Letting go

One of the many things I do most days to keep my head above water is listen to a dharma talk, a talk given by a Buddhist teacher. As I listened to one given by Annie Nugent this morning, I realized how much energy I have been expending the last 3 and a half years trying to keep myself from falling apart at the seams. Of course, I have been aware of the constant fight, but the totality of the effort struck me this morning.

I fight the pull of giving up and losing hope that I will get better. I fight to remain positive though few of the interventions my doctors and I have tried have resulted in any relief. I am exhausted mentally, and I am so tired of trying to get better. I am tired of being isolated because I cannot leave the house more than once or twice a week. The activity, noise, light, and smells that accompany leaving the house frequently trigger a migraine attack. I realize that it is not the case that the migraine attacks have only had negative effects on my life. Being unable to function normally has given me the time to read so many books that will help me as a counselor, but I am fed up with trying to feel positive. I am sick of trying to muster up excitement when I have small improvements such as thirteen instead of fifteen migraines a month.

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In February 2007, I began experiencing migraine attacks twice a month. Since that time the frequency has increased up to thirteen to fifteen a month. Since February 2007, I have been under the care of various migraine specialists. I have tried several preventative medications, attended physical rehabilitation twice, been trained in two forms of biofeedback, have begun daily relaxation and meditation practice, changed my diet, and entered an intensive outpatient program for migraine patients for 10 days at a clinic 4 hours away from my home. I have only begun to see improvement in my symptoms since June when I attended the multidisciplinary intensive outpatient program, though I still had thirteen migraines in August.

My ability to function has decreased since I began experiencing the migraine attacks. Between February 2007 and February 2008, I left two jobs because the attacks prevented me from completing job duties and, many times, going to work at all. After each job, I assumed that by leaving the emotional and environmentally stressful situations, the migraine attacks would decrease in frequency. (By environmental stress I refer factors that can trigger migraines such as light, noise, and smells.) The frequency of attacks did not decrease when I left these jobs.

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