When you start struggling with migraine and autoimmune issues, you automatically receive a Sherlock Holmes detective kit in the mail (If you haven't received on yet, it's clearly an oversight). The gumboots, the cap, the magnifier, the whole bit. The world starts to take on new meaning and clues are everywhere. We search our last meal for clues to our latest migraine, the lights over our desk, we search the additives in the beverage we last consumed and go over the events of the day to seek out the stress triggers. Truly, we are amazing detectives.
Certainly identifying triggers is an important part of our health management and well-being. However, sometimes, we can go a little overboard with the Sherlock Holmes shtick, getting caught in a constant loop of “why, why why”?
It’s important to be mindful that why doesn’t turn into a review of “how could I let this happen”?
(I'd like to just start off with the disclaimer of saying that there is a time and place for everything, during a migraine or flare is generally not the time for preventative thinking.)
Someone close to me used to ask , during the onset or full blown pain portion of my migraine, in what felt like a somewhat accusatory tone “Well why do you think you have this migraine, what do you think triggered it”? I would scramble to figure it out like I had done something wrong.
Zombie Me—Oh, um, well you know, the rain swept in overnight and the barometric pressure probably got me, and um I was in the grocery store last night and those fluorescent lights are the worst for me…
Her—Well is there anything you could have done differently to avoid this migraine or to avoid one like it in the future?
No joke. This was an all to real frequent conversation. It took me years to realize that this was not a productive convo. For me this wasn’t the right person to be discussing this with anyway. More importantly; there’s no point in discussing an ounce of prevention when a pound of cure is clearly what is called for. I understand the desire from an outsiders perspective, but please during crisis, let’s lob water on the fire, not renovate the Fire and Rescue Station.
Here’s my point. While the pressure to figure out why we are having a migraine can come from the outside, more often it comes from us. It’s a good practice to remind ourselves that while we are weathering the storm, the most important thing we can do is practice excellent self-care. The why is not important in the face of how we show gentleness and generosity to our bodies.
There is a line that can be tricky to navigate between being responsible for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking ownership for chronic illnesses.
You guys are great detectives. Even if you are still figuring out all your triggers and your body, even if you are working out your management plan with your support team, you are getting there. Know that when you are in the throws of a flare or a migraine, it is not your fault. Your only job when you are sick is to get better and be kind to yourself. Remember what I always say: There’s no one to blame, but blame itself.