Welcome to Migraine and Headache Awareness Day #25. Today’s prompt is “‘YOUR Hope’: What do you hope for most in your journey with Headaches or Migraines? Please share with us about what you hope for and why.”
One of things that always springs to mind when I hear the word “hope” is the acronym “H.O.P.E.” which, in this case, stands for “Hold On Pain Ends.” While I do hope for my pain to come to an eventual end, it is not the only hope I have.
I have spent a lot of time feeling cheated by migraines. It sometimes feels as though they have stolen more than a decade of my life. I was robbed of early adulthood, most of which I spent in bed, doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms. The rest of the time I felt like it was spent trying to make up for lost time, to catch up on what I had missed. I expended a great deal of energy on apologizing for things that weren’t my fault and explaining or defending my illness. It was, in truth, not a great way to live. I was constantly rushing to catch up with everyone else and, in the process, I missed out on the days that I was well enough to enjoy because I wasn’t mentally or emotionally present in the moment. I had a plan for my life and, in my mind, I had to go back and check off each item on my list before I could move forward. Thus, I basically moved backwards most of the time, occasionally staying in the same place, but never really progressing. I couldn’t accept what had happened to me and didn’t know how to cope with it. To me, my life was “supposed” to follow a certain script and, in the absence of that ultimately arbitrary script, I was lost. I had no blueprint or map. No crystal ball. I barely even felt like I had a compass. I didn’t know in which direction I was “supposed” to head, what “should” happen next.
That brings me to my greatest hope for this journey, a hope equally as important to me as the eradication of migraine and other headache disorders: I hope that I am able to learn how to stop “should”-ing all over myself. I hope that I am able to spend time enjoying the present and looking forward to the future instead of obsessing over a past that I cannot change. I hope I can learn to let go of how I believe things “should” go and allow myself to accept and even celebrate how things actually are. I hope that I can learn to find joy in each and every day, regardless of how much pain that day may also contain.
I hope to turn my struggle into something positive. I hope to educate others and to advocate for myself and my fellow migraineurs. I hope to go back to school, go back to work, get married, and have children. I hope that I can be an inspiration for those who come after me. I hope to be a part of the movement that ultimately de-stigmatizes migraine and other headache disorders and eventually finds not only a cure but a way to prevent them from occurring in the first place. I hope that my children and grandchildren won’t have to suffer as I have.
Most of all, I hope that this journey has made me stronger and more compassionate, with a greater sense of humor and empathy.
“The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is organized by the American Headache and Migraine Association.”