By Chelsea (Guest Writer) –
In my own migraine journey, I’ve come to learn two very important truths. The first was the easy one to learn. It doesn’t take long for someone with a chronic illness to get it. The second, however, was harder for me to grasp. But now that I know it, I am stronger than ever.
Truth #1. No one will ever be able to understand exactly what you are going through.
It’s a simple fact that no one has ever experienced exactly what I have experienced.
In terms of migraine – the biggest challenge of my life – neither the migraine-free nor my fellow migraine warriors will ever understand exactly what I am going through.
People without migraines will often try hard to get it. My close family and friends have put out a lot of effort to understand what it is like to live with migraines. But no matter how empathetic they are, no matter how much time they take to listen, no matter how many questions they ask, they will never know what the pain feels like. They will never know what it’s like to live in constant worry and fear of the next attack. They will never know how deep inside myself I have to dig on my hardest days just to put my feet on the floor and stand up to get out of bed.
People who do get migraines understand a lot of what I am going through. They have experienced the pain first hand. They’ve experienced the symptoms and the burden that comes along with them. But at the same time, everyone with migraine is very different. Each person’s set of triggers and symptoms and circumstances and treatment tools and presentation of the disease is different from the next.
Our experiences are unique. Our journeys are unique. We are unique.
Each of our individual bodies, stories, and circumstances come into play making it so that you, alone, can know exactly what it is like to be you.
But this first truth isn’t the only truth. The second one was much harder for me to understand. For a long time, I was so focused on the first point (that I was having a completely unique experience that no one else could fully, truly understand) that I didn’t let myself see the bigger picture. I couldn’t see that even though no one knew exactly what I was going through, I still wasn’t alone in my experience.
That brings me to…
Truth #2. You are not alone in this.
It is so easy to feel isolated and alone when you live with migraine. All of us migraineurs know that all too well.
But what I’ve come to realize is that no matter what I am going through, I am not alone in this. I am not alone in my pain. I am not alone in the crushing fatigue or the feelings of being overwhelmed by daily tasks. I am not alone in the fear and the worry and the frustration and the anger. Nor am I alone in the hope and the motivation to keep moving forward despite all of the challenges I face.
I am not alone on this journey.
And neither are you. None of us are.
As it turns out, there is room in this world for several things to be true at once. It is true that no one in the world will ever know exactly what you are going through. But it is also true that you are not alone. And there is beauty in both of those truths.
I accept that I am walking my own path, and I respect my unique story. But I also believe in the power that comes from knowing that no matter what, I am not alone. That knowledge gives me the strength and courage to keep taking on my unique challenges one step at a time. Because even though our journeys are all unique, we still walk them alongside each other.
Bio: Chelsea Clark is a health and wellness coach and writer who is committed to choosing joy despite living with migraines. She runs her own coaching business, Cultivate Balance, where she works specifically with migraine warriors who want to take back control from migraine. Learn more here.