I hold this belief, and I believe many other people who deal with chronic illness do, too. We believe that we can be healed – and that ‘to be healed’ looks like a good day every day – pain-free. Not knowing or not remembering that there are numerous other maladies and hardships to be had through out the course of a life. Even if all the migraines went away tomorrow there would be other things to struggle with.
What does this mean? I know folks like to say that “normal is boring”, but I think normal is dangerous. Normal is a myth that we have fed ourselves for so long that we are convinced that it is the ideal reality. What if my migraines have purpose and all I do is spend my days running away from them, trying to get away, suppress, and kill them? Is that thought so radical that it can’t even be considered? Does me saying this lead you to believe I have jumped on some looney bin bandwagon?
An example: I hate the way our society completely ignores family in the workplace. We deny family exists. We deny anything outside of the workplace exists. It is priority number one. I think this is unsustainable and we need to find new ways to work, new definitions of work, and ways in which we might integrate family into work (as opposed to integrating work into family – we’ve already done that).
I also recognize that I need more time away from my kids, but I really struggle to get it. I feel guilty spending money on myself. I feel guilty not wanting to spend time together as a family when my husband is home.
So, let’s do some simple math: (Mara wants time away from kids + Mara wants husband to be around more)Mara can’t seem to make this happen on her own = Migraine Power! I get a migraine, my husband comes home and tries to work from home while taking care of our kids while I spend the day in isolation.
It took me a really long time to see this, but once it was pointed out to me it felt like it was a giant neon blinking light. And I am still not doing any better of a job at accomplishing my highest goals my own way instead of my migraine’s way. It’s pretty hard to think of anything other than the pain when I have a migraine, let alone have deep thoughts about what type of message a migraine might have for me, but I think that it is important for us to consider – without making ourselves feel more guilty for even having migraines or another chronic illness. I think it is important for society to consider as well. What do our chronic illnesses mean for society as a whole? What damaging messages and myths have we set up for ourselves, blaming ourselves and believing we are not whole, healthy or normal?