong, which is great sometimes but when it comes to emotions it is definitely a flaw. Brain fog and headstrong opinions are two things that should never come into contact with migraine emotions, and when that happens, no matter what I do, I cannot convince myself that I am the strong and capable person that I am today. I know that it's not true, but there's something about my emotions when I migraine that pull me into this emotional vortex. I underestimate myself and my resilience all the time, which I shouldn't, seeing that I'm still alive and fighting 5 years after my life was completely up-ended.

Maybe this is just the ramblings of an intense week, and the aftereffects of a couple bad migraines and the botox, but for anyone who feels like they are not enough, like they aren't capable, or that they're useless because of their illness, you're not. To be as strong and resilient as we are, we have to have some off days. It's hard to be strong all the time, it's exhausting. It's okay to feel upset, but just remember that you are amazing. You are capable and you CAN do whatever you set your mind to. So do those power poses, listen to that song that makes you want to dance and sing, take that bubble bath. Even though it's difficult, embrace the moments that make you vulnerable. You'll only come out a stronger person, I know that from experience.

As always, have an amazing migraine-free week!

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