Migraine

Bring it On: The Second Half of 2019

Image Description: black felt board with “for the next 197 days” in white lettering. Background is a colorful painting of an elephant in deep red and orange hues with hints of blue.

We’ve just about made it to the halfway point of 2019, but what does that mean for you?

Are you even thinking about the intentions you drunkenly set on New Year’s Eve? Have you given up on your goals and decided they’re better off for next year? Or were you dedicated and focused on forming new habits that have stuck with you up until this point?

Personally, all I knew was that this year would be a year focused on recovery, and after deep reflection, I knew recovery had to be selfish.

6 months into recovery and I’ve:

  • Stopped looking for a medical based “fix” for my pain.
  • Put an emphasis on learning. I learned how important it is to advocate for myself and truly listen to my gut – had I listened to my gut I never would have pursued Botox which caused a lot of pain. I learned a lot of information from the Migraine World Summit, but mostly that there’s a lot more that we don’t know. I learned to listen to my body and that the answers for my healing are already inside of me.
  • Adopted a healing mindset.
  • Accepted that growth is inevitable. Our mind, emotions, and experiences are always changing and in order to continue learning and healing we have to allow ourselves to grow.
  • Recognized that growing also means outgrowing. I’ve outgrown friends who didn’t believe in me. I’ve outgrown habits that were making my health worse. I’ve outgrown spaces I’d created to foster certain aspects of growth. I’ve outgrown expectations that I believed I had to fit into.
  • Made the decision that no one else can be my inspiration, motivation, or hold me accountable to my goals. No one else can understand how powerful my why is, and therefore they can’t be the driving force that gets me there.

There’s a huge difference in who I was New Year’s Eve versus who I am today. The biggest difference is that I am in a space where I truly feel that I can make goals again.

I don’t feel like I am fully limited by migraine and have to also limit myself to mere intentions and themes to follow for a year, but I can instead make goals based on my enhanced understanding of my body and my needs.

So, for the next 197 days… here’s what I will accomplish:

Goal #1: Finish reading 1984 AND read one more book.

Last October, I picked up 1984 one evening and started reading. I didn’t get very far, and didn’t pick it up again until late January. There’s three parts to the book and two weeks ago I finally made another push to read and got a ways through Part 2.

I used to read close to 20 books in a year – mostly due to class readings, but I truly enjoyed most of them. Reading is hard for me because I struggle to remain focused for a long period of time – hey brain fog and difficulty concentrating – and if there’s any lingering pain I tend to be more prone to eye strain.

So, I’m setting this goal small. I’ll finish 1984 and I’ll pick another book from my shelf I’ve been waiting to read and finish that too!

Goal #2: Try out an audio book.

With my biggest concern with reading being the added eye strain, listening to a book may be a much better option for me. I’ve always thought about it, but I’ve never actually done it.

The richest and smartest people in the world read a lot of books, they don’t spend their time on social media or watching TV. I’ll admit, I’ve got a lot of TV shows that I truly enjoy watching but I know that I could benefit from a more wide variety of content and spending less time staring a screen to get said content.

Goal #3: Regain my confidence to grocery shop.

I move back into my own place in less than a month – which is not something that was even in the cards for this year, but has proven to be a key step in guiding my recovery.

I used to LOVE going to the grocery store. When I got my license, I practically took over the grocery shopping at home. My bi-weekly trips to the store in college were the highlight of my week. By the time I’d moved into my own place in Wisconsin, grocery shopping was getting harder and harder. I’d managed a few big trips, but as my time got more constrained and my health more unpredictable I began relying on services that let me pick up my groceries from my car or grocery delivery services. I’d reduced my grocery shopping in stores to a 10 minute grab only the produce you need and get out, type of outing.

Now, the thought of grocery shopping is less than ideal. Standing in line isn’t easy and being in a crowded store is a scary thought.

In working towards this goal, I’ll take it slow. I’ll plan my trips and probably do a combination of picking up pre-ordered groceries and shopping the produce section. I’ll work up to bigger shopping trips or maybe I’ll grocery shop more often and do little shopping trips that take less time.

Goal #4: Add at least one source of income.

Am I ready to be working a full time job? Absolutely not. Am I ready to be working part time? Probably not.

But, 197 days is 197 new opportunities to re-evaluate those questions.

One of my long-term goals is to regain my financial independence – from both my parents and from disability payments – but throwing myself back into the workplace would most certainly cost me much of the recovery and healing I’ve been working towards.

I’ve had the opportunity to work within many wonderful organizations on a volunteer/contributor basis, and hopefully I can start by taking on more responsibility within one of these spaces to create a steady stream of income.

Ideally, I’d like to be working at least on a part-time basis from home by December.

Goal #5: Explore two new healing techniques.

There is such a wide variety of healers and practices available to us that I’d be foolish to ignore. In working to have a more natural healing process and eliminate medications and relying on doctors for my care, I want to embrace some new techniques.

I’ve seen a lot about the benefits of saunas, flotation therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and traditional chinese medicine. I’ve done research on all the various benefits and can see how each would work well for me. However, healing takes time and doing a million things at once can actually do more harm than good.

Therefore, I want to really dedicate my time to understand each option fully, researching various places I can go, and really listening to my body while experimenting to see what can serve me best. So, two new techniques seems very reasonable AND cost effective for the rest of the year.

Goal #6: Create the life I want to live.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to hate what you’re doing with your life. You don’t have to work in a job that doesn’t inspire you. You don’t have to be associated with people you don’t like. You don’t have to hate Mondays.

While I’m healing, I’m learning that there’s so many things about life that are incredible and inspiring. I’m recognizing what my strengths are and being reminded about what I am most passionate about.

Now, I have to take what I’m passionate about, utilize my strengths, and act in accordance to my body and soul to develop an environment I can live in and continue to grow in. Things tend to align with the environment and goals we’ve created, and that alignment will create the space I need the most.

I saw someone say that we shouldn’t be pursuing happiness, happiness should be in pursuit of us and I think we all could use this as a mantra to serve us for the rest of the year.

A.


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