The Importance of Healing

2:26 PM chronicmigraineellie 0 Comments

Recently, I have barely posted new blogs or even updated my blog's Facebook page. I've struggled to find topics that I would consider "good" or "interesting." For three weeks after my last post, I couldn't even open up my blog and look at it. I felt guilty, of course, for my readers who checked my blog and found nothing new, and for myself as well because I felt like I was failing myself by not posting. Yet I realized that sometimes it's important to heal. Living with an invisible illness and all of the complications that come with it isn't easy. The pain, distractions and emotions are like a never ending rollercoaster that almost never evens out.
After my blood clot, I felt like my life was out of control. Here I was, a second semester freshman, struggling to advocate for myself to my doctors, feeling abandoned and overwhelmed no matter how much I organized myself. I had lists, too many actually, that detailed what I needed to get done. This ranged from doctor's appointments, to scheduling when I could pick up prescriptions, to when I should start taking said prescriptions, figuring out my current class work on top of the extensions from when I was in the hospital to trying to be a functional human being. I was exhausted. I was done. I spent too many nights crying before I went to bed for reasons that I couldn't vocalize. I couldn't bring myself to open up my blog and write, let alone allow myself to even start to process my emotions. That's the problem that I have. When my life feels chaotic, I push down my emotions so that I can function at "peak levels." While this allows me to get my work done, what I never account for is the fact that there is a crash. There is always a crash. And that crash is one of the hardest things that I've ever had to deal with.
Just as I was starting to deal with the fact that I was living with a blood clot, I had to deal with the surrounding emotions of my mortality, my ability to function and my happiness. When someone would ask me how I was doing, I would say "I'm okay." But I wasn't okay. I wasn't okay at all. In fact, I was probably the farthest from being okay, but I realized that not being okay was acceptable. Not only that, it was normal, good even.  The fact that I wasn't okay means that I was (and am) resilient. If I didn't deal with the darkest of my emotions surrounding my health, I never would have been able to process what was going on in my life.
My spring break was uneventful. It was wonderful. I was able to sleep, relax and be with my family and friends. Furthermore, I was able to process and think about my health problems with people who supported me and loved me. I had long talks with my parents and even confessed at one point that I had thought about potentially taking a medical leave this semester because I felt like I was not able to do my coursework. I remember sitting at our kitchen table talking when my parents told me that at no point during this trying period of my life did they feel like I was incapable of being in college or being away from home. They were proud of me, for how I had fought for myself and how I conducted myself.
It was exactly what I didn't know I needed to hear. That's when I realized that I needed to take some time for myself. I needed to start healing before I could even start to think analytically about what happened. I needed to not be okay in order to become happy again.
As migraineurs, our lives are filled with days and weeks where we're not okay. So often we push down feelings of pain in order to just get through the day. I've been in class and felt like I was about to pass out due to the pressure change and the pain that comes with that, but stayed in the class because I felt like it was imperative that I didn't miss the class. So despite all of our heroics, we need to take a step back and evaluate our emotions. We all need to realize that it's okay to not feel okay. We're only human. We can only deal with so much. Yet what I've realized recently is that I needed to learn how to cut myself some slack and not be so hard on myself. I needed to realize that sometimes it's okay that I only got half of my reading done that day, because I didn't sleep and it was raining or whatever had happened. I learned that being flexible and knowing that there is space for me to move things around made me happier, and in turn, I was able to get more done because I wasn't constantly pressuring myself.
If anything, this post is about learning how to not be okay. I needed to not be okay, to take a month off from blogging, to go home and sleep while my friends travelled, in order for me to feel better. Give yourself the time to heal. Have a nice cry, a hot shower, your favorite food. It's okay to not be okay, I promise. It's hard to accept that, but it's true.
Take time for yourself this week. Do something that makes you happy. And as always, have a lovely migraine-free week.