Even the tail lights are too bright during a migraine. I try to avoid driving at night whenever possible because the headlights are painful and blinding. I wear special glasses that reduce the glare otherwise all I see is bright light drowning out everything else. The migraines only come a couple of days each week now, and I can manage that. There was a time when they came virtually every day and driving felt like torture. I’d keep a bowl or large plastic cup next to me because nausea, my migraines best friend, often resulted in vomiting – yes, while I was driving.
I only drove to take the kids to and from school and to see the doctor. I couldn’t drive alone at night because I had to close my eyes at stoplights and needed one of my kids to tell me when the light turned green. The tail lights from cars in front of me were too bright, and the headlights from cars on the other side of the intersection flashed in the dark when traffic moved by which exacerbated my feeling of nausea. It probably wasn’t safe for me to be driving, but there was no other option. Headlights hurt when shining in my eyes and they will never be my friend.
This is an incredible quote by Anne Frank. Despite all the misery, hate and sorrow in the word there is still abundant beauty. I can see it in the smiling faces of my children, and in the warm greeting, I get from the dog every, single time I come home. The trees still leaf out every spring, the grass greens up, and the flowers bloom. The wind blows and clears the air, and the snow covers everything in clean white crystals. The beauty is everywhere if we can lift the veil of misery to see it. It is a struggle, and the battle wages every day but the fight is worth it to see the beauty.
Just over two years ago I finally made an appointment for a physical after avoiding the doctor for almost five years. I was ready to seek help for my migraines again after numerous negative experiences with medication and neurologists who let my concerns fall on deaf ears. This time my doctor listened to me because I insisted on being heard and this time I considered my symptoms might be more than physical. I took myself to see a therapist who confirmed my theory that the migraines are related to past, unprocessed trauma. The old me would have never stepped foot into a therapists office. Instead, I would have downed more pills from the doctor so I could keep working and continuing my path to destruction. I once thought losing my job would destroy my life but instead it was the catalyst for a new phase in my life.
Chronic migraines brought me to my knees, and I have no desire to return to that position. Some days I feel good and energetic, ready to take on the world but my body has limits and forces me to adjust. Instead of pushing through it I must slow down and rest, or the consequence will be severe and painful. It is a dance I am still learning and a new way to face life, much different than the way I was raised. There is no use in me overexerting myself if it leaves me in bed with agonizing pain for days afterward. Conservation and the careful use of precious resources is a priority in this new phase of my life.
Not every day is bright and the bad days still come, but every step towards healing is a triumph.