You know the start of the Simpsons Cartoon? Where Bart writes lines out on the board every week?
It’s always fun to watch and see what this week’s punishment will be. “I will not mace Principal Skinner. I will not mace Principal Skinner. I will not mace Principal Skinner”.
Today I feel like I need to be the one writing lines out on the chalkboard.
“I will embody kindness. I will practice tolerance. I will embody kindness. I will practice tolerance”. My kindness cache is empty. Even upon waking I felt irritation tugging at me, pulling me up from those deep delicious layers of sleep. There is no need to walk by a mirror, my lips feel like I’ve been sucking on lemons. It’s a telltale sign of migraine face. I just pray gravity doesn’t pull a frat prank, leaving me with an inverted face or worse, the Bitchface blackhole.
But I digress. I feel cranky from the inside out. I do not feel like the version of myself that I enjoy. The fan club pin slides off my lapel and into my pocket.
Ooh I am even irritated at my irritation- never a positive sign.
There’s no grand drama. My bills are paid, my body isn’t doing anything especially new or terrifying, my dishes are even done. Yet here we are. Me with my best migraine mask stapled on and the world daring to throw tiny go cart sized speed bumps my way. I call my pharmacy about the refill they were supposed to set up with my Dr. a few days ago. The call was never placed. I am completely out of Trazadone. In fact, (my index finger pointing itself importantly up into the air as I declare,)I was out of this prescription last night and therefor missed a dose, Sherlock! A culprit is found.
I am now left to hunt down my Dr.’s receptionist, Jenna in person. I have been unable to ring her on the phone. Although no one is in the sterile office, I have clearly disturbed her day. She is nonplussed by my presence. The fact that this mishap is due to someone else’s incompetence appears to be lost on Jenna. After some hen-like clucking and a few hushed phone calls I am informed that another MD will write a ten day prescription for me until my MD can see me. Of course the interim doctor was my full time doctor for a year while my MD was on maternity, and there is no reason for her not to refill the prescription (I have been on for the better part of ten years). But it is that kind of day and my migraine face is proving to be my frenemy here.
I drag my migraine laden body back to the drug store after thanking Jenna with a sincerity that surprises us both. The pharmacist waves the dispensing fee as the mishap was theirs. My rage settles back into mere gnawing irritation. Still I have taken nothing for my migraine. The genius light is blinking in the corner of my mind.
I manage to fit a short trip the grocer in prior to arriving home. No bystanders were harmed in the process. This is not to say a few close calls were not narrowly avoided. The desire to end people with the laser beams from my eyes is overwhelming. Every sound is amplified. no wonder the world has gone mad. The barrage of inputs, the sheer volume, how can anyone accomplish anything with so much noise and distraction? Home brings a tramadol (pain killer). After and hour and a half resting in the rooftop garden I start to feel the migraine face softening. The songbirds are still annoying the tar out of me, but we’re moving in the right direction. My face feels drawn and tired but kindness and tolerance no longer sound like planets in a solar system far, far away.
Survival mode is something different.
All the spiritual guidance in the world won’t help me when I ‘m mid-attack having to navigate the world on my own. And yes, maybe the warrior woman who arises and takes the reigns to get me through safely isn’t my “live your best life, Oprah Self” and maybe that’s okay.
Our desire to always be likeable, to always be palatable may not be 100% reasonable when we are engaged in neurological warfare. Pain enters the body and part of it is transformed into frustration. I can’t speak properly. I can’t walk properly, people don’t take me seriously because I seem off. It is frustrating beyond explanation. Migraine Holly isn’t the same as Healthy Holly.
Can anyone blame me for living so silently? Falling into the migraine hole can equal a loss of self for weeks. We apologize for being ill. Do we apologize for feeling it too? How do we exist during the attack while living in integrity, how do we find grace during the battle? Or is it okay to have gentleness with the migraine face and migraine frustrations ?
It’s certainly overwhelming to experience. With pain pushing in it becomes harder to watch the mind.
Tonight I do not have one answer.
It might be the lines on my chalkboard. “I will embody kindness. I will practice tolerance”. It’s worked before.
It could be better pain management.
Perhaps the answer is more checks and balances in place so I do not run out of scripts again. Migraines are going to come.
That primal part of me will be triggered. These cycles continue like the tides. Endless opportunities for improvement will continue to present themselves.
I may not be the zen monk I would like to be when it comes to experiencing migraine onset but I am far closer than when I first started experiencing them so many years ago.
Gentleness, kindness, patience, and forgiveness are consistently my best tools to manage onset stress. Mostly with myself to be frank.
Frustration and upset come with the territory.
If you can practice some gentleness with those feelings, and ideally a little lightheartedness, you may find that compassion will come into your experience, and the world will feel lighter.
Other times you may want to head straight to the chalkboard.
Knowing above everything, it's natural to feel exactly as you feel and there is nothing malicious about it, sometimes that in itself, is priceless. We all need a gentle reminder from time to time that being human doesn't equate to being a bad person.
With or without your illness, you are an amazing person,
even on a rough day.
Let us know how you find grace in your moments of great pain
in the comments below. We are always here to help one another.