I’ve blogged before about how people bombard chronic painers with lists of solutions they think we should try (ex. My Aunt Lizzie’s cousin’s uncle’s friend had migraines and stubbed his toe on a live rattlesnake eating a piece of cherry pie and he hasn’t had a migraine since!), and how I find myself explaining, ad nauseum that:
Migraine is a lifelong neurological condition that is inherited. It is realistic to learn to manage it, but there are no known cures. (And then in my head: thank you for your suggestions, but they’re mostly just bunk to keep you from sitting with the discomfort of this moment where I’m telling you I live with chronic pain.)
To which people sometimes respond with: Well don’t give up yet! Don’t give up hope! Keep hope alive! Hope is powerful! Hope hope hope! Look at my hope flag! I’m waving it in the air! I put hope on a big stick for you to hold onto!
And while hope is helpful and important and necessary in so many situations, this is not one of them.
I still find myself dreaming of the day where I wake up and go to work, full-time, to teach music. Where I wake up and sing in the shower and ride the subway and teach the children and skip lunch ’cause I’m so busy and eat some artificially flavoured red candies and come home with a bit of fatigue and then watch something on the telly. But it AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN. Or if it does, it’ll be a miracle against all medical evidence, and I’ll convert to some sort of religion immediately following.
The thing is, hoping for a cure, or hoping for the migraines to go away even for long periods of time means that I’m pretty busy wishing for an alternate reality, and that’s time I could be using to enjoy the reality I’m in.
So I’m going to give up hope. Yup, I’m consciously GIVING UP HOPE in order to live better.
For me that means grieving my career as a music teacher. It means grieving red candies and (for now) full-time work, and tv binges. It means grieving all kinds of things. But it also means moving on.
It means taking better care of myself. It means getting really, really into yoga. It means exploring visual art and becoming a master crafter. It means reaching out to people to ask for support. It means being ok with receiving financial support from the institutions that exist to support people in situations just like this (lucky me). It means eating well and making quiet time. It means making long term plans around my other, quiet interests, that might not move me the same way as my past endeavours, but will move me nonetheless. It means eating chocolate every damn day!
It means acceptance and freedom, and not being broken, and not needing to be fixed.
So there. Keep your hope all to yourself. I don’t need it.
(Image source unknown)