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Updated June 29, 2018
One of the labels patients with Chronic Migraines identify with and simultaneously dislike is “sufferer.” It implies that our pain will never end. Some days you just feel like crap.
What can you do when the unending pain from Chronic Migraine gets you down – really down? Make a choice: do you want to be a victor or a victim?
Here are 12 ways to win the battle when Chronic Migraines leave you feeling worn out.
1. Celebrate incremental progress. Even though the pain hasn’t gone away for 5 days, you have to give yourself credit for 5 days of healthy choices and small, meaningful progress. Every day you don’t have an attack and every proactive choice is worth celebrating. Tried yoga today? Way to go! Tracked your hydration intake? You go, girl! Migraine went from an 8 to a 7? Yay!
2. Say “Migraines are not the boss of me.” Out loud. Like you mean it. Pain expert Dr. Peter Abaci says: “Chronic pain has the power to manipulate the lenses that we look through when we visualize our own selves.” It’s empowering to remind yourself that you’re in charge, even when you can’t stop the pain.
3. Commit to keep trying. You think you’ve tried everything? Maybe – or maybe you didn’t give it time, or there were other variables going on. And then write it down: this week I’m going to try (). You’ll get plenty of ideas on MigraineAgain.com – from the up-and-coming treatments, to the latest approved devices, to the wildly popular alternatives, to tried and true treatment options for Chronic Migraines.
4. Laugh out loud. If it doesn’t hurt your head, that is. If you can stand the glare of the screen, watch Modern Family or SNL on demand. Or cue up a comedy streaming online. I could watch Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Foxworthy or Jeff Dunham comedy specials and laugh so hard it doesn’t hurt anymore. Call it distraction therapy.
4. Start your Personal Migraine Diary. You can download yours here. Set a goal, that, no matter how long the pain goes on, you’re going to have a useful record you can review with your headache specialist in 30 or 60 days. Just completing it makes you feel like a winner. And you will definitely discover something about yourself that you didn’t realize before.
5. Find company. Misery loves company. You’ll find tens of thousands of other migraine buddies on MigraineAgain.com and our Facebook page or Twitter feed at any hour of the day, from all around the world. Imagine being at a party where everybody gets you, your quirks and your pain.
6. Pet your pet. As long as your dog’s breath doesn’t smell as badly as mine does, he can be great company on those feel-like-crap days. Caring for someone other than you can be amazingly therapeutic. Or, create a little comic relief by feeding Fido a mouthful of peanut butter.
7. Start a Gratitude Journal. Even when your head hurts like hell, you can find 10 things to be thankful for. Get your list going, and jot down an idea whenever you think of it. 1. Caring friends. 2. Blooming flowers. 3. A comfy bed. And so on. Evernote is a great app for this purpose, or use a small journal on your nightstand.
8. Take a dip. Maybe it’s a bath in a dark room with a little lavender essential oil; maybe it’s dangling your feet in a cool stream nearby. There are few things quite as relaxing as floating in a calm swimming pool and looking at the clouds and trees in the sky.
9. Get a massage. Ask your sweetheart for a neck, or foot massage.Book an appointment at the local spa. Get a quiet massage pillow.
10. Reminisce. Crack open an old box of photos or photo albums and find a memory that makes you smile. Remember when – and then plan to share that with the other people in a favorite photo. Remind yourself of what – and who – is most precious in your life.
11. Pray. Ask, and it shall be given to you. God cares about your pain. And there’s proof that people who pray suffer less. Ask Him for comfort and clarity when you’re at the end of your rope. If you want more divine inspiration, you can listen to the Word. I find Psalms using the YouVersion Bible app especially comforting – and it’s free.
12. Pay it forward. You may be in pain now, but there’s something you’ve learned that can help someone else. Share your Migraine Journey on MigraineAgain.com, or directly, if you know someone you think you can help. The thought of sparing them one day of pain just might help relieve yours.
Positive thinking is the beginning of positive progress. Small actions that help you feel better will sustain you on days when you feel like crap.
These ideas get me through the most painful days. You too can keep Chronic Migraines from winning. Remember, you’re a victor!
Comments? Which of these are you most likely to try next time you feel worn down by Chronic Migraines?
Peter Abaci, MD. Conquer Your Chronic Pain. PeterAbaci.com.