#MHAMBC Blog Challange #1: Phantom of the Opera: What do you hide behind your Migraine/Headache Disorders Mask? What do you let people see?

June Migraine awareness month

I would like to think I’ve been pretty open about sharing facts and important information about Migraine Disease and all It’s Comorbid Conditions, due in part to not only educate myself and my family, friends and loved ones, but for the public as well due to the Stigma attached to Migraine Disease as a whole. I have been battling Migraines for over 25 years. I know there are more out there who’ve had them a lot longer and have gone through more torment than I have, I’m sure of it. But it is a difficult life for sure.

Thinking back though on earlier years I do think I hide the fact I was having a Migraine due to the “unknown” factor. I didn’t know much about it then nor did anyone else for that matter. I would try to make myself go to work and if it got too bad where I could not function then I had to call off and shut myself down to battle the Beast, as I called it then and to this day. I did make up excuses that I had the flu or some sort of virus and I was able to glide by on that for the 1st few years because they were so episodic and didn’t happen that often.

Later as I grew in knowledge from what I learned on my own through internet searches and what little information I gained from doctors I became more open about it, to only be shut down by it being called “just a headache”.  As time went on and the Migraines became more frequent I became more vocal. I didn’t hide that I had Migraines anymore. I would let my bosses know and that I was seeking help, which instead of turning in my favor of being open and honest I then became a target-a liability. But that is a different story for a different time.

There are still some times though that I will try to hide the fact I’m suffering an attack when my pain level is at a 5-6. Through the years I’ve learned how to struggle through the pain and cope as best as I can as nothing much has been able to help to this point. One Neurologist in 2006 told me I would “learn to grow into my migraines instead of grow out of them”. Back then I thought he was off his rocker.  I will push myself to do things that are very difficult for me but easy and no big deal for anyone that is “normal” and not in chronic pain. If I’m asked sometimes I will say I’m hanging on instead of going through the spiel of what is wrong and so and so. Sometimes it’s too exhausting and frustrating to explain and you feel like a broken record over time. I know to my family and friends I’ve become a broken record so I try to stay silent on those so-called mild days. I know they are tired of hearing about it day after day. I’m tired of living it day after day with what appears to be no end in site. And I do feel guilty about what I cannot do anymore and that I hide a lot because if I voice those opinions I know and I’m afraid I will be pushed more and pushed harder, and I cannot cope with that level of stress.

But when I get above a level 7 I cannot remain too silent. I will let them know I’m in pain and if I’m pushed too hard I do break down and go close myself off to be alone and to recover after I fight the battle that can sometimes seem overbearing. At that point the vertigo sets in, the visual disturbances set in, the super sensitivity to light, sound and noise are at an all time high. I really hate this lifestyle as it has taken away my life. I feel cheated at times because there is so much I want to do and at times I feel my life is over and I’m confined to excruciating and exasperating pain for the rest of my life. It gets depressing but then I have to pull myself up out of that dark pit when the pain lessens and I can try to function. I just cannot do things I use to do in days gone by which saddens me and frustrates my family to no end. When you become chronically ill you find out fast who your true friends really are because the others disappear from your life, never to be heard from again.

Sending you all Blessings for a pain free, or low pain day. Tidings, Julie

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