1. I have a much higher tolerance for pain than most people

pain (chronic headaches)

I have been living with migraines since I was 12 years old. Recently within the past couple of years, they transformed into a constant, daily headache. I rate my headaches out of 10, and I haven’t had a 0/10 day in over two years. Two years of having a constant throbbing, whether minimal or intense, really helps build up your tolerance for pain. With my chronic headaches come even more health related issues that I’ve faced over the past couple of years. I’ve been in ERs more often than the average person and have had needles stuck in me every which way. I don’t necessarily enjoy going through the painful tests, prodding or experiencing the throbbing and pounding that I do, but I appreciate and am proud of the fact that I am physically able to endure much more than some might.

 

  1. I have true friends and I have friends who are conveniently my friends

pinky swear (chronic headaches)

When you have a chronic illness like I do, it’s hard to make and stick to plans. Your illness and symptoms dictate whether or not you actually end up going out on Friday night like you hoped to. Having a chronic illness consequentially has me flaking out on a lot of plans last minute because my head is screaming at me to calm it down and rest. I always feel guilty backing out of plans and I know it can be frustrating for the person on the other end as well. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been able to find out who my true friends are. I’ve learned who will be there for me through everything and won’t get angry when I don’t feel well enough to follow through with plans, and I’ve learned who is just around for the times that it’s convenient for them.

 

  1. I have a passion for the healthcare industry

healthcare

Before this past few months, I thought I wanted to work in the events and entertainment industry. However, after visiting countless doctors and, more recently, seeing how my advocating for others with illnesses like mine can positively affect other people, I’ve fallen in love with the idea of working in the healthcare industry as an advocate for people like myself. If I hadn’t been given this chronic illness, I wouldn’t have found this passion of mine.

 

  1. How to effectively communicate, for the most part, my feelings of distress and pain to someone close to me

pain due to chronic headaches

Having a chronic illness puts a strain on any relationship, whether it’s a family member, friend, or significant other. At times, I shut people out when I’m in a bad spell and my headaches are worse than normal, because my emotions are low and mentally I’m not in a great place. I know that I get frustrated and snap at people, without thinking about it of course. I also know how frustrating it is for the people who care about me to see me suffer like I do. But after all the ups and downs my relationships have faced, I’ve learned that I have to try to be as open about my illness as I can with the people that I’m close with. I’ve learned how to effectively communicate how I’m feeling in order to help them understand. They are my chronic pain support groups, my real life chronic pain forum.

 

  1. How to pick myself up after falling over and over again

dont give up

I’ve tried so many treatments that I’ve lost count–and only a couple of them proved worthy. I’ve hit so many speed bumps and roadblocks along the way of trying to find relief. It gets exhausting and frustrating. My chronic headaches have had me convinced that I will never see relief ever in my life. I’ve fallen down so many times that I feel like my perseverance and endurance have been heavily bruised. But what I’ve learned throughout this entire health journey of mine, is that no matter how hard or how many times you fall, you have to pick yourself back up. No one else is going to pick you up and force you to keep going. You have to pick yourself up off the floor and keep fighting for progress. Even if it takes me a while to do it, I know I’ve taught myself how to stand up and keep going even after the hardest fall of them all.

I’m 23 years old and have been living with migraines for 10 years and have been living with chronic daily headaches for 3 years. I am passionate about advocating for patients such as myself who are continuously seeking relief in their chronic illness journeys.