By Laura –
You know the saying “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer?” Well, my health invaders — migraines, anxiety and depression — and I have become uncomfortably close again this fall. You may have noticed my blogs in November have been less frequent and the posts a little shorter. This is simply because fall is my worst time of year for migraines.
For the past three years, I’ve lived in a constant state of migraine for most of October, November and December. The first year I coined, “Death December” and last year became “Fuck All Fall”. This year’s theme? “Why didn’t I see this coming?”
Adding to the clichés, it was easy for me to think “third times the charm” and this #migraineseason would be smooth sailing.
Nope. Nadda. I assumed and made an ASS out of U and ME.
1) I thought I had my diet in check.
2) I thought I had the energy to maintain a blog, start a business, start sharing my health story AND live life. (PS – To these last two points. Online grocery shopping and delivery SAVED me).
3) I thought I had accepted migraines as a part of my life and I could move on.
But I didn’t. I had bits and pieces of these tools but hindsight has shown me how to be better prepared for next year.
1) Food as fuel
I’m going to be making and stocking up on freezer-friendly, quick-to-make, migraine-friendly recipes to have on hand for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having foods that are low-carb, high-protein, high fat and refined sugar-free on hand are crucial for surviving a migraine. And they have to be easy to prepare or snack on. Standing for long periods of time, even moving to open/close the oven can be extremely difficult when you are in migraine mode. You need nourishing food, fast.
2) Planning and balancing are key to not letting migraines run your life
I’ll be prepping many more blogs before #migraineseason hits next year. I’ve also been gathering tips and tricks on how to make my business run more efficiently. And next year, we’re not putting any travel plans on our calendar for October or November.
This can be applied to any area of your life if you have chronic illness. If you know a particular time of year affects you more than others, plan ahead! It takes the stress away from running a business or trying to fit in work and fun on your few “good” days. Automate what you can, let your audience/co-workers/clients know what’s happening , schedule your email to send out notes that your reply time might be longer than usual (Trust me, they will be understanding. ALL OF YOU HAVE <3). Add on more time for deadlines, take on less and say no more. It’s a-ok when your health depends on it.
3) Acceptance isn’t permanent
Honestly, I thought when I had my big “AHA” moment and accepted migraines were a part of my life that the feeling would continue on forever. HA! Guess what? Those “Why is this happening to me?,” “What did I do wrong?,” “How am I going to live with this for the rest of my life?” type of questions allllll started running through my mind again — throwing my anxiety and depression into overdrive too.
Luckily, I knew better and knew that those thoughts were only causing more pain. So, I dialed up my counselor (I use Better Help) and we had a good chat about how in the moment, acceptance feels permanent. But it’s not. Acceptance, like migraines and chronic illness is not a linear, solid thing. It ebbs and flows, has ups and downs and can disappear if you don’t nurture it. Plus, it’s completely normal for my thoughts, feelings, emotions and lack of acceptance to be triggered by #migraineseason because it is the reason I had to quit full-time work three years ago. I’m currently working on bringing the calmness of acceptance back into my mind, body and soul.
So, here I am in December, finally with a moment and a head clear enough to hopefully convey my lessons and say thank you for sticking by me for another #migraineseason. Your love, support and well-wishes and patience have not gone unnoticed and are very much appreciated at 2am when the world feels like it’s crashing down.