By Jorie –
For the last 12 years I have lived with chronic migraine. This illness has done many things: it has robbed me of enjoyable moments, it pushed friends away, it put strain on my academics, and it has embarrassed and guilt-tripped me countless times. But these aren’t the aspects I focus on. What I try to highlight in the wake of my illness are the positive attributes. Instead of dwelling on what I have lost, I ask myself, “What can I gain from this situation?”
To answer that question, I often have to look within and call upon my spirituality to help me. I’ve never been a very religious person, but my spiritual values have helped me through so much, and it is in those times of need that I use it to my advantage. So what have I gained from enduring years of chronic pain? Well, I’ve learned not to take any pain-free moment for granted. I’ve learned that time is precious and it’s more important to live in the moment than to worry about the next moment. I’ve learned to grow more resilient, patient, and accepting. I’ve learned that I am stronger than I ever realized and that I have the power to help people see their own light. I’ve learned that when I focus on the positive, that eventually, the positive is what arrives at my door step. (That’s called the Law of Attraction—but more on that later.)
The idea of creating this blog came to me over the course of many moments of defeat. Since June is Migraine Awareness Month, I decided now was a better time than ever to start this project I’ve kept in the back of my head for so long. Over the years, I’ve noticed that no one really, truly understands the reality of migraines—not even doctors. To the general public, a migraine is just a headache, nothing more—“Take an aspirin and you’ll be fine.” I’m here to raise more awareness of the fact that migraines are way, way more than a just a headache: they are a neurological disease, have no cure, and often cause severe disability; migraines are listed as the 6th most disabling disease worldwide. They are one of the most underfunded, misunderstood illnesses out there with only $.15 per patient going toward migraine research. How insane is that?
Additionally, this space is representative of my own spiritual journey through chronic pain. The inspiration came to me while I was pondering my own mantra—I thought, certainly others must have their own mantras to conquer difficult moments. And if not, I can help them find one. I can be that beacon of hope, encouragement, and love when it seems so lonesome out there in the chronic pain world. Migraineurs are at an extremely high risk of developing depression and committing suicide. Pain can be a dead end to which some of us have a hard time finding the directions. We get lost, we feel discouraged, and sometimes we give up. My goal in creating this blog is to help these people realize their worth and their strength, and ultimately help them in not giving up hope.
I never allow myself to let my migraines define me. They are an enormous part of my life—not a day goes by that they don’t impact me somehow—but they are not who I am. And I feel that I can convince others, too, that they are not alone and that their chronic pain is just an extension of them, not who they are as an individual.
Thank you for joining me on my new blog adventure, Migraine Mantras, and I look forward to seeing where it all goes from here!
~ Jorie, creator of The Migraine Mantras