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Acceptance of Migraine, Chronic Illness

In Acceptance, Not Resignation on Migraine.com, I think I’ve finally captured how empowering it has been for me to accept that I have chronic migraine rather than constantly fighting against it. As with most of what I write for Migraine.com, this piece is migraine-focused, but it could apply for any headache disorder or, really, any chronic illness. An excerpt:

I have given up on the idea that my life can only be good if I’m migraine-free. And by accepting that I will always have migraine, I have lessened it’s control over me.

By accepting that migraine is here to stay, I have stopped waiting to get my life back. Instead of wishing and waiting to feel better before I can laugh and play again, I’m more able to enjoy all that I do have and can do, even (or maybe especially) the small pleasures.

This may be my favorite post ever, not for my writing, but for everything the post represents. It seems paradoxical, but accepting migraine as a chronic illness that will always be with me has improved my life immeasurably. I’ve written about it before, though this is the first time that I feel like I really got to the heart of it.

What do you think of acceptance? Has it helped you? Or do you think it’s an absurd idea?

9 Responses to Acceptance of Migraine, Chronic Illness

  1. Kate says:

    Very well written. I especially liked “I have given up on the idea that my life can only be good if I’m migraine-free”. I too think it is important to accept the condition, and believe it has helped me. It takes time though. I don’t let the pain stop me from feeling like my life is fulfilled. Everyone will have things that they need to overcome in life, whether its problems with health, money, relationships, or otherwise. They shouldn’t define us. I try to find some positive aspects of my constant headache, such that it has made me a much stronger person. Best wishes.

  2. Gail says:

    I completely agree that fighting against the reality of having migraines makes it worse. Thanks for your thoughtful ideas

  3. Gourdjus says:

    Exceptionally written! I, too, have been battling this same “acceptance” in my life. I realize that I need to start listening to MYSELF, rather than my friends and family. I know I will keep searching for relief and trying new treatments, not just for Me but for my Children, Grandchildren and so on.
    I have talked about accepting that fact that I may have migraines forever when talking with friends & family. I never receive a positive response. I get, “why are you giving up? or “what do you mean?….you’re not going to fight to get your life back? or Why do you take your medication with you all the time?..you are making your mind think about having a migraine so then you Will have one.” etc…etc. HA! MY Thoughts are this, it’s like having your first baby. Your life changes Completely the moment your give birth (with migraines there isn’t the excitement, of course). When the baby starts the endless crying, you try everything to comfort the child, sometimes, you begin to panic (oh my.we must go to the hospital…yada yada). When you take your baby out shopping or to travel to see family, you pack EVERYTHING……(just in case). As new parents, you learn, you grow, you ACCEPT the fact that you can’t just drive to the store quickly, it takes planning and being prepared. YOU ACCEPT & plan things differently because IT’S A NEW CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE. I’ve been struggling with MY New Chapter, “Chronic Illness”..page 1 of ????. I’m learning, everyday! Seeking support & support group forums. I know that I’m NOT alone. I will NEVER GIVE UP!

  4. Cindy Boily says:

    Well said. I had a similar experience and have taken my life back.

    Thank you for sharing
    Cindy

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I’m glad it’s helping you all, too.

    Kerrie

  6. Samantha says:

    Your article have encouraged me so much! I have learned to accept that I migraines, 2 a month. By the time I get over one, it’s time for another one. I have refused to let it get in the way of living my life. I cannot change the circumstance, so it will not change me!

  7. lindsay earle says:

    Thank you for writing as much as you do, for articulating so well what I and my family have been going through. I had tears in my eyes last night as I was telling my husband, “I don’t feel alone anymore!” He was the one who found your blog and your entries on migraine.com and was so happy to show me because he knew how much encouragement it would give me, to put it lightly. I had happy tears all day yesterday as I read and read, and that was while I was in the middle of a debilitating “attack” as I call them. 🙂 Your writings here and on migraine.com have made me feel like you’re reading my mind. I want to tell you how much comfort it’s brought me. I was diagnosed in December of last year with Chronic Migraine and so in many ways I feel like I’m just starting my journey. “By accepting that migraine is here to stay, I have lessened it’s control over me.” So perfectly put… and maybe it’s just me but I feel like acceptance hasn’t been a one-time thing. I feel like I have to wake up every morning and “re-accept” it. Maybe one day it will come more naturally but for now, because i just received my diagnosis last year, I’m still taking it day by day. 🙂 I’ve been devouring your writings and just wanted to leave a note of thanks.

    • Thank you, Lindsay. I’m so glad my writing is helpful for you. Great point about having to re-accept it day after day. I’ve also found acceptance isn’t linear (lots of back and forth) and it is ever-changing. Taking it day-by-day is a fantastic approach — it can help chronic migraine feel a little less overwhelming. Best of luck in finding an effective treatment.

      Take care,
      Kerrie

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