Which person in your life has helped you most to hold on to hope, despite your Migraines or Headaches and how?
I have written a great deal about my family (here and here), and specifically about my husband (here, here, and here). He is the reason I keep fighting. When I’ve lost all hope, he gives me a reason to hold on. This time I’d like to describe the qualities that make him such a great support. He’s not perfect. Sometimes he says stupid stuff or focuses on his needs when I am least able to understand or help. That’s just because he’s human. Honestly, he’s a much better at this than I am. I think it’s because he’s had a lot more practice.
It bothers him to see me in such pain and be unable to do anything about it. So when I do ask for something, he’s willing to do it. He’d do anything to help me feel better. Because he knows how disabling attacks can be, he worries about me when he can’t be there. He truly cares. More than once he has shared the pain of watching me deteriorate and the fear that I will never get better. Most of the time I think he prays for a cure more than I do. Part of that has to do with his vision (see below), but we’ll get there soon enough
He doesn’t feel sorry for me, yet he truly cares. If I asked him to, he would cancel all his plans just to sit with me in the dark all day. Being able to understand all that I go through, he can truly put himself in “my shoes” and imagine life through my eyes. He keeps a lot to himself. On occasion he will share our story with others only to be faced with same stigmatizing comments we all despise. It drives him crazy.
He loves to learn. What I experience matters to him. He wants to know about my headache disorders, the treatment options, and what’s coming up next. He even joined an online support group just so he could learn more. He reads my posts here and at Migraine.com as well as user comments. He loves to read about other people’s experience with migraine, too.
Beyond a natural curiosity, he also understands what I share with him. However, experience is an excellent teacher. When we finally realized the headaches he’d been having were actually migraine, it opened his eyes. Everything I’d been saying for years suddenly made more sense. The more we talked, the more the lights came on. Migraine terms like “hangover”, “brain fog”, and “cave” have become part of our everyday vocabulary.
He’s a “big picture” thinker. He sees my potential and believes in me. Because he can see my potential, he mourns for me. More than anyone else, he feels the loss of “what-could-have-been.” He was the first person to ever tell me that getting migraine attacks 3-5 times each week was not normal. He was also the first person with any clue how to get me help. It doesn’t matter that his idea didn’t help because he’s been with me through every trial, failure, and success since that very first date.
He puts me first, sometimes even when he shouldn’t. He thinks I’m brave and strong, and he tells me so. Although he struggles to comprehend everything about my experience, he still brags about me to others. He struggled to accept his own diagnosis because he knew his attacks were not as disabling as mine. He felt like his experience didn’t deserve the “migraine” name.
This quality is a work in progress. At this point, I have the better grasp of it. However, I love that he’s even willing to try. We talk a lot about what acceptance is and why it’s so hard to attain.
He’s my cheerleader. Because I have comorbid depression, sometimes I get overwhelmed by tough breaks and lose hope. He’s right there to remind me of the possibilities. I think that’s why acceptance is so hard for him. He’s got this radical sense of hope that one day I will be free of migraine, cluster headache, and all the comorbid conditions that complicate our lives. Despite knowing that all are incurable, he still holds out hope that someone will find a cure.
When it comes to headache disorders,
what qualities do you think make a good support person?
The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge
is organized by the American Headache and Migraine Association.
#MHAM, #MHAMBC, #migraine, #chronicmigraine, #clusterheadache