I feel like I have done nothing but learn new lessons for the past nine years. I’m nearing the end of my twenties, and everything they say about them is true. It’s been agonizing, eye opening, magical, and horrific to discover who I am as a person and why I am that way. Thank god for therapy!
The lesson I’m working on right now is Grace. I don’t like identifying with a Type A personality, but I absolutely am one, and I’m not very good at cutting myself a break. Luckily, I have some really great opportunities to practice Grace pretty regularly.
I have dealt with chronic migraines since I was a child. I used to hold them off with ibuprofen until years of taking it frequently gave me a stomach ulcer (please be careful with Motrin friends!), and now I have no real effective way of masking the pain. I am fortunate enough to go to a school where there is free chiropractic care available, and it was through this that I discovered I have a severely rotated disk in my neck that causes the migraines. So that’s great – we know the cause now! The only thing is that it’s going to take YEARS of regular care to get rid of the migraines – or I may even be under regular care for life to keep them at bay. I’m ok with this. I’m actually ecstatic about it, because I have control over my pain now.
At least, I thought I would.
I still get migraines pretty regularly, because my body is getting used to a new way of living after over 20 years of being out of place. So once every week or so I get migraines, sometimes for days. My way of dealing with these migraines for over a decade has been to push through as long as I can, basically until I’m in so much pain that I’m throwing up and literally cannot force myself to function anymore. I feel like I have to do this, because the alternative is to lay in bed for days and watch the world pass me by. Jobs don’t like that option very much, and neither do professors. And neither do I.
But one thing my therapist has helped me see is that I have to allow myself Grace when I’m suffering from a migraine. In reality, if I gave myself a break when I feel one coming on, if I turned off the lights and rubbed some lavender into my temples and took a 20 minute nap, there is a very good chance it would go away. And even if it doesn’t go away… I have to be ok with that. Sometimes there is literally nothing I can do about them (other than go to the hospital and get an injection, which I refuse to do multiple times a month), and that is so scary. It’s also really challenging to “check out” because I have so much to do, and most of it is stuff I really love doing.
So now I’m practicing Grace. When I have a migraine that won’t go away, I surrender. I try not to push myself and ignore it until I’m in agony. To be honest I’m not very good at it so far (for instance I have a migraine right now… oh the irony!), but that’s the point of practicing. I also remind myself frequently that everything is temporary. I tend to get plagued with What If’s – what if this time it never goes away??? But it always does. And that knowledge gives me comfort and allows me to surrender more fully to what is.
I know this has got to be a struggle for others who deal with migraines, chronic pain, or other conditions that interrupt their lives on a regular basis. Take this advice or leave it, but if that applies to you I would highly recommend finding a therapist you like. In fact, if you’re reading this at all, I would highly recommend find a therapist you like! Therapy is amazing. All of us have weird stuff from our childhood that affects us in adulthood, no matter how “perfect” our younger years were. Shit, I was living with PTSD for years and had no idea.
So Grace. That’s the lesson for this season – allowing room for what is with no judgement. Not forcing things. And surrendering…. my lesson for this lifetime.
Happy Sunday friends ❤