Nice to Meet You, I Have Chronic Headaches

Our new neighbors are coming over for brunch in the morning and I’ve been dreading answering the “What do you do?” question. I am now comfortable saying that I’m a writer (it took me a long time to believe this myself); it’s the follow-up questions I don’t want to answer. This is how the conversation goes:

Nice person: What do you write about?
Me: Health issues.

NP: Like what?
Me: Pain and headache disorders.

NP: How did you get interested in that?
Me: I have migraine and want to help others who have it.

NP: That’s too bad. How often do you get them?
Me: They are chronic.

I love blogging and am proud of what I do, but feel like a complainer when I tell someone I barely know about my headaches. It can start a relationship off in a funny way. I’ve said that I don’t have energy to be friends with people who can’t understand what my life is like, but I want to be friendly with the next door neighbors.

It’s so odd that this is a topic that I’m more than willing to talk about, but I don’t want people to identify me as my headaches. Honestly, I worry about becoming my headaches and thinking that others see me that way encourages my harsh self-criticism. Sometimes I feel like I’m over it, but I know that I’m not.

Is this my own strain of neurosis or are you plagued by these thoughts too?