Update- My Life and other Ramblings

4:40 PM chronicmigraineellie 0 Comments

I'm so sorry that I didn't post last week. My life has been a little bit crazy in the past two weeks, partially because of migraines and partially because of college. I did, however, end up in the ER two weeks ago for a really bad migraine, something that I had hoped was never going to happen, or at least not so soon. It was terrifying to be so unstable for that week. But being unstable and having to navigate my life actually made me more confident that I am able to handle the flare-ups that happen in my life. My professors are some of the most accommodating people, and it made me so happy to be able to talk to them openly about what disability resources I would need and attendance. I was on a 5 day push of three abortive medications, but that's what ended up breaking that flare-up. I'm writing this update because 1) I don't have time to write original material given the essays that I have to write soon, and 2) because I doubted myself and what I am capable of doing. I think that it is important that I realized how vulnerable I am, but also how strong I am at the same time. It is amazing that I can have a migraine and then drag myself out of bed the next morning and be able to be somewhat coherent in class. We migaineurs do not get enough credit for what we push through, so this is a statement of that. For anyone who is struggling right now and needs to talk about how they are feeling, please know that I am always here. I've lived through a lot, and am still learning about my condition every day. Migraines are a trial and error illness, between triggers and medications, it is trial and error learning how to navigate life through this.

For everyone out there struggling, I am proud of you. I am proud of you for looking forward and knowing that someday, this will pass. That one day, your migraines will become manageable and you can truly life your life to the fullest. Also know that even if you cannot, you are still important and your life is worthwhile even during times when you are sick. I know that this is a sappy motivational point, but it is so often that people focus on our illness and not on our daily accomplishments. It's important to feel proud of yourself if you're able to get out of bed on a bad day, and if you can get ahead in your work on a good day. It's the small things that matter, and the most important thing is that you believe in yourself.

I promise that next week I will have an actual post, I just felt like this was necessary. I hope you all have a lovely, migraine-free week.

-Ellie

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I Just Want to Be "Normal"

7:08 PM chronicmigraineellie 0 Comments

Living with a chronic illness can often make you feel like you are the farthest thing from normal. From canceling plans to staying home from school, the chronic unpredictability takes a toll on our mental states. While I've been a victim of this mindset, I've also realized that the definition "normal" is independent to every person.
While I wasn't a person in high school who was going out every weekend and hanging out with friends all the time, my "normal" was learning how to live with my migraines and still enjoy my life. Now, in college, it's trying to manage all of my activities while also managing my migraines. For other people, their "normal" might be completely different than mine, and that's completely okay.
It's important to realize that even if you don't fit the mold for a cookie-cutter student/employee/person, that's good. You have something that makes you an individual, even though it can sometimes hinder your general quality of life. For me, my silver lining of my chronic migraines is that I've become an extremely strong person who can deal with a lot of problems thrown my way. I've also learned how to advocate for myself, deal with people who don't understand my illness, and recognize when I need to ask for help. For me, that has made me a better, stronger and more mature person.
Now, it's taken me almost 2 1/2 years to come to this mindset, it doesn't come just overnight. I've spent many nights crying because I felt like I wasn't normal and I wasn't following the "track" of my fellow students. This just lead me to realize that while no one says it out loud, everyone is on a different track. Everyone, whether they have illnesses or not, struggles and needs help. If you look at it this way, everyone is normal, because there really is no definition of "normal." My normal is waking up, taking 4 pills in the morning, doing what I need to do, taking 2 more pills at 7:30, doing whatever else I need or want to do, getting ready for bed and taking an oral solution of another medication. It sounds intense, but this is what helps me to function. There is a set routine of what I do and what I take, even if my day deviates into becoming a "migraine day."
The word "normal" is independent, it takes on a different meaning for each and every person. In a society where trying to conform is applauded, it sometimes makes it hard to realize that no matter what you are going through, you are "normal." There are other people going through what you are going through, and you should never feel ashamed to take a personal day or to make excuses for your illness.
Become confident in your "normal," in your own routines. Become comfortable in what you need to do to make yourself healthy and happy. It's a hard journey, one that even I'm still struggling with. However, by struggling and accepting this, dealing with your illness will hopefully become easier because you won't feel like an outcast in society.
Enjoy your week, and comment below what you think your normal is whether you have an illness or not!
Have a lovely, migraine-free week.
xoxo- Ellie

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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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