Written by Kristen Estep for Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc.

It has been quite awhile since I have written anything but I need to get some things out of my head. When I don’t write them down they play on repeat in my mind which isn’t good for my migraine or my mental health. Previously I had let you know that I also have depression and anxiety and they have made a comeback over this past year!

I am not writing this for pity, I simply need to get it out so I can move forward. Depression sucks! It is an all consuming beast that can present itself in many ways. Although I am a pro at masking, if you don’t really know me you probably would never guess the soundtrack on repeat in my head! I say the most horrible things to myself! Why? Why do our brains do that? I would never say anything like that to others so why is it ok to say to myself? In my rational mind, I know none of it is true but man sometimes I start to believe the awful thoughts!

Depression and anxiety seem to hold me hostage when I am in a bad cycle of migraine. This entire summer has been a bad cycle for migraine, for me anyways. The weather is a huge trigger for me and it has been a wet, humid summer here. With that being said, even on nice days I have very rarely gone outside. I haven’t done any of the things that I usually enjoy in the summer. Most of the time I can’t even get off of my couch. I look around and I see all of the things piling up that need done but I just can’t force myself to get up and do them. Which in turn causes my anxiety to skyrocket! I will make lists and never accomplish them. The soundtrack returns and I fall deeper down the rabbit hole.

But we see you on social media and you look happy, like you’re having fun. What you probably don’t know is; I am actually having a decent day or I am completely faking it! I do all of my pictures/videos on the same day with clothing, makeup & hair changes so that I have content to post.

I literally disapear from most interactions. I do the bare minimum to get by. But believe me when I tell you that I know I am letting you down and that also is apart of the soundtrack. I couldn’t tell you the last time I reached out to someone about this, but guess what? There really isn’t anyone that reaches out to me anymore either because I’ve disappeared, so there’s that.

I was so looking forward to going to RetreatMigraine, believing that it could help heal my soul. Hoping that connections made would grow friendships and understanding. I know for a fact that I cannot be the only person who feels like this! I held on to my determination to attend until a couple of weeks ago. What happened to make me change my mind? In short, my job at the hospital. Being directly and indirectly exposed to Covid almost every single day I work. How can I, in good conscience, go to RetreatMigraine knowing that I will not be able to quarantine beforehand and the increased risk of carrying it to someone who is immunocompromised.  I can’t do it and it is for your safety. I couldn’t shoulder the responsibility of knowing I caused someone else to get ill. Yes, I am vaccinated.

I don’t know when I will get my mind to cooperate again but in the meantime, please be patient with me. I care, I just can’t seem to force myself to do anything about it.

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