Coping, Friends & Family, Mental Health, Treatment

Asking for Help & Beginning to Heal

Since stubbornness is one of my most prominent traits, I long thought sheer tenacity could snuff out the migraines. If not through willing them away (a useless endeavor), then by relentless pursuit of treatment. Instead, I have spent the last two years feeling like the migraines and accompanying depression had conquered me. Being obstinate wasn’t enough. Only by asking for help has my despair transformed to hope.

“I can do it myself” is probably my most oft-uttered sentence. When it comes to my health, I can’t. Sequestering myself only made it worse. The isolation wasn’t intentional. It started a decade ago with me thinking that talking about my ailment would automatically make me a complainer. It ended in November with me reaching out to my friends, screaming and crying and holding their hands as I fought through the worst migraines I’ve ever had.

Letting people know (and see) how bad the migraines truly are and the havoc they wreak on my entire nervous system lightened my heart. The severity of my depression since Hart and I moved to Boston is more than I wish to revisit. It is far from gone, but I can now see a way out.

People often tell me I’m brave for dealing with illness as well as I do. Asking for help took more courage than anything else I’ve faced. I was convinced I had let everyone in my life down. That canceled plans and unreturned phone calls (and emails and text messages…) made them love me less. Completely untrue.

If you are in a similar place of hopelessness, please, please reach out to the people you love. They love you whether or not you are sick. The rewards of asking for help make the necessary vulnerability worth it.

15 thoughts on “Asking for Help & Beginning to Heal”

  1. Hope I won’t weird you out when I say “I love You for this post.” I cannot put into words how much better & less lonely You made me feel in sharing your experience. It made me teary eyed with relief and hope. I’m going to work on asking for help more & trying to stop feeling like I’ve let everyone down. Thank You–as many thank yous as I’ve had migraines! LOL. And thank you to the commenters too. Misery NEEDs company! ;O)

  2. I understand you,as my tears fall from my face from joy,pain,and knowing that im not going insane.
    I have hemipeligic migraines,I deal with the pain everyday.It’s hard because i am an independent woman and i take care of my family while my husband work and something my migraines try to for years keep me down. Besides the normal migraine symptoms I have paralsys to my left side and stroke symptom(slurd speech,mouth droop)along with seizures.
    Everyday i wake up to a full blow migraine and I still have to take care of my family,i am in denile and one of my triggers are floursent lights. I keep going until I end up in the ER or the hospital. I may be very relaxed to get me thru the daywith meds but I do what i have to do.
    The Dr. tell me to rest and take it easy,ask for help! I feel I should be able to do it myself.
    I dont need help I want to be normal and do it my self.
    More I move the more it hurts.I push thru the pain and fight and act like its not there as i cry inside…. and the Dr. are running out of solutions to try on me so I feel I have to keep going it is part of my life…..

  3. I also suffer from migraines. I have since I was a child. What bothers is is the well meaning people that think they have had migraines and either tell you what to do to help you with them or the friend who says she lives with a headache everyday but thinks taking anything but Tylenol is fine! I try to stay away from those conversations but you do start losing friends that way, you are lost in this online world of friends that know what we are going through but when you need a physical shoulder to cry, no one is there.

  4. migraine is really a bad condition in which most people experiences, there are a lot of medication and one i find out is radio frequency treatment.

  5. Kerrie – I am 48 years old and was diagnosed with migraines when I was 20 – and at university. At times they have been so bad that I feel like I lost years of life. I also have a 17 year old daughter who has epilepsy (and I am told by the neurologists that the link between the two illnesses is huge). I’ve tried dietary changes and every drug therapy including topamax and all of the imitriptans. Recently I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist and we’ve been experiementing with EEG Neurofeedback at a migraine treatment. It’s not a cure – but I’ve had quite promising results including such novelties as going an entire month without a migraine! I wonder if this might help you and others…. it certainly seems worth considering.

    All the best…

  6. Kerrie, Please know your not alone. I’ve been in the “migraine maze” for 30 years. Two things I can suggest. Get tested for food allergies. I found out recently that I’m sensitive to yeast,soy, & dairy & since I’ve been avoiding all of that my headaches have decreased alot. Also, if you take daily medication, you could be “hyper sensitive” to it. A side effect of the medication would be headache, but for a “hs”person it would be a migraine. Talk to your pharmacist.

  7. Oh Dear Lord, I am there with you! I stumbled upon your site while looking for answers to soy-related headaches (which now, it seems, I need to return the soy protein powder I just bought). I didnt think anyone else out there really understood how humiliating it was to go to the ER throwing up from a “headache”, or how life-sucking it is to your family (with the exception of my wonderful husband!). Thank you for your courage to share your experiences, and please know that I will be praying specifically for you and your current situation. No, really!

  8. Kerrie – I just discovered this website. I’m sitting on the couch with an ice pack around my neck, having just taken a Frova, after trying something completely new for my migraines today. My headache doctor gave me a nerve blocker shot this morning (essentially a steroid) into the back of my neck where hopefully it will help relax those muscles and take the pressure off the occipital nerve. Might or might not work, but isn’t that how it is with all migraine treatments?

    I’ve long ago learned not to get my hopes up too high but it is so important to keep hoping through it all. I’ve reached those depths you’re in now and actually feel a little bummed that even now on the day of the shot I had to take meds… But I also remember the dark days before triptans for me, so I know that there is always something new on the horizon. Keep up the spirits – I’m also in the Boston area and there are lots of resources here.

  9. Kerrie,

    Several years ago I was in a similar place that you described. The migraines and accompanying depression was totally overwhelming me. I too wasn’t confiding in family or friends afraid that if I “complained” too much I would run them off. I finally sought help with a therapist. My therapist helped me to see that I’m not my chronic daily headache but that I’m a talented person that happens to have chronic daily headache. With her help I have been able to accept my life with chronic daily headaches. This acceptance has made a world of difference for me and my emotional wellbeing. I think it is important to know that just because I have accepted my fate doesn’t mean that I’m not still actively pursuing any avenue I can find to make things better. Looking back I am now able to see where I was going through the 5 stages of grieving, acceptance being the last step. I had to grieve for the person that I thought I was, for plans that would never come to fruition, and for everything that I thought I had lost because of the headaches.

    My headache problem is far from being solved and there are still times that I still really struggle with depression. But I can now start off each day with a better perspective and a healthier spirit. This didn’t happen over night and there were many times when I felt like I would take 2 steps forward and one step back, but I have come through it all knowing that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. I have the strength to make through another day, another week, another month and if necessary another year.

    Allow yourself to grieve for what you have lost.

  10. wow, I don’t know what to say. I have had one large gigantic headache for 15 years now. I am only 32. Everything you have said is exactly my life. It makes me cry to know someone else also experiences what I experience.

    I am still at that point of not letting to many people in on my headaches though. I guess I see it as such a weakness and usually if my husband tells someone I have had a headache they respond with “oh, I know someone who has migraines”. They don’t understand, this is not a once a month migraine or whatever this is non stop, depressing, life taking headache.

    Tonight I got online and was able to decipher my lumbar puncture results. Another difficult aspect of this headache is that my health is completely perfect except for the pain that drills my head and leads to neck, shoulders, back, and stomach pains. Many test simply reveal that my headache comes from nothing. I wish there was a cause so we could attack it.

    Thank you for writing about your headache. It has encouraged me tonight as I have felt so helpless in a sense. Ultimately, I know that I am never hopeless, I do serve a BIG God!

  11. “That canceled plans and unreturned phone calls (and emails and text messages…) made them love me less. Completely untrue.”

    COMPLETELY untrue. I love this post. And I am so happy your isolation is over.

  12. Kerrie, Thank you so much for sharing. I felt that I could fight my CDMs on my own for years and that I needed to make excuses and keep my suffering a secret. I have realized over time that the more I share, the lighter I feel. Shharing wasn’t easy and I am still learning but I know I can’t do this on my own. But, without a support system I wouldn’t be here today.

  13. Kerrie, it’s so bittersweet to have you back; knowing how you’ve been feeling and yet, here you are. I so totally know what you are talking about. It sucks to ask anyone for anything, doesn’t it. Yet at the same time, when we know someone is down, we will do all we can to help them.

    I, too, hear those words, ‘brave and courage’ but I never feel either. I usually feel guilty and insufficient for not being able to do things I used to.

    anyway, thank you for sharing. It’s so good to have you back

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