The tenacious, resilient dandelion

dandelion-1213172I’ve always loved dandelions. Their tenacity in the face of adversity fascinates me. They are beautiful nuisances that just won’t quit. Experts tell us that dandelions are extremely difficult to eradicate. Their extensive root system is difficult to remove. Yet leaving just a small root fragment in the ground can result in dozens of new rosettes the next spring. Additionally, those white balls of fluff are actually seeds that can travel miles on the wind. Obviously, nature wants dandelions to exist in great numbers. Despite the human pursuit of lush green lawns, dandelions persist. The odds are stacked against them. Under constant attack by human and insect alike, they have been forced to develop sophisticated adaptations in order to thrive. Full of natural gifts to guarantee their survival, they are helped along by insects, the wind, and small children everywhere.

Dandelions possess twelve traits that contribute, not to just to their survival, but to their ability to thrive in a world full of misunderstanding, animosity, and outright hostility. These twelve traits can be easily translated into behavioral skills that anyone can learn to use. You can become more like the dandelion — confidently stepping out into the world to do your thing, fully prepared to flip off the naysayers and drive away those who would seek to destroy or contain your light. It is possible to be resilient in the face of horrific pain, stigma, and misunderstandings. You can learn when and how to either ignore your detractors or shove the truth right down their throats. You do not have to let living with migraine make you an emotional wreck.

Whenever I talk about migraine or cluster headache, people inevitably shake their heads in disbelief, uttering these few words in a hushed, reverent tone mixed with shocked sympathy and amazed admiration. Their response nearly always leaves me feeling a little embarrassed, as though they think I’m some kind of heroine with superpowers. My experiences are no different than those of every other person living with migraine, cluster headache, or other headache disorder. The longer I write about migraine and the more patients I meet, the more I discover that it’s not my experiences that set me apart. It’s how I respond to those experiences that’s different. Anyone can learn to do what I do.