By Wanda –
Hope, as an intransitive verb is defined as to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true. As a transitive verb it is defined as a desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment or to expect with confidence according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
A simpler description of hope is a dream or a longing. Hope is a verb. Verbs are action words. We can’t just wish, we have to believe its possible for this THING to happen. We have to INVEST in hope; we must invest time, invest knowledge, invest EMOTION in hope. Hope is believing in something we can’t see; hope is that wee small spark of light in our darkest hour.
So many migraineurs lose hope because it is such a challenge to get someone to understand what we are suffering on the level we are experiencing. You can’t show someone a migraine like you can a cut, there are no splints or casts to show off, there isn’t even a rash. Yes, yes it is all in our head, but it is real and migraines are debilitating. We look to the medical community for hope, we read the latest articles, we try the newest treatments and we HOPE something will work, just as we hope people understand what we are going through.
Thoughout lives as migraineurs, we rely on hope to keep us going; but, hope is a fragile thing. How many times have you tried a new medication with the hope it will help? How many medical professionals have you seen — from your family doctor to a neurologist to a migraine specialist — with the hope someone somewhere has the answer? We are begging for answers about a disease that presents in a multitude of ways, based in the organ we know least about. We can look at a healthy brain scan and a migraineur’s, and they often look the exact same. There isn’t any blood work to be analyzed. We have to trust and HOPE the doctors get all our symptoms straight and have some kind of answer.
So, again, what has hope to do with a chronic debilitating condition?
EVERYTHING! It’s hope that brings us together as a community.
It’s hope that pushes us to share our experiences with others.
It’s hope that inspires me to write! It is the cherished desire to find answers, the passion to hunt for alternative treatments that may help, going to see doctors with the expectation of obtaining relief, and the confidence we share with one another in this family we call migraineurs.
Hope is the dream of a cure, the longing that others might benefit in some way from our suffering.
Hope is, after all, the simple belief things will get better for migraineurs; that answers for hereditary, traumatic brain injury induced migraines, and all others will come about sooner rather than later.
So, how do you keep the hope alive in the dark and silence of a migraine cocoon on your bed or in your favorite chair?
You remember there are days without migraines.
Personally, sharing with y’all and the support I get from the gals in Migraine Mantras gives me hope. Hearing stories from other people who share the same pain brings hope. If you are having trouble keeping hope alive, feed the flame: find a migraine group on Facebook, read RELIABLE articles online (Migraine.com, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and NIH are all great resources), and be honest with your doctor about the toll migraines could be having on your emotions and mental well-being.
Hope is always there. In the deepest, darkest pit of emotion — hope is there. In the valley of pain and suffering — hope is there. It’s that simple spark in you that says “I CAN do this. I DO know what helps. I AM learning more.”
Hope, dear ones, is my gift to you this holiday season. May 2018 abound with new levels of hope for you and for all migraineurs. We’ve defined hope. We all easily know that chronic migraines are a trial on us — mind, body, and soul — and we have to accept this knowledge, accept the disappointments, accept the very finite understanding of migraines and the brain.
What we DO NOT have to do is give in to the despair, to the discouragement, to the pessimism of life with this demon in our brain. We can keep positive reminders and quotes on sticky notes with our migraine kit. We can talk to people with migraines, encouraging them and receiving encouragement from them. We can keep a happiness or gratitude list or journal. We can set small, reasonable goals for migraine days instead of getting upset with what we cannot do during an attack. We can even look for the positives having migraines might have ground into our lives, like the friends we’ve made in support groups, the different treatments we can share, and how much more we simply enjoy non-migraine days.