Expectations: The Good, The Bad and the Worst

8:29 PM chronicmigraineellie 0 Comments

As I'm learning to navigate my life with chronic migraines, I've realized that it's really hard to talk about what you're going through without people having the expectation that I just want sympathy. It's actually the opposite. I don't want sympathy, and I definitely don't expect anyone to take care of me. What so many migraineurs want to hear is that someone is there for them. Not that they're sorry, not "oh wow your life must be so hard." I appreciate people who recognize my struggle but understand that I am a person too, who just so happens to have a chronic illness. To me, it is more important to have someone realize that my migraines are a part of who I am, but they don't define me. I have amazing friends who I can talk to and they support me, whether they can relate to my problems or not. With my friends, I'll be very open about the fact that I didn't sleep, or make jokes about how I'm a human barometer, but to others it is very difficult for me to feel like I can explain what I go through without feeling like I'm burdening them.

Migraines come with immense guilt. We feel guilty that we can't make plans, that we are unable to function sometimes, or that we are letting down our families and friends and racking up expenses. It took me almost 3 years and starting this blog to realize that I am not a burden. I am not someone to feel sorry for. In fact, I've learned a lot from my experiences. I have more medical knowledge than most of my friends so I can help them take the right pain killer for their problem or teach them some of my tricks for functioning while extremely nauseous. I know how to give myself shots and I have an insanely high pain tolerance. But most of all, I feel like I have a greater understanding of other people's problems because I know what it's like to struggle.

As finals week is quickly approaching, I've been reminded of the daily struggle that I go through. I was very luckily migraine free for 24 days (24 whole days!!) an that ended this week when I had a two day migraine. I got very lucky and was able to function decently well through them, but it still was disheartening to realize that no matter how hard I try, this will always be a part of my life. While that may suck sometimes, I also realize that it's taught me a lot. For example, my time management is great, because when my head is working with me I get so much done. I also am great at functioning when feeling terrible, and realizing when it's time to take a break. I also realize how important it is to open up to people and talk about things in my life so that I don't get a migraine from not having my emotions in check.

As my first semester is starting to come to an end, I'm very thankful for my friends, who have encouraged me to open up about my migraines so much so that I trust them so much and am not scared of judgement from them. I still do downplay my condition when meeting new people, but I've realized that in order to educate others I need to open up about my condition. Change will never happen if you stay silent. If you or someone that you know has migraines, remember that it truly is an invisible illness and oftentimes I will go around with pain and not tell anyone. Remember that everyone has their own struggle, and that no matter how okay that a person may seem, they may be two seconds away from breaking down. Personally, I try to have a "look good, feel good" motto where even if I'm feeling absolutely terrible, I'll take the time to put on makeup and dress up a bit so that I can feel a bit better about myself. It's the small things that get you through the day, especially when you have a support system of people who love you and care for you more than just for your migraines.

I hope everyone has a stress-free finals week, Happy Chanukah and a wonderful rest of the week!