Friday, August 24, 2012
The other night I attended my two oldest daughters' middle school Open House. At the Open House, the parent(s) follows the child's schedule and gets a chance to listen to the teacher discuss his/her class and his/her expectations for the child. During the lunch slot of the child's schedule, the parent's congregated in the cafeteria to feast on cookies and bottled water and to chit-chat. Well, I nervously ate a cookie, even though I should not have as I am trying to eliminate sugar from my diet. I didn't need the water as I'd brought a bottle of coconut water. Why was I nervous? I guess I wasn't exactly, nervous, but self-conscious, maybe. I felt awkward, much like I did for many of my junior high and high school years, because I didn't have anyone to talk to. As I looked around the cafeteria, through my sunglasses, of course, some of the people looked vaguely familiar. I knew that I had seen the some of the same faces at a Choir concert or a soccer game, and, yet, I did not know any of them well enough to approach them and begin a conversation, and I, certainly, did not count any friends among them. I felt sad about that. I realized that I really don't have very many adult friends, meaning friends that I have made in years since college. One reason for this--chronic migraines. The chronic migraines have kept me so shut-in that I haven't made any connections with other people. I have not been able to work for four years, so I have not made any co-worker friends, as most adults do. There are no lunch dates or work Christmas parties on my social calendar. I do not go to church, mainly because I usually cannot function on a regular enough basis to join a church, so you can cut out church picnics and prayer groups. So, I looked around and watched other parents who were also friends, or at least acquaintances, talk about their kids, church, town events, and so fourth. And, I just prayed for the bell to ring, so I wouldn't have to stand there like a loser, sipping on my coconut water all alone. There are a myriad of ways that having chronic migraines impacts my life, but this particular side effect, so to speak, did not really hit me until that night. So, what can I do? I, unfortunately, do not see an end in sight for my chronic migraines, so there will always be missed sporting events, concerts, birthday parties and other potential friend-making events. The only thing I can do is try to make a real effort to spend my good days among other adults and not be afraid to approach people. I have to stop feeling ashamed of my disease and its impact on my life and simply accept my fate and celebrate the good days. A lot of the time, I don't want to make the effort to talk with others because I hate explaining why I am not working or why I have to wear sunglasses inside. It's time to let that go, to stop feeling bad about something that I cannot control, and, instead to try to "put myself out there" more and make new friends. Easier said than done, I know. However, I am up to the challenge, it cannot be harder than dealing with migraines, right?