This day… 4 years ago… I discovered I was a “thing” and not a total Freak! I was slowly opening up and Speaking My Migraine. I was learning that I wasn’t all alone. My college friend Heather would take notice of my “honesty Facebook posts” (no doubt annoying to many!) and in the course of under a year, put me in contact with hundreds of people Just. Like. Me.
My first migraine was at age 6. But I wouldn’t become Chronic until I was in my mid-30’s.
At that time, I knew of only one other living soul who struggled with migraines daily.
I was completely alone. I covered my illness. I covered my pain. I hid my confusion; I was utterly and totally ALONE. I was dancing as fast as I could to appear “normal.” I threw back ibuprofen daily and smiled…and worked at a job I loved as an RN and took care of my 4 kids and cleaned and made dinner and shopped for groceries and attended kid concerts/performances and drove to football practices and soccer games and helped with school projects. I was alone. I had no help. And I was in desperate, desperate NEED of h e l p. I was screaming for help…and no one was listening.
I was completely ALONE. I was dying inside… I was hollow and dying. When I found myself alone at home for an hour or two during the week, I couldn’t clean (like I was supposed to be doing), I would lay on the cold concrete kitchen floor and weep. I wanted only to die…to end my pain which had co-mingled with my depression and anxiety into this warped huge, terrifying monster inside me. I was convinced I must be a Freak. I knew my children would be better off without me in their lives. I knew my husband would be better off without me. I had planned it… When I was dead, he could hire a housekeeper to care for the house and mind the children; she would be a much better mother than I was.
I was vaguely aware this thinking must have some flaws in it. I’d take my phone out and, through the tears, scroll my contacts…searching for a name, any name of someone I could talk to; I could connect with. Scrolling….scrolling…scrolling…I passed each name, considered it, and kept scrolling. Some were friends I’d known for years and years. Some were family. Others claimed to be my best friend. But each of the names just left me empty. I judged they wouldn’t care or understand. Not one of them was an option to call.
Maybe if I could just cut myself…put the pain somewhere else…take it from my heart and my head? Maybe I could lie on the floor weeping until all the tears were gone? Or my kids would come home from school and I’d be needed to make them dinner or drive them somewhere. Always, always having to go out in public. With my stupid smile and mask of Normal.
I look back on that time and cannot believe I survived such isolation and Despair. No one knows or really even cares but me. It scares me to think of just how low I’d fallen.
I climbed out by myself. Spoke with my doctor about medication, found a counselor who cared and understood. I think back on that time… I think about the obliviousness of my “friends” and family. And it terrifies me.
Could someone like me be out there in the light…all alone?
And that’s why I Speak My Migraine. That’s why I won’t shut up. I was DYING in plain sight. Could someone else be suffering too? Do they realize they are NOT alone?