Chronic Migraine Warrior

Chronic Migraine Warrior

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Identity

There has been something that has continually been nagging at me for at least the past few weeks. In my post, Anxiously Hopeful, continued, I discussed how getting the permanent stimulator is an anxiety-provoking and somewhat scary change. But, I still wasn't satisfied with why I felt so anxious about such a positive change in my life...

Today, it hit me...

When I was in the car accident that started this journey of chronic pain and debilitating migraines, I started out in complete denial that who I was would have to change. I held on so tightly to who I was because I couldn't even face the thought or the possibility that I had been changed by a split moment in time.

It took me almost 2 years to really accept that things had changed... I had changed. The beginning of that revelation was around the time I began this blog (about 3 months ago). So, I had gone from having my identity pretty well understood before the accident to feeling like I didn't know myself at all. I had changed so much with the chronic migraines and everything that I barely recognized myself. I have been able to finally work through some things and start to build a new identity for myself, with the recognition of the limitations that the migraines have placed on me. Which leads me to my latest "ah-ha" moment...

Getting the permanent stimulator will put me back in the place of having an unknown (or at least unclear) identity. I will not be the person I was before the accident because 1) I have changed, and 2) I will still have limitations (the stimulator lowers my pain, but it doesn't completely get rid of it). I will not be the person I have been with the chronic, debilitating migraines because the migraine intensity, frequency, and duration will decrease. So, I won't know my identity, for the me with a stimulator. And, this is scary to me.

So, I started wondering... is the identity issue more an issue for me or for others? And, I think it's some of both. If I don't feel comfortable in who I am (or at least that I know who I am), then it is difficult to interact and communicate who I am to other people. And, others already don't know how to deal with me because they don't know what it's like to live in chronic pain. They don't know what I live with day-in and day-out, so they assume I haven't changed from what they think I've always been (which is already a distorted view of who I am or was).

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I need to remember what's most important is not WHO I am, but WHOSE I am. I am a child of God. The only identity that matters is my identity in Christ. I know this to be true, and yet everything else I have written also seems so real...

Love Beats Hate

While people sometimes use the internet to spread hateful messages about marginalized groups, including people with chronic illnesses, we want to show that love is more powerful than hate. The Love Beats Hate blogging event (November 17, 2010) is an opportunity to share the ways in which you've seen the support of online communities enrich your life or the lives of others.

Personally, I have received an overflowing of care, support, and encouragement from online bloggers. I have only been a member of the blogging community for a few months, but my 'invisible illness' began a couple years ago.

The pain has increasingly worsened, which has consequently increased my feelings of isolation. I have been able to connect with others online in such profound ways because many of us live in chronic pain. Even though we have never (and probably will never) met each other in person... in many ways, we know each other better than some people we do meet in person. It's as though there is an unspoken bond between people that live in chronic pain. It doesn't matter what type of pain it is... just knowing that another person truly understands what it's like to be in pain all the time, knowing that it's not going to ever just 'go away'... it takes the pressure off and allows both people to feel comfortable enough to begin to take the mask off that we're so used to putting on for the world. We can be true to ourselves without trying to pretend... finally! And, it hurts to face the changes, but the blogging community is there for you as you trudge through the roller coaster of emotions and journey from who you once were to who you are becoming.

The online blogging community has allowed me to express myself in ways that I never would have before. I feel heard in a way that I never had before. And, even though I know that my experience is unique, I find comfort in the words of other bloggers who share their words and prayers. So, to all of those bloggers that I've crossed paths with, THANK YOU... you've helped me in unique ways through some difficult parts of this ongoing journey.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog is intended as medical or legal advice.

What I write on this site is my own, and if it is someone else's, I take special care to attribute it to the original author. So, please don't use any of my material without proper attribution or permission. Thanks.