I like to think I know who I am, but when you think of all the fatigue, brain fog, neurological symptoms, and pain that comes with migraines… exactly who would I be without them? Or without fibromyalgia?
The answer being… who really knows.
I once had a migraine free day at work. It was blindingly crystalline with clarity of thought. With speed of thought. With retention of information. And with the ability to access knowledge. Every moment of the day I was astonished at the fact I could function so very well. Ah, yes, here was my intelligence. How I missed you so. Not this… brain sludge. So, yes, I would have clarity of thought and better short-term memory, retention of information, and access to my long-term memory. That without a doubt would be true.
And let us not forget that being in pain all the time impacts how we perceive reality and our emotional states. My mood stability would be different. How I perceived time would be different. How I thought about reality would be different.
Think about how you perceive the future for example. I perceive it as unpredictable because illness is unpredictable. I see it as something I cannot make long-term plans into without accounting for some extreme unpredictability. Including a career. Hell, having career goals at All is a concept I do not understand.
That is why when people say, I am not my illness… well, I know I am in part influenced by my illness. It and I have been linked for so long it has impacted who I am. Without it, them actually, I would be different. Just a fact.
When it comes to all pain I Know I do not know who I would be without it. I do not Know a body without pain. I understand most people are not aware of their bodies all the time via pain, but I am aware of my body during movements and sitting too long, or exercise, or standing too long… all these things will tell me a pained story. So I know I need to move or stop moving. Or shift. Or adjust. It is a constant communication. I can’t imagine that just stopping. I would wonder… what pain is normal then? What sort of pains I get would remain that are normal for my age because surely some must be. I also can’t image the migraines just stopping. I am just so used to thinking through them. Knowing they are impending. Feeling the thick prodrome settle on me and my brain turn to moosh. What a world it must be to move within it without feeling pain as part of your being.
I think it is a pleasant fantasy, but since I will Not be without pain it is not something I should think about. More I should think about what I can do to help reduce the pain. What physio. What exercises. What will help my pain. That is all I can do. And all the things that can help with my suffering. Like they do at the pain clinic. Meditation and relaxation exercises.
I cannot know what I am without pain. I want to know how to survive it. That is a better question and challenge.
Who I am with it is the question, is it not? Who can I be with it? What can I be with it? How can I survive with it?