I write this with tears misting my eyes. My headaches and migraines that I have carried with me for twenty years on a near daily basis are causing my soul to slowly implode. Guilt is the first explosive that is taking over. It is strong and has its own power.
Why do I feel guilt? Let me begin. I feel guilty complaining about my health problems when I know so many suffer so much more than me. The guilt is as constant as my sedentary lifestyle. What am I doing with my life? Why can’t I just go out and have one like everybody else. Instead I hunker down in protective mode, knowing my head is like a fragile egg that I have to fiercely guard. Family understands to a point. But since this is an invisible illness, they don’t always get that while I might “act” able, I most certainly am not. Yet I feel immense guilt for not living up to family’s expectations of me.
Sadness is another deeply raw emotion. The sadness is the next domino in line that guilt triggers. My anti-depressant works to make me stable, but it doesn’t eradicate the overwheming blues zapping my soul. I can’t explain why I feel so down. It probably is a component of living with chronic pain. I am not free to be me. Anything can push the migraines from moderate to bad or severe. I sweat horribly, so that even doing a simple chore leaves me saturated, and this in turn fuels migraines. What doesn’t fuel my migraines? No wonder I am so sad. And this sadness is kept under wraps. I hide it. It’s bad enough that family endures my migraines, I don’t want to let the depression surface. Thank-you, Cymbalta.
The last emotion I am bringing forth in this blog today is low self esteem. (though there are so many feelings involved in chronic illness). Why can’t I endure working? The heart is willing, this head is not. Work is complex. If a migraine is even in the background, the work environment can quickly bring it to the forefront. And I am generalizing to include any type of work, even the proverbial Wal-Mart greeter. Anything can be a trigger: smells, noises, gossip, complaints from others, customer relations. If you add in head meds, it’s an automatic detriment in the form of side effects. Slowness, lethargy, and forgetfulness are my main three. Since work is such a self-defining part of life, not being able to work is a direct cause of my poor self esteem. My negative body image and self- loathing diatribes also contribute.
Migraines have robbed me of so much, though for the longest time, I tried hard to fight them. After so many years, I can’t do it anymore. It has finally exhausted me. My cocoon of protectiveness feels like the best place to be. Validation, deeper understanding and connections with other sufferers are the things I need most in my life.