Fear of the Past

The realization and acceptance of my role in past experiences is a driving force for the fear I struggle with daily.  The belief that pure chance had brought unhappiness and strife to me was blissfully ignorant.  After all, the odds were in my favor that all the bad hands had already been dealt to me and the future held good luck.  There may be a small nugget of truth to chance or luck but the bulls-eye painted on my back is made highly visible to those seeking to harm by my tolerance and lack of self-confidence.  The fear of repeating the past is exacerbated by the knowledge that I am not entirely healed, so I reinforce my walls to rest in the safety of solitude, for now.

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Poisoned by Trauma

The damage from abuse is like a slow acting poison requiring a painful antidote.  Sometimes I find it hard to remember what it felt like to be trapped in an abusive relationship and then a trigger brings a flashback encompassing every sensory detail.  Numbing the pain and emotions allowed me to stumble through life for a few years, but eventually, my deteriorating condition forced me to confront the trauma.  Chronic, debilitating migraines were the primary physical manifestation of my unprocessed trauma.  These migraines significantly interfered with my ability to work and care for my children, but if it was not for this physical ailment, I might have delayed my search for help even longer.  In working towards reducing the migraines, I met several wonderful and caring doctors, physical therapists, counselors and everyday people who helped me get back on my feet.  There are so many things I would do to keep from ever having another migraine, but I acknowledge they are the proverbial straw that broke the camels back and started my healing journey.  The process has been excruciatingly slow at times, but I am much stronger now and have a great deal more patience.  The poison is still leaving me, and the antidote is unpleasant, but in the end I will be free.

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The Ups and Downs on the Road to Healing

The road to healing is full of bumps, potholes, and detours.  Some days it feels as if I will never make it to my destination and the effort is futile.  I find myself exhausted by devastating setbacks and crushed by the weight of the baggage I carry.  As I continue to move forward despite the obstacles in my path, I find that no matter how small of a step I take it adds to the overall distance covered.  Every inch is progress and it all adds up in the end.  Not every mile marker will come easily and I’m sure I will lose hope again, but only momentarily.  I understand now, that the road to healing is not linear and the ups and downs are to be expected along the way.

 

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Killing the Power of Secrets

Secrets breed pain and misunderstanding.  Seeing your story in writing or hearing it told through spoken word denies the secret of it’s power.  Stories should be told, pain must seek relief, and the shadowy world of dark secrets needs light.

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You Don’t Understand

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I wonder if you ever will. I’ve tried so many times to explain it. I told you one of my biggest triggers, and you don’t even try to stop doing it. Instead you turn the blame on me. Someone acted crazy once around you while doing something I also do. That is very different than being completely isolated from my friends and family for over a decade. You see I was systematically stripped of my identity and self worth in ways I cant fully put into words. Then I watched him start to do it to my children. When we finally got away from him he unleashed a a fury we are still reeling from. I’m scared much of the time because of him. That trigger I told you about, actually, every trigger I’ve told you about was a desperate plea from me. We got away from him but you can bring him right back in an instant. He instilled so much fear in us which is exactly what you do when you don’t even try to stop. No, it wasn’t you who did those horrible things to us. You just spark frightening flashbacks and expect us to let it go and understand you are having a difficult time coping with life. How selfish. If you don’t stop then you don’t care. You don’t understand…

Preventing My Migraines

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I’ve had migraines for as long as I can remember.  When I was a child I called it being “dizzy” or motion sickness.  As I grew into adulthood I started noticing my triggers, strong smells, bright lights, not eating regularly and not enough sleep. When my migraines became chronic and started seriously impacting my work and family life, I sought medical treatment. The medication worked for a while but in the end I needed more and more medication to get help & the side effects ultimately cost me my job.  Lifestyle change  has helped me cut the number of migraines I get and helped me stop many of them before they take hold.

I avoid strong smells.  I don’t wear perfume, use air freshener or us strong-smelling cleansers.  I can feel certain smells in my head and it hurts.  I can avoid these smells at home, but outside the home I am careful.  Many people wear perfume or cologne, and use air fresheners.  I’ve gotten migraines by riding in a car with someone wearing perfume, or being in a meeting room with air freshener.

I’m sensitive to bright lights, flashing lights and direct sunlight.  Particularly at night when driving.  The lights on other vehicles are so bright I often wear my sunglasses.  Flashing lights from emergency vehicles, turn signals, Christmas lights and signs are a problem.  I need to turn my head and close my eyes.  Hard to do while driving.  I avoid spending much time in the direct sunlight.  I am fair-skinned and burn easily, but the sun also triggers my migraines.

Not eating regularly is also a trigger.  I get irritable, nauseous, and light-headed if I go very long without food. I try to make sure I have food available when I travel, even if it’s just around town.  I don’t have many food triggers, but drinking too much caffeine or eating too much junk food will trigger a migraine.

I need to sleep. I’m not someone who gets by on 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  I need a good 8 hours or more.  During some of my worst migraine episodes, I felt like I could sleep for a couple of years before I felt rested.  When I have migraines I’m absolutely exhausted afterwards.  Sleep is healing for me.  I need it.

I’ve made some serious lifestyle changes to help prevent my migraines.  I no longer work outside the home like I did for so many years.  Being able to stay at home with my kids and limit my obligations outside the home has helped cut the stress in my life.  I’m just not always dependable.  When I have a migraine, I don’t think clearly and I’m totally preoccupied by the pain.

I struggle to exercise and meditate regularly.  When I am able to exercise and meditate daily, I notice a positive change.  It relieves stress, helps me sleep, makes me want to eat better and just plain feels good. It need to find more ways to motivate myself to get on the elliptical.

When a migraine starts, I’ve had success taking an over the counter pain reliever, putting an ice pack on my neck and upper shoulders, and lying down in a dark, cool, quite room.  It doesn’t’ always stop the migraine, but sometimes it does.  I don’t want to ever be on all the medication I was in the past.  I’m sticking with my prevention methods.