“As important as it is to have a plan for doing work, it is perhaps more important to have a plan for rest, relaxation, self-care, and sleep.”
― Akiroq Brost
I recently took a week-long break from Facebook, no I didn’t have withdrawal symptoms, or cravings to get back on before my week was up! Instead I spent those hours and yes, time spent on social media, can easily add up to hours a day, reading, playing with my new kitty Sugar, having actual conversations with my husband, Rick and generally just letting myself breathe and relax. The last couple of weeks before this had been very stressful for our family. Rick’s oldest son, age 39, died unexpected and under suspicious circumstance. Though I wasn’t close to Kyle, he was Rick’s son and Rick needed my full support. If you are a spoonie, you can see how this situation quickly depleted my daily allotment of spoons. A week of self-care was sorely needed and did me a world of good.
Now I want to talk about another reason we Migraine warriors need rest. For a very long time I was under the assumption that, letting people know you took a cave day, was the same as admitting defeat. Migraine Warriors are tough, they don’t let a pesky Migraine keep them from living their life, they power through, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and keep up with their exercise routine. When I read accounts like these, I thought to myself, what am I doing wrong? During a Migraine attack I don’t even want to see sunlight, my head is staying on my pillow with an ice pack and the only exercise I’ll be doing is the trips to the bathroom to vomit or deal with diarrhea! Believe it our not there is stigma placed on us by our peers, though they may not realize that they are doing so.
Recently I had an epiphany after reading two blog posts about rest, it completely changed my mindset on the need to rest and still be a Migraine warrior. First rest isn’t a naughty four letter word, it is a necessity for our bodies that battle pain 24/7. I have days that fatigue literally drains me and I feel like I’m walking in wet sand. Living with Migraine and chronic pain can drain your internal battery pretty darn fast. So it stands to reason that one will have to recharge, this is where rest comes in. Grab a cup of tea and a good book, or take a nap. Your body will tell you when it is fulling charged. There is no guilt here, would you feel guilty if you were tired due to cancer treatment? NO you would not! You are still very much a warrior, just a tried one and why not? Fighting against Migraine everyday is very hard work, both physically and mentally!
If a Migraine attack is severe enough for you to need a dark quiet space use your cave. Again there is no guilt here, your body and brain needs rest and treatment. It is better to try to nip that Migraine attack in the bud, rather than pushing through it and avoiding the possibility of a longer Migraine cycle. Don’t let the fear of stigma keep you from speaking about your Migraine, you don’t have to go into detail. Yes, speak you Migraine, the more advocacy efforts the less stigma. Shame on anyone in the Migraine community who would make a fellow Migraineur, feeling less of a warrior, if they need a rest, self-care or cave day. We should strive to thrive and by being a supportive and encouraging Migraine warrior, you are helping a fellow Migraine warrior thrive.
I came across this description of a Woman Warrior, while looking for the best definition of warrior. It really spoke to me!
“Women warriors possess a determined spirit, a “can do” attitude that drives their actions towards their goals. When faced with limitations, disappointment or opposition, a warrior woman only gets more determined to make what she envisions happen. She won’t take “no” for an answer and will find a way barrel through obstacles until that “no” becomes a “yes!”
I know many Women Warriors who fit this description when it comes to their Migraine treatment. They are not willing to sit back and do nothing, because one, two, three or six, treatments didn’t work. They keep pushing, advocating for themselves to try more treatments, whether they be infusion or oral. They will not hear “no” or there is nothing more we can do. No way! They will keep looking, researching, never giving up. That is a Migraine warrior!
Live with hope,
**Dedicated to: Angie Glaser who taught me about the concept of rest and to never be ashamed of it. You inspire me Angie with your strength, openness to speak your mind, loyalty to your friends and willingness to speak for the migraine community!