It is vital that we work to continually build up our mental, physical, and emotional resilience.
If you have to take a sick day off work, do you feel guilty even though you are legitimately too ill to physically go in to your job?
“Patients with migraine are frequently disabled during their acute attacks,” Dr. X. Henry Hu stated in a study on migraines. Hu’s data identified that the mean length of bed rest as a result of migraine is 6 hours for women and 4.5 hours for men.
When migraine or another chronic illness has the strength / ability to take it all out of you, it really grounds you. It can show you what is truly important in life. I know. I’ve been there. The fall was significant. The climb up was rocky – so slow and steady. Nothing is guaranteed. I’m still on the climb. Yes, I’ve found a treatment option that works for me (thank you, Botox).
When being stronger physically wasn’t an option for quite some time, I focused on building myself up mentally.
It’s been suggested that “the term ‘quality of life’ emerged during the period between the end of World War II and the Johnson ‘Great Society Program.’” “Quality of life was deemed to have been synonymous with the ‘good life’ and with well-being.”**
It means we have to take the power back for our individual lives. We do that by valuing ourselves, our health (each and every sector of our health). When we are done with that, we will all be like a brick wall, nearly impossible for us to tumble.
Ask yourself how you’re really doing inside? Do you need a little lift? While many of us have silent battles, we still seek a good quality of life.
The study found that “having positive self-esteem was related to higher [quality of life].” Unfortunately, “having a disability, carrying an illness or caring for someone within the family was related to lower [quality of life].”**
Look back a year from now and reflect, identify the here and now, then daydream a year ahead. In my inner circle of friends and family, I’ve witnessed people overcoming more than a handful of small, medium, and large obstacles. We got through it together. We learned. We gained a new perspective. We shared some sighs of relief. We smiled. And the “we” strengthened each of us as individuals.
The breakthrough moment in my life was when I discovered and nurtured my own self-confidence with migraine. I acknowledged and guided my emotions without letting the unknowns and uncertainties take center stage.
“Psychological factors, anxiety, psychological pressures, and emotional uncertainties are important factors of migraine headaches.”*** My migraine journey began with viral meningitis, but everyone has a different base in which their headaches are rooted in.
Trust me, I know mental work is tough but it is also a game changer. Being a sensitive person, learning to separate my emotions was a slow and steady process. The result? I am so much stronger internally than I ever knew. Side note: I’m still sensitive. I haven’t lost that blessing of an emotion. But, fear, depression or anxiety – whatever you may be feeling doesn’t deserve a front seat. Our attitude determines our direction. I can’t stress the imperativeness of attitude.
“Acceptance of pain is the first step in order to adapt to changes made in life in such a way that it makes the person continue his/her activity and try to control chronic pain.”** “Acceptance of pain is one of the positive traits of resiliency in patients with chronic pain.”***
Provide yourself with some compassion. “[A] positive effect of self-compassion is that it causes more balanced reactions in environmental stresses and it is also important in the treatment of depression and anxiety.”*** I am not talking about pity. I’m talking about compassion, understanding the process of what you are going through, and realizing you are at the helm of guiding yourself to better health.
I am realistic. Change happens when you start your journey to making positive and proactive decisions. My migraine journey is 7 years and counting. The hope, speedbumps, successes, and patience have formed me into the person I am and I am incredibly thankful for the entire journey, because I don’t want to be anyone else or any different than I am.
I confidently directed and aimed the arrow at success, at better health, and positivity. I became my own best advocate.
I learned very young that I had to be my own advocate. As an only child, my parents made the decision to not hold my hand and talk to the teacher on my behalf, even though I really wanted them to. I was taught that I had to “handle things on my own” i.e. be my own advocate and ask questions. Some of those questions were, “Why is Daniel getting away with pulling my hair in class?” or “Why did I get an A- on a science project that I spent half the year on and poured my heart into?”
Here we are, umpteen years later. It feels like déjà vu.
Here I was after meningitis, hugging the floor due to unbearable, painful migraines, asking questions, “Why isn’t my medical group sending me to a neurologist?” “What is the protocol (with this treatment)?” “How can I better manage external factors (dietary and lifestyle changes) that inherently play into the mix of optimizing my health and well-being?”
I’ve made a pact with myself – to surround myself with positive energy, influences, and guidance. What serves my highest good? I frequently ask myself, what life do I want to live?
Migraine is a part of my life. I’ve accepted it and I’m still enjoying the majority of things I love. I practice diversion. Migraine provided me with perspective. Migraine gives me strength. It put a spotlight and still does, on each sector of my life. Rightfully so.
Validate your strength. I hope my message has provided you with an abundance of motivation – for good health, success with your treatment, and the ability to guide yourself to a healthy, managed migraine life.
Being vulnerable can be a strength. Sit down with a close friend, a family member, or message me – truly open up and share your migraine experience and put everything on the table so to speak. It’s when we collaborate and receive insight and guidance that we welcome significant, positive change into our health journey. I want you to enjoy breaks from your migraines. While it may seem easier to shy away from medical professionals and ongoing treatment, perhaps this message will permeate into your health realm.
Vulnerability, self-confidence, and a proactive mindset are the three pillars I hope you allow to lift you and serve a purpose in your wellbeing.
*Source: Burden of migraine in the United States, by X. Henry HU, MD; Leona E. Markson, ScD; Richard B. Lipton, MD, 1999
**Source: A study of the relationship between quality of life, self-esteem and health, by Stephen Kermode and Doug MacLean, 2001
***Source: The relationship between mindfulness and self-compassion with perceived pain in migraine patients in Ilam, 2018
Coming next: Find your best vibrational frequency; set boundaries