Saturday, April 6, 2013
I Accept Myself
"I Accept Myself Unconditionally as I am Today"---I heard this little tidbit while watching a documentary about food, incidentally, but it seemed to me to be very profound and a good mantra for a headache sufferer to have. As a person in chronic pain, I sometimes do not accept myself as I am because I cannot do what I want or need to do because of searing migraine pain. At those moments, I sometimes get depressed, telling myself that I should be able to do this or that, that I am not a good enough wife or mother or friend, etc. Additionally, at those moments, I sometimes feel anxious, I start to worry that my friends won't like me anymore because I always have to cancel on them, when I was working, I used to worry about how missing work was affecting my work record, what my colleagues were thinking and I would beat myself up for not being there for my students. I feel anxiety that I will never get better, my heart starts beating faster at the thought of always being sick, my palms get sweaty, I feel restless, hopeless, sometimes helpless. Sometimes, I want to scream and thrash around because I am so upset that I got landed with chronic migraines, which has led to depression and anxiety disorder. Now, I have a triple whammy to deal with every day of my life and to burden the lives of my family and friends. This is a hard pill to swallow (much like some of the many I take on a daily basis--sorry I couldn't pass up the pun!). It is difficult to accept that there are some things beyond your control and that pain cannot always be controlled and that depression and anxiety can creep up on your and alter the your life plans. You can end up in the ER any given night when the headache decides not to respond to your abortives/rescue meds; or, if you are like me, a panic attack may grip you without warning and send you to the ER in an ambulance! Or you may end up in the hospital for 12 days when you have a very bad reaction to one of your meds! All of these types of things affect everyone in your life as you scramble around figuring out who is going to watch the kids or cover for you at work or make your apologies for whatever event you have been forced to miss. When these things happen, it is really hard to keep your chin up and remain positive. It is really difficult to accept your lot and life and, even, to accept yourself. I think that this is because this kind of life is, obviously, not the one you would have picked for yourself and you hate being such a burden on your family and friends. This is not the vision you had for your life. This is not how you want to be. But, what if you can just accept who you are every single day, even on the really bad days? Could you, if you tried? Would you want to? Of course you would. Does accepting yourself as you are mean that you have given up, that realize that there is no hope for you, you aren't going to get better? Absolutely not. Accepting yourself today means that you accept yourself every day and that, as you grow and change, you accept yourself, as you get better and have pain-free days, you accept yourself, when you have bad days, you accept yourself. I think there is a great freedom in that. Say it. Learn it, write it down, repeat it: "I Accept Myself Unconditionally as I am Today."