Living Well with One of the World’s Top 10 Most Disabling Conditions
Living Well with One of the World’s Top 10 Most Disabling Conditions – Migraine disease affects approximately 13% of the U.S. population, and it’s considered one of the top 10 most disabling conditions in the world. People living with the disease experience a multitude of symptoms in addition to the well-known severe headache, including sensitivity to light and noise, difficulty speaking or understanding language, brain fog and mental confusion, vertigo, nausea, visual disturbances, fatigue, and more. That doesn’t mean, however, that those of us with migraine have to suffer.
With any illness, pain is inevitable. Misery is not. To live well–joyfully and completely–with any chronic condition, we must know the difference.
Our thoughts create our reality as much as our physical experiences. While this can be a difficult concept to hold on to in the midst of excruciating pain and a myriad of other disabling symptoms, it’s a very real one. One that often makes all the difference.
Science tells us (through studies on learned helplessness, quality of life, and chronic pain) that healthy acceptance is key to qualify of life. With acceptance, we can stop imagining the life we wished we had and enjoy the life we do. Without acceptance, joy is hard to find.
But what does healthy acceptance look like? Does accepting our lives as they are mean we quit trying to get better or advocating for better treatments? Does it mean we give up?
Of course not! It means we accept each moment as it comes, for what it is: a moment.
There are days I can’t walk without sliding against the wall because I’m experiencing such vertigo I can’t trust my own feet. There are days I can’t write because the numbness in my right hand makes me too clumsy to hold my pen. There are days I can’t work because the computer screen in front of me keeps blurring and moving and fading in and out.
Still, I’m happy.
I know these moments are only moments. They may be frustrating. They may be painful. They are often annoying. But they are not the sum total of my life, and they don’t last forever.
This perspective enables me to enjoy the parts of my life that truly matter: my work, my kids, my husband. It helps me remember, even in the worst of moments, that this too shall pass. Eudora Welty supposedly said, “The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.” If everything is temporary, I’d much rather go looking for the joy. It’s such a happier, healthier thing to find.
About the Author:
Sarah Hackley is the editor for Absolute Love Publishing. She’s also an author and poet living–and thriving–with intractable chronic migraine. Her books Finding Happiness with Migraines min-e-book™ and Prep