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We Aren’t Alone

Yesterday was a rollercoaster of ups and downs, mostly downs.  I started the day by guessing the wrong medicine to take… Yes that’s correct, I have to make the best educated guess as to which medicine may make the pain subside… and I guessed wrong.

I did okay at school

I did even better when I went to pick up my keys for my new apartment! (Maybe the excitement masked the pain for a bit)

I did horribly right before I had to be in at work, and spent the first hour of my shift quite nauseas and not interested in moving at all. Luckily no one was there, and as the nausea eased up it had finally been long enough that I could take the other medicine in hopes that it would work.

Maybe it worked. I don’t know. A crazy man came into work and I was paralyzed with fear and paranoia for about an hour. He was loud. He kept laughing. I’m sure he meant well. But I was scared. I wanted to call security. He was probably just on drugs. And he left.

So maybe it was the fear that made the pain subside. Maybe it was the meds. But the pain subsided long enough to finish my shift.

I got home and took another dose of medicine and put Frankincense in my diffuser to help ease the pain more and allow me to sleep.

I slept great and woke up ready to take on the day, tired, but perfectly able to get up and have a successful day. This brings me to the point of this post. One of my close friends also suffers terribly from migraines. We’ve had some whacky weather so of course we’ve both been miserable this past week. She didn’t do great yesterday, but unlike me, she woke up still in horrible pain.

She didn’t come to class, but I did. She missed another lecture, just as I have many times before. You know, that’s got to be one of the worst feelings… knowing that you have no control over your pain, knowing a cure doesn’t exist, but still choosing to get that education, even if its harder than it is for the average person.

After asking her if she had a diffuser, I found out she didn’t. This made me think that maybe I was able to get up because I had one. Maybe. Maybe is sometimes enough. Her birthday is in April, so I went out and found a nice diffuser and a few oils (Frankincense, Peppermint, and Lavender) and surprised her with it at work.

The point isn’t that I went out and did something special or think I need a pat on the back. I don’t. I didn’t do anything special. I recognized her suffering, and instead of giving her suggestions for what helped me or the god awful “did you drink enough water” “maybe you should get some sleep” “take an advil”, I went out and bought her something to help.

So many of us go through this pain alone, or we don’t have the means to go out and try every weird thing that has worked for one person. Yet so many people – family, friends, teachers, coworkers – simply give a half hearted suggestion and think that it’ll make all the difference. There’s this idea that people with chronic pain don’t appreciate or understand those around then who choose to recognize their condition, but the problem is, the people around us don’t spend the time to ask us what we need or what they can do. They bombard us with different options, suggestions, ideas, criticisms, but they don’t ever just ask. We’re often overflowing with information on our condition, and no we don’t want to spend hours lamenting everything we’ve discovered or everything we’ve tried, or why we haven’t tried something (dropping acid shouldn’t need an explanation), but sometimes it’s nice to just talk.

We feel alone. We suffer alone. Our dark bedrooms are isolated from the rest of the world. We don’t participate as much as we’d like. We become alienated from our friends and family to avoid becoming a burden. This is when its on you – friends and family – to stop offering suggestions and start finding unique ways to offer help.

My diffuser and oils help me get through the pain, so I gifted what helps me to someone who is facing the same problem. I care. And I know she cares just the same.

It’s good having someone in your corner…

A.

Inexpensive gift ideas for chronic pain sufferers:

– Oil Diffuser – Target
– Essential Oils (Walmart has better homes and garden brand for around $6 and they’re a decent quality) DoTerra is an amazing brand, but it hurts the bank. One way to get ahold of DoTerra is to find a rep and get ahold of some samples – I’ve got tons of tiny sample bottles.
– Ice Packs – this one fits around your neck/shoulders well
– Eye mask – Amazon  I’m a fan of this one as it fits my face well and has a soft exterior, while the ice pack inside isn’t uncomfortably firm
– Chocolate make sure this isn’t a trigger if they suffer from migraines
– Insulated Water Bottle
– Fuzzy socks
– Fleece tops/pajamas
– bath salts, soaks, and lotions – check if they can handle various scents

If you’re looking to spend a little more, items such as weighted blankets, black out curtains, gift certificates for massages, higher end oils, noise canceling devices, grocery service, and cleaning/laundry service are also great options. There’s a lot of great services out there, but often people are limited in their ability to work, or spend large portions of their income on the medication required for their condition.

And if you’re not in the position to assist financially, give them an ear they can listen to. An ear that won’t pass judgement, that will give advice only if asked for, and will be there to comfort rather than confront. A good sound support system is the best gift anyone can give, that keeps on giving.

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