Natalie's chronic migraine frequently forces her to hit pause on her life. But she's learned how to breathe through the hard times and appreciate the pain-free times more deeply.
Hi, my name is Natalie and my condition is chronic migraine. Living with chronic migraine, almost every single aspect of my life has been impacted, but I think across work, school, hobbies, exercise, vacations, even grocery shopping, what has been impacted most has been adapting to life with so much unpredictability. I really never know from one hour to the next or day to the next, how I'm going to feel. I've had to get used to waking up every morning and going through the day with a really flexible, adaptable mindset.
What scares me the most about living with chronic migraine and migraine in general is all of the lost time associated with this condition. There are so many days and events and hours that are simply taken from me because I can't do anything besides manage the pain. When I think about my twenties and the experience I've had, there are some things that I definitely saw myself doing that I have been unable to do, such as traveling and basic things like going out with friends. So it's easy to get lost in a rabbit hole and spiral about worrying how the future might look.
Without a doubt the biggest silver lining of this experience and living with this condition has been developing a gratitude practice. I have learned to be very deeply aware of and grateful for the things that are going right in my world, instead of focusing on the things that might be going wrong or not unfolding in the way I would like them to. I have also been able to develop and grow a commitment to really love my life more than I hate my pain. It's taken a lot of time, a lot of hard work, a lot of resources and support to get there, but I really am in a place where I'm so committed to making this one chance I have to be alive beautiful. If it has chronic migraine or migraine as a part of it, then that's just something I'm going to learn to deal with.
The other thing that has been a major silver lining has been uncovering my own resilience and courage. I've proven to myself time and time again that I can do things I feel like I can't do and that is a journey that has completely changed the way I see myself and the way I see the world. So, as much pain as there is, both of those things have been absolute gifts.
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