I need to write to honour the marathon of days I’ve now run without a migraine. I am on Day 19 and am experiencing the mental clarity I once did pre-migraine October 2017. Almost exactly 10 months of chronic migraines and a break at last.
I pause at the use of the term “mental clarity” because in retrospect, I now understand in my 20/20 perspective, that this level of clarity didn’t exist pre-migraine either. If I wasn’t in a pre/post migraine fog I was in a cloud of anxiety mixed with chronic pain. My emotional state a major contributing factor, never comprehending the significance of emotional integration with my own body, let alone the people around me.
In the past week especially, I’ve enjoyed an energy level that has allowed me to clean my house and actually enjoy the process, juggle the abundance of time with my son over the summer break and attend my various appointments, feel an energetic charge build from my morning yoga practice, be somewhat adventurous in the kitchen as I explore my new dietary needs, and still connect with my husband at the end of a long day with a conversation and episode of Animal Kingdom on Netflix. The mundane of life’s to do list, now felt as proud accomplishments that I once was unable or unknowing of how to do them at all.
In this space, I’ve listened intently to my inner voice. Sometimes tiny and meek, and other times loud and obnoxious; she was saying the same thing in her various ways. “Please believe me.” And so I chose to finally do this with fear and trepidation, knowing that if I finally stopped ignoring her message, I would have to confront a deeper history of trauma I had not yet been strong enough to handle. Until now, Day 19.
The day after my last migraine on the morning of July 24th, my brain did this weird dot connecting thing, a flash of images from various times in my life, some recent, some from over 30 years prior. But in its Beautiful Mind fashion, I was struck with the intent of these specific recollections; this terrible thing happened, you did not understand anything other than your terror at the time, you were not ready to know this until now, it is not your fault and you are safe now. How do I know I am safe? Because I am now able to meet my own needs, I know how to give myself the compassion I deserve.
So on day 1 of this migraine free journey I had a breakthrough on my childhood trauma. And since then have consciously carried it, feeling its heavy burden on my chest, forcing my shoulders to fold inward on my spine creating the familiar chronic neck pain, I had so long ignored, every yoga practice I had to fight back the tears, as attunement with my body meant a release of this traumatic tension stored for over thirty years. I had always carried it, it had just emerged from the depths of my unconscious.
Through my teaching, I had always taught my students about the importance of “telling someone” if some type of abuse has occurred. My brain always thinking that once you tell, then something will happen to fix the problem. As a trauma survivor, I now see that this thing that has happened is not something to be “fixed”, as it can’t be. It has happened and will never unhappen. But I also know what it is I want from telling. I want to be believed. And with that belief be treated with compassion. That is all.
In the integrated strength and awareness of Day 19, I was able to tell someone. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I was met with belief. The peace I feel is whole and know that even with the work I have ahead of me to fully integrate these recent surfacing traumatic memories, I will be able to do so and experience greater peace, calm, safety and beingness with each passing day. And until my next migraine (and through it and beyond) I will be; present, compassionate and aware to myself and those around me.