Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Life Hacks: Tweaking Work & Life to Deal with Migraines."


I have had writer’s block for well over a month. So I quit writing for a bit, as it was just getting too frustrating trying to force the words out when there weren’t any there. And that’s pretty much what life with migraines is like. It can get really frustrating and self-defeating to fight the pain. It’s so much easier and healthier in the long run, to just put what you’re trying to do to the side for the moment, and come back to it later when the situation is more favorable.

I tried forcing myself forward back in high school; to continue to live the life of an ‘A’ student, and have debilitating migraines. It just didn’t work, and in the end I completely burned out. And I do mean completely burned out. As in I was basically nonfunctional for the next year and a half while my body unloaded all the stress that had built up and buried deep inside my body and mind.

It was, as my Somatic Experiencing therapist explained to me, as if I had been shaking and shaking the coke bottle, without ever giving it time to breathe and release some of the carbonation gradually. Rather, I kept shaking the bottle, in this case, my body and mind, until the bottle exploded from the pressure.

So now I’m learning to listen to my migraines and energy levels. I don’t force my mind to go beyond what is comfortable. That doesn’t mean that I take things easy and never stretch my limits, no. What it means is that I try to slowly stretch my limits, AND THEN STOP, and not insist on going until I run into a brick wall at full speed and then spend weeks recovering.

This is rather like stretching a rubber band out. If you start out gradually, and just gently tug the ends of the rubber band in opposite directions in breaths; stretching and then releasing it a little, and then stretching some more. Stretching a rubber band like this will, if you do it right, gradually let you stretch the rubber band much farther than if you had just pulled with all your strength at the beginning. If you had done that, the rubber band would have just snapped, and slapped your fingers.

So far, I’ve stretched the rubber band of my migraine filled life farther than I had previously even imagined that I could. But it hasn’t all been at once. It’s taken years of dedicated gentleness and consideration of what I could and could not do, versus what I should or should not do. I stretched my limitations where appropriate, such as making myself walk to the mailbox every day, and knowing when to pull back and say “Sorry, no” to walking the grocery store on a bad day.

So even though I had writer’s block at the beginning of writing this entry, I just let it and my mind breathe, and I now have an almost completed entry. I didn’t fight for every word, and I hope that it sounds better than it would have had I completely written it the first time I sat down to write. 

Quantum in me fuit,

~Gretchen

1 comment:

  1. Sounded great!

    I thought it was wonderfully written!

    ReplyDelete

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