Fighter | MHAM Blogging Challenge

Today’s prompt: Watch the Christina Aguilera video “Fighter” and listen to the song lyrics. How have your Migraines or Headaches made you a fighter?

I was born a fighter. It’s a family trait. Although there have been times when I wanted to quit, to give up and let Migraine and Cluster Headache win, I just can’t stay that way for long. Somehow, there’s fire within that keeps me pushing for a better quality of life.

That’s why it was so difficult to let go of working. It was a huge investment of time and money to finally get the career I wanted. I truly believed that counseling was what I was meant to do. It came so easy, so natural. Yet even during training, I has misgivings about my ability to do the work. You see, therapists have a Code of Ethics. In that code is a clause regarding “counselor impairment.”

C.2.g. Impairment

Counselors monitor themselves for signs of impairment from their own physical, mental, or emotional problems and refrain from offering or providing professional services when impaired. They seek assistance for problems that reach the level of professional impairment, and, if necessary, they limit, suspend, or terminate their professional responsibilities until it is determined that they may safely resume their work. Counselors assist colleagues or supervisors in recognizing their own professional impairment and provide consultation and assistance when warranted with colleagues or supervisors showing signs of impairment and intervene as appropriate to prevent imminent harm to clients.

Image by photostock at Modified with permission.
Image by photostock at
Modified with permission.

For this reason, I no longer accept clients. My physical health is so poor that I am unable to provide consistent services. It got to the point where I was canceling or rescheduling more appointments than I was keeping. It wasn’t fair to my clients. They deserved to have a therapist who could provide consistent support.   I needed to stop working and take care of my health. That decision was heart-breaking.

I still dream of returning to work, although I may never again be able to work directly with clients. Because I am a fighter, I keep trying to think of ways to use my knowledge to help others. That’s part of the reason that I started this blog and its mental health category of posts. I don’t want to waste my talent, skill, or knowledge.  So much of it is relevant to the management of Migraine.

At the AHMA Conference last weekend, Dr. Dave Watson explained that both neurological disorders and mental illnesses originate in the brain. He followed up by stating that many years ago, neurology and mental health were the same discipline.  I agree with his assessment. Mental illness can affect headache disorders. Headache disorders can also affect mental illness. One brain with the same neurotransmitters is responsible for thoughts, emotions, and pain perception.

As a mental health therapist, I have a basic understanding of neurotransmitters and the central nervous system. That really helps me understand the published studies about migraine. It also makes me an educated patient, one who understands the possible effects of medications. My training allows me to readily accept the role that thinking and mood play in pain perception. I can recognize the signs of depression or anxiety and distinguish them from the mood changes brought on by a Migraine prodrome.

I want to share what I know with other Migraineurs because this knowledge has helped me be a better patient. I’m not sure exactly how it will turn out. I just know that my fighter instincts won’t let me rest until I find a way.

The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge
is organized by the American Headache and Migraine Association.

#MHAM, #MHAMBC, #migraine, #clusterheadache, #chronicmigraine

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