The Path to Nowhere: Dealing with Loss and Emotions

5:31 PM chronicmigraineellie 0 Comments

As I'm sitting down to write this, I'm realizing just how hard the past month or so has been on my body. I've experienced loss, happiness, and exhaustion. As much as I wish I could, it's been extremely difficult for me to put my feelings into concise thoughts. I feel a bit scatterbrained- like there are fragments of my thoughts and emotions going around my head. Maybe it's because I've had a couple migraines this week, or the emotional stress that I've been under, but lately I've felt like I've been trapped under a rock. I'm a fighter- I've always been a strong person. It takes a lot for me to feel like I'm struggling, but this was one of those weeks.

I felt so much physical exhaustion, the only thing that I wanted to do was press pause on life and sleep for weeks until I felt better. I did all of my readings, turned in assignments on time, I was doing everything that I set out to do. Well, everything but feel healthy. I started thinking a lot about the fact that I can't really remember what it was like to not be sick. It sometimes feels like I'm running on a trail, but there's no end in sight. I can enjoy the beauty of the world around me and relish the feeling of being free, but sometimes I have to stop and catch my breath or I'll collapse.

I think that there's a strong correlation between my emotions and the frequency of my migraines. When I have a migraine, I lose all ability to rationalize. It's like my emotions become a deep, dark black hole that you can't get out of. Something as trivial as forgetting a pen in class, or putting on a piece of clothing inside out will reduce me to tears. It's not exactly a great feeling, it's feeling intense anxiety and depression to major extremes, but only for a couple hours or a couple days. It's hard, though, because I often forget that I'm allowed to feel emotions. I try so hard to be strong all the time, to myself and to others, that when I get lost in these vortexes, I forget that they are just my amplified emotions.

Dealing with the loss of a very important doctor and friend of mine, I've been faced with a lot of questions surrounding my illness and my life. What would've happened if I had never met Dr. Graff-Radford? What would my life be like now if he, too, had given up on my case? How do I deal with the loss of someone who truly believed in me, even when I was constantly in pain and couldn't function? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but over the past two weeks, I've reached other solutions.

I was so lucky to have a doctor who believed in me so much. I would not be where I am, academically, medically or personally if not for him. I can remember the first time I met him how he looked at me and said, "Let's get your life back." No doctor had said that to me before, and I had seen at least a dozen at this point. I wasn't just a patient chart, or a bunch of symptoms, I was a person. The work that I'm doing now, raising awareness about chronic migraines and invisible illnesses, is for exactly the same reason why I loved Dr. Graff-Radford; because I want to help others realize that you are not your illness. It is a part of you, a part of your life, but it does not have to be the thing that defines you. The fact that we are still standing, still walking on this path leading nowhere, means that we are so strong. There is a light at the end of tunnel, an end to that trail. It just takes the right person to make you realize it.

I'm still exhausted. I'm still sick. I'm still an emotional person. But I'm also smart, strong and resilient. I am more than my illness, and so are you.

As always, have an amazing, migraine-free week.