Patient Blogs | Migraine
How a Chronic Condition Like Migraine Affects My Identity
photo of young woman gazing out window at home

It sucks being a motivated person in a broken body. When you live with a chronic condition, there are so many things you want to do, but you don't know when the pain will set in, so you are afraid to push yourself too hard.

How does a chronic condition like migraine affect your identity?

I've tried to explain it to others by asking them if they've ever had an excruciating toothache. If they say, “yes” they've had a toothache, I say, “That toothache eventually healed, right?” They usually say, "Yes." I then say, “Well, imagine that toothache never stops hurting. It's there all the time you're awake, 7 days a week and for “X” number of years.”

When I see that they can relate on their face, I say, “Well, this is what I've been going through every day for the last “X” number of years.”

Empathy is at the root of it all. Telling someone to "stop worrying about it" doesn’t magically cure the condition. If only cures were that simple. Remember, just because someone appears fine doesn't mean they aren't battling excruciating pain on the inside.

Living with a chronic condition can take a toll mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. Don’t compare yourself to others. Some people seem to be superhuman high achievers, and the places they've been to, and the things they've done can be intimidating, especially if you're looking at their life through an Instagram filter.

Remember, social media is not real life, and more often than not, people choose to share the good moments. You are not “behind” everyone else. Everyone gets where they are going in life at their own pace.

I'm getting up there in age, I'm single, and I don’t have kids. However, almost everyone in my network is married with young kids. So when I start feeling like I'm “behind” everyone, I have learned to remind myself that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.

What I've learned? I envy that my married friends have someone to share burdens with because sometimes it's tough having to make difficult decisions alone. But you know what else I've learned? I've learned that my married friends envy my freedom and lack of sleep deprivation.  

Focus on yourself. Focus on doing tasks that intentionally build upon the day before. It doesn't have to be a big thing -- it can be small things like drinking more water, eating healthier, downloading that dating app you keep stalking, or even going for a walk.

While some actions may seem insignificant, over time, you'll see those achievements aren't tied down to the “end game” of being married, having a house, or landing that dream job. Because once you've “gotten there,” it requires continued nurturing and emotional stamina -- both personally and to those around you.

You are not defined by material things or a chronic condition. Take life one day at a time, and don't let anyone steal your joy. You got this!

 

Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community

 

 

Photo Credit: Cavan Images via Getty Images

WebMD Patient Blog © 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Naki Carter

Naki Carter

Diagnosed since 2001

For nearly 20 years, Naki Carter has been living with migraine. Formerly an award-winning journalist, she is committed to ending the stigma around the invisible illness. Carter lives in South Florida near lots of family and friends, where she enjoys a daily dose of “vitamin sea.” Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Latest Blog Posts From Naki Carter

Managing My Migraine Episodes With ASMR

Managing My Migraine Episodes With ASMR

Have you ever heard of ASMR? If you've never heard of it, don't worry. In basic terms, it's a tingly feeling that no one can explain ....

Read more
Networking With Migraine Warriors: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Networking With Migraine Warriors: Just What the Doctor Ordered

No one should have to go through migraine episodes alone. It's essential to step out of the shadows that can lead to depression and anxiety and build ...

Read more