Living with Migraine disease and other Headache disorders isn't easy. We know that, and I certainly don't have to tell you that. It's not just the physical part that's an upstream battle either, so it's important that we sustain our entire being and include our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual selves as well. Sometimes, I think that's even more challenging than the physical.
Since many of us have been struggling with the impact of current events as well as our health issues, it seems reasonable to think about our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual selves today and how to sustain those sides of ourselves.
Over this past week, I had a couple of discussions with Migraineurs on the topic of addressing our mental health needs. One young friend of mine shared that she's had the help of a therapist with issues other than Migraine since she was a teenager, before her Migraines became chronic. She also shared that it was really helpful for her that she had the support of her therapist when her Migraines did become chronic. Not all of us need to see a therapist on a regular basis, but if it would be helpful, we should avail ourselves of their services. Some people are hesitant for whatever reasons, including the stigma attached to mental health issues. We need to realize that there is absolutely no shame and nothing to be embarrassed about. Mental health conditions are based in biology, just as other diseases.
I've been open about saying that I cope with major depressive disorder along with Migraine and some other health issues. Over the years, I've had a few sessions with psychologists as well as a psychiatrist. Some Migraine and Headache clinics require a mental health assessment for their patients. Given that major depressive disorder is so common among Migraineurs, I think this is an excellent idea. The assessment serves two main purposes:
- To evaluate patients for major depressive disorder and other conditions, and ensure that if we need treatment, we're getting appropriate and adequate treatment.
- To evaluate our coping skills for living with our headache disorder(s).
Some of us benefit from regular visits with a therapist. Some of use don't necessarily need to go that route. Still, we have to meet all of our needs. Here are some of the methods I employ to meet my intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs:
- Learning. There's always more to learn about Migraine. Learning allows me to understand what my Migraine specialist is talking about and reduces the feeling that my Migraines are beyond anything I can do to manage them.
- Meditation, prayer. My days usually begin with coffee, prayer, meditation, and a bit of Bible reading. This allows me to "center" myself for the day, and I find myself to be more productive and better able to concentrate when I start my day this way.
- Simple quite. Even if we're in a silent room, our minds aren't necessarily quiet. This is move important today than ever before. Because of television and radio news, the Internet, and other sources of information, we can easily become overwhelmed — not only with conflicting information, but also with tension, fear, and other negative emotions from news, harsh political campaigns and more. This makes it more important than ever to just "be." We need down time away from all of the "noise." I sometimes just sit, close my eyes, and focus on breathing deeply. Other times, I drive to the river so I can just sit and watch it flow by. We all have to find what works for us.
Do YOU have methods for sustaining yourself — physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually — that you'd like to share? If so, please leave a comment below. Thanks!
because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"