A question came up amongst my friends in the migraine community and chronic illness community. Well, friends that are in that community. And one had been asked if she would give up one condition she had or migraines and she picked the other condition. Another commended she would rather give up another condition as well.
I have Fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, depression… and some well manage conditions. Of the three, of course, I would be rid of them all if I could but to choose I would choose the chronic migraines.
Here is the thing, I have had depression on and off my entire life since I was a teen. It strikes in bouts. It can be severe, moderate or mild. It can cause serious problems like in university my inability to want to eat, sleeping all day long and having a hard time getting to my finals… and flunking out. I took a year off to get that depression sorted. Because the Paxil he put me on made me worse, not better. I did manage it and excelled in university. But the depression returned and worse in my 30’s and I didn’t manage it quite so well. This time around I needed more therapy and medication.
Point is I am familiar with it. I know what it does. I recognize it when it comes. I know when I need help or medications. And now know the medications I need. I know see a psychologist is important. I feel I can live my life with it.
With fibromyalgia it limits me. I cannot work certain jobs. Period. I cannot do certain things. Period. I have to pace. And moderate. But if I do it well I save myself a lot of pain. I have learned over the course of two decades how to manage it the best for me. What to do, what not to do. I can live with it. I can work a desk job fine with it alone.
But migraines? They destroyed me. They ruined my career. They ruined my second career. They halted all hopes of even having a career. Just holding on to a freaking part-time job for christ sakes. If I can work and I can’t work well missing days left right and center. My capacity to work and be a good employee is Shot to hell. Not only that but they ruin my social life. It is limited and every month or so careful panning social life. Nothing more. No going out on a whim. Having fun and maybe drinking too much,… none of that. No going to errands during the day in fact… that leads to hellish pain and blinding auras and vertigo. Migraines are the slap to the face of anything you want to do, anything you want to achieve and any actual social life you want. Slaps you down hard. So much so I did Hermit mode for 6-7 years. And I think it led to that severe second depression I had such a hard time managing. I think pain itself leads to depression, but migraines, well they did a real number on me when completely unmanaged and daily.
Migraines made my live narrow and narrow into nothing but doing what I had to and getting home to suffer in silence. I mean the FM and depression were also in the mix stirring things up. But the migraines had the power and control. They also made me straight up have suicidal ideation. Helped by the depression, but the pain, untreated, with the migraines made me in raw desperate pain. I craved death.
So I would get rid of the migraines in a freaking heartbeat. But all of them are disabling in their own special ways. So really hard to make such a choice. I mean, depression can kill. Have to take that into account. Fibromyalgia is extremely limiting and the cognitive dysfunction is problematic all on its own.