Friday, March 05, 2010

How Living with Chronic Migraines Has Humbled Me

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The theme for the next edition of the Patients for a Moment Blog Carnival is "Who would you be without your illness?"
There's a lot of emphasis in our community about staying positive, looking towards the future, optimism, et cetera - all of which has merit. But too much deliberate cheeriness denies us the ability to think and talk about what we've lost to our illnesses. We lose our ability to grieve for the person we wished to be, which seems to me an important part of adjusting to our circumstances. So the topic this time is that person, and how they would better, worse, or simply different than the person you are now?
In thinking about this theme, I knew right away I wanted to write about how the changes in my life brought about my illness have helped me become a more humble, cooperative person.

Before my migraines became chronic and began to interrupt my life on a near-daily basis, I was extremely career oriented. I allowed myself to be defined by my profession and my career-related achievements. I only did things around the house if I felt like doing them. I quite honestly felt I was under no obligation to contribute around the house because I made more money than my husband and worked longer hours. While it may be the case that the fairest balance would have been for him to do more than half of the housework, that in no way excuses my attitude and complete arrogance. Whenever I hear of a guy treating his wife that way I'm completely appalled. Yet somehow it was okay for me to do that because I was a modern woman with a dynamic, powerful career.

Mind you, I didn't realize at the time that I was approaching our lives this way. It was only after I could no longer work that my perspective started to change. It became clear to me that wasn't the kind of partner I wanted to be. I don't know if I would have come to this realization yet if things hadn't happened the way they did. I don't think this awareness is a fair trade off for losing my career, my connections to other people and the ability to earn my own living, not to mention the pain I live with daily, but I do think it is important to acknowledge the ways in which something positive has come out of an otherwise completely shitty situation.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.