Sunday, November 11, 2012

Migraine and 30 Days of Thanksgiving

Chronic Migraine makes it difficult to concentrate on the good things in life, yet at the same time makes it even easier to appreciate them.  I really have been very blessed in my life - I've had dreams I made come true, and I have a loving family and good friends to share those dreams with. 

When we're hurting, it seems the pain is about all we can think of, doesn't it?  Nothing else seems to get through unless we make a concerted effort to go beyond our pain.

I'm reminded daily of the things that my chronic Migraine and other illnesses have taken from me.  Stolen from me.  It's easy to become bitter.  Resentful.  Thinking positively is SO important when I'm hurting.

Then on those rare days when there is a break in the pain, something little happens and it feels like I've won a million bucks! You just can't squoosh me on those days.  Sometimes I know I can be horribly annoying because I just can't seem to stop smiling.  I am and have always been a glass half full kind of girl!

This fall has been especially difficult for some reason.  My pain levels have been higher.  My autoimmune flares have increased in frequency and severity.  Migraines have gotten worse, and I have added different headache problems on top of my normal Migraine stuff.  I knew I needed to pay special attention to those things that keep me going, because I don't want to wallow in negativity that can be so infectious.  So, I decided to participate in a challenge - 30 Days of Thanksgiving.

The idea is to write somewhere each day - Facebook, Twitter, this blog or any of the others in which I participate - and mention something I'm especially thankful for that day.

I'll admit it... the last two weeks have been difficult for me, so this task isn't always as easy as it should be.  When I'm feeling good, all I can do is think about the wonderful things in my life.  When I'm feeling lousy, well, I'm more likely to feel like grumbling or venting than counting my blessings.

30 Days of Thanksgiving has been good for me though.  It pushes me to remember how blessed I really am.  It challenges me to look beyond what I am experiencing in the moment and remember what it is like to feel good.  The big picture is more important than the small stuff.  I wake up in the morning wondering what is going to happen that day that I can write about the next day.  I find myself looking forward to the day and its possibilities, even when the pain is overwhelming me.

In a season where it's so easy to be reminded of all the things we can't do, how do you keep yourself on track and remember to be thankful for the blessings you have?   

This post is my response to the November 2012 Headache and Migraine Disease Blog Carnival.   

A blog carnival is a collection of links to a variety of blogs on a central topic. The Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival has been created to provide both headache patients and people who blog about headaches with unique opportunities to share ideas on topics of particular interest and importance to us.  This month's challenge was:  Giving Thanks: What are you thankful for in your life despite living with a headache disorder or migraine disease? How do you stay focused on it when life gets hard? 

Live your best life,
Ellen Schnakenberg
~patient educator and advocate


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