My Mantra: “Breathe. Let go”
Hi, I’m Brittany! Most of my fellow bloggers here have had migraines since they were children. Personally, I could not imagine.
I grew up in Southern Alberta, Canada, where it’s common for many people to get episodic migraines as a result of severe weather changes known as chinook winds. Warm air from the Pacific Coast comes over the Rocky Mountains, rapidly changing the barometric pressure and temperature, making snow disappear and the dead of winter to feel like spring in a day or less. I had friends who had migraines induced by this weather event that confined them to bed in a dark room for hours to days. Plans would be canceled or rescheduled pending the imminent arrival of the chinook. I was empathetic to the best of my ability, but I really didn’t understand how a “headache” could be that debilitating. With 25 years of experiencing chinooks, I never had a migraine. I rarely ever even had a headache, and if I did, it was likely induced by a night out on the town; nothing an Advil wouldn’t fix!
My migraines started as a direct result of a TBI almost three years ago. I had a slip and fall as a result of a hidden patch of ice caused by rapid melting and freezing during a chinook. I hit the back of my head, the occipital area, on the stone facing of a garage. I was diagnosed with a mild concussion and advised to take a week off work with minimal brain activity (basically confined to a dark, silent basement bedroom) and life should go back to normal. If only that were the case…
Prior to my TBI, I lived a fast paced, busy life. I was a legal assistant to a successful lawyer, and a newly certified vinyasa flow and prenatal yoga teacher with a passion for teaching and practicing yoga. I had an active social life, my best friend’s 18 month old daughter was the light of my life, and I had recently fallen in love. I was one of the most positive, bubbly and outgoing people you ever met, and I prided myself on being the go-to person for a hand in need, a pep talk and a full-belly laughing fit.
My TBI changed my life. Post concussion syndrome turned into chronic migraines, which turned into daily migraines. I have episodes of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks as a direct result of my chronic pain. I’m now envious of my friends with episodic migraines due to chinooks. I’ve made major lifestyle changes to adjust to my condition. I’ve tried countless remedies, been hopeful that the next professional I see, the next drug I take, the next injection I get or the next hack I try will be my answer, only to have my expectations and belief in a recovery shattered. I’ve had friends and family cry with me, and at me, begging to have the “old Brittany” back.
It can be a lonely world, this life of chronic pain and daily migraines. I’m still learning about triggers, tips and tricks that help other migraineurs, and about various medications and treatment plans. I’m learning about mental illness, compassion, learning to say no and to tune into the signals my body sends me before I sink into the deep end. One of the most helpful tools for me, especially mentally, is hearing and reading stories of other people with chronic conditions and mental illness.
I’ve never blogged, nor done anything more than journaling or sharing a brief story on my social media accounts. However, I believe in community. Countless people, who will never know, have made an impact on my life by allowing themselves to be vulnerable and share their stories with the world. I hope that by sharing my journey towards healing, you feel inspired to continue towards your healing as well.