Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc. would like to thank Mita for sharing her story.
I am a 42-year-old multidisciplinary artist and podcast hostess. I use Pacing and Creative Coping strategies to get through life with chronic migraines and other chronic conditions.
Quick Backstory: I grew up with tension headaches and occasional migraine. Following a whiplash injury in 2015, the pain became chronic. I’ve been diagnosed with whiplash, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, occipital neuralgia and chronic migraines.
I have a headache every day. My baseline, on a good day, is a pain level 2-3 on the Doctor’s Scale, with migraine attacks every few days.
Since developing chemical sensitivity, it makes the pain hard to control, as I cannot take most
I have migraines with and without aura, with and without pain. I have cluster and ice pick headaches, as well as tension and occipital headaches. The list goes on, but the worst ones are the vestibular kind. The sudden dizziness and vertigo (so that I can’t walk properly) can be very frustrating.
This is all on top of my other illnesses, disorders and syndromes that have their own pain baselines and symptoms. So, I am limited. This is my reality. I only have so much energy to go around, and I need to pick and choose what I spend it on. I always must keep in mind that I cannot overdraw my account. I need to balance my ‘checkbook’, if you will, to
make sure I do not go down to zero, because I may not have enough to go around for the next day. (Obviously, I am not perfect at pacing as I find myself doing too much on occasions, as I get impatient with my limitations. Overall, I’d say I do pretty well with it though.)
So, what do I choose to spend it on? Well, some mundane tasks need to be done, like laundry or light cleaning, so I spread it out over a few days. I work within my boundaries which I have somewhat figured out via trial and error. This is part of pacing. I am a very lucky gal to have an extremely supportive husband and three children that help me with
some of the heavier chores. The house would be in utter chaos if this was not the case.
When the mundane, pragmatic things have been taken care of, I choose to use my energy on the activities that fill me with contentment. Whether they are Creative Coping Strategies, like painting, drawing, forest bathing, expressive writing, or just being with my family in the moment, or listening/making music (the latter depends fully on headache pain levels but within my capacity, music
will always have a part in my life).
I am also half of a duo where we talk about these exact things in a podcast which we have named Creative Copes – a labor of love for ourselves and what we hope becomes an aid to others in similar situations.
This is what I spend my energy on. Things that matter to me; that settle my body and mind and make my heart soar. I am not all knowing and cannot be worldly with how limited I am: I am clearly not meant to be a main figure in changing the world! But I can do Small Things in a Great Way, for myself and others, and hopefully someone can feel less alone because of my story and be more inspired to get up each morning and meet the day head on.
If you would also like to share your story, please email Kristen@cmaware.org
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