What does Migraine and Headache management mean to you?
It means handling it like a…
Actually, pain management is something I struggled with for a very, very long time. To me it has a few components:
Acceptance: With chronic migraines, it is chronic pain, and with chronic pain you have to accept there will be pain that cannot be managed no matter what you do. There will be pain that slips through the cracks of whatever you do that you have to cope with using other strategies. And you have to accept that level of pain while having a certain level of quality of life to be able to live your life.
Pain management: You have to have enough pain management to actually have a sustainable quality of life. With chronic migraines this means abortive, preventative and rescue all balanced together.
Comorbid management: You have to manage your comorbid disorders to also have quality of life. That can mean other pain conditions. That can also mean comorbid anxiety and depression.
Without one or the other, I simply wasn’t coping well. I needed a bit of them all to begin the coping process. It is funny that way, coping. I coped well with fibromyalgia. Add in chronic migraines and it tipped the scale too far. There was a lack of quality of life due to unmanaged pain. Lack of treatment to manage the pain. Simply because I didn’t respond to treatment. And it can take a Very long time to find anything that even mildly works. Comorbid conditions can further tip the scales. And it is next to impossible to find any acceptance when your pain is out of control like that. It is more like a hopeless acceptance of a doomed inevitable fate of endless pain… and that isn’t the same thing at all. It is an existence, not a life. So you need the factors to combine together.
And what works for me will be entirely different than what works for someone else because my brain, my migraine disease, and circumstances are entirely different than someone else.
What does it Actually Mean?
It actually means the difference between just an existence and a life. Between living in survival mode day by day, inch by inch, and having a life. Between hermit mode and being able to socialize. Between incapable of functioning and having some capacity to function within moderation and limits.
There is a vast spectrum between survival mode and being able to have some quality of life though. And it is a slow arduous journey from one to the other. One step forward. Two steps back. Progress is slow. And you feel like you may never get anywhere with it. Ever. And when you do many any progress at all, you fear falling back into the hell you just clawed your way out of.
But when you achieve a bit of a plateau of pain management you can begin to have increments of a life back. And begin to cope. And find some acceptance with the level of life you can have. The limitations of that life. That shape of it. The pace. And you can add layers of new strategies of coping to it.
So it Means survival. It Means having a life. It Means wanting to live that life. And being actually able in some capacity to do so.