Miss Migraine: Learning to be kind to myself

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. A version of this post appeared first on my blog of the same name on September 17, 2012. While I’m maybe a little better at being kind to myself, let’s just say there’s still room for improvement…

“It’s not your fault,” my partner, D.J., said.

The night air chilled my fingers. I reached out for D.J.’s hand, but it was as cold as mine.

“I said I’d get the work done by tomorrow, and I didn’t,” I said.

We stopped at an intersection and waited for the light to turn. Our dogs strained at the end of their leashes.

“Were you in pain all weekend?” he asked.

I said nothing. The walk light flicked on, and we started across the street. It wasn’t just the pain. It was the fatigue, the vertigo, the nausea, the confusion and inability to think straight. It was the way the glare from the computer screen cut through my eyes, through my skull. It was the crushing depression, the despair that rose up from somewhere deep inside of me and engulfed me in darkness.

“You can’t blame yourself,” he said.

“I know.” But I do. I should have sucked it up and done the work anyway, I thought. Was the pain really that bad? Were the other symptoms really that bad? Aren’t I just overreacting? Just procrastinating?

Even as I asked these questions, I knew the answer: Yes. Yes, it is really that bad. Yes, I really did need to turn the computer off and lie down. No, I was not procrastinating.

Being kind to myself is not something I excel at. I always want to push myself, to fulfill my potential, to challenge my skills. I’m happiest when I’m working, when I’m accomplishing something. Too much idle time makes me feel useless and lazy.

But being kind to myself is something I desperately need to learn. I need to forgive myself for the things I miss so that I can move on and enjoy the things I don’t miss. Otherwise, I stress myself out thinking about everything I have to catch up on, my cluttered, dirty house, words unwritten, and finished pieces  not yet submitted to literary journals. I live in the past, and can’t move forward into the future.

Change rarely comes easy. It’s always a process, a journey made of failures and successes. Today, I’m taking the first step into that journey.

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1 Response

  1. nicole says:

    Hi! I found your blog from the migraine forum. This post hits home for me too. I work full time and have a beautiful 11 year old daughter. I also have arthritis along with migraine. So the fatigue is narly. So when I come home from work, I sometimes need a nap. I feel so guilty and my daughter doesn’t understand. She is an only as I can’t handle having another child, no energy and she resents me for it. She wishes she had a sibling to play with and I wish she did too. Really I wish I just had an abundence of energy to play with her myself! I push myself and try real hard and some days we do ride bikes and walk the dog, but some days I need that nap (I can hardly keep my eyes open). I just hope one day when she is an adult she will look back and understand. But I hope she never has to feel the pain of migraine and arthritis ever! Thank you for your post. I need to try to look forward and not feel guilty, but it is so hard when you have let loved ones down.

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