Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Image“Alright everyone, let’s get this meeting started.

First off, let’s discuss what we talked about last week. Then we’ll cover any new issues, and close with a look at what is happening this week.

Any questions?”

This sounds like the opening to just about any club or group meeting. In actuality, this is how a family meeting is structured in my house. Having a weekly meeting is a great way to make sure everyone feels they have a voice. It’s also great for keeping up with a full calendar.

Before you start looking on me as some sort of domestic hero, I must confess: we just started having family meetings last week. It’s something we had done in the past, but discontinued for some forgotten reason. I’m hopeful that we can keep up the family meeting routine for good this time. Even if our schedules aren’t busy or when the kids have grown, it’s important to have a forum for issues. Everyone comes to the meeting with an open and respectful attitude, so no one feels they are being attacked or singled out. 

Last week, my issue for consideration was housework. I know I haven’t been doing as much as I could, but I also need help. So I mentioned my problem at the meeting and am taking this week to work on my side of the problem. Next week everyone will have had time to think of ways they can help and we can come together with a solution. 

Having a chronic pain condition means that my expectations for myself are always shifting. Family meetings are a chance for me to let my family know what I need and to be surrounded by support. In return, I hear their concerns and am there to support them. 

Getting through life is sometimes such a balancing act. It helps to have extra support.

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Adventures in Therapy

It’s been months since my last post. Not because I suddenly became well, though that may very well happen some day, but because I’ve been significantly unwell. And I haven’t wanted to focus on the headache at all. As a matter of fact, I spent the summer trying to ignore the elephant in the room and live life as though nothing was amiss. Image

I chose not to spend my evenings composing blog posts, which forced me to anyalyze myself. I watched Dr. Who with my family, becoming fully immersed in a lovely world of geekdom from which I was only forced to surface when there were no new episodes to watch. Instead of playing Dominion or Catan (table top games are one of my favorite past-times), I lay back and watched the rest of the family have fun. Rather than reading to myself, I listented to audiobooks. I may not have been doing the things I would normally do, but I was enjoying myself, right?

Chronic illness has a way of slapping off those rose tinted glasses and forcing you to face reality. As my headache worsened this summer, I was forced to re-evaluate my expectations of every day life.

And to ask for help.

In July I started counseling at a local practice. This about sums up what I took away from each session:

  1. We need to have family meetings every few weeks to talk about expectations, otherwise I won’t notice when I need help.
  2. My therapist has no idea what to talk with me about, so 30 minutes in he is looking at the clock .
  3. I benefit more than this talking with my husband.
  4. Learning skills to cope with pain, and talking with others who have similar issues might help, but this isn’t.
  5. I’m not actually depressed, if my head didn’t hurt I’d be fine. Thus I am diagnosed with “mental disorder due to a general medical condition.”
  6. Obviously we’re done here, can you recommend someone who knows what they are doing?

I have one appointment left with my therapist to close things up and see if he found any recommendations for me. I would like to find someone experienced with chronic pain and maybe a group therapy so I can hear from others. I’m pretty fortunate to not be prone to depression. I know of people who’s struggle with chronic pain is made worse by comorbid depression. Part of my reason for starting therapy was to rule this out in my case.

Feeling certain depression isn’t a serious factor for me, I am free to pursue my next course of action.

Which is…

Uncertain at best.

Seeking Help in the Wizard World: Migraine Awareness #15

How many times have I thought “I wish I was a witch in the world of Harry Potter.” So many things would be easier. Never mind washing dishes, there’s a spell for that. Mowing the lawn; I bet there’s a spell for that too. 

But a cure for migraines, even the healers at St. Mungo’s haven’t managed that. I imagine they struggle with the same issues our own beloved neurologists do.

So they may have spells for aborting migraines:

  • Zomingo
  • Maxaltium
  • Migraine Relashio

Spells that help you deal with the pain of migraines:

  • Alevium
  • Cranio Episkio

Then of course there are the daily preventative potions:

  • Calming Draught
  • Draught of Peace
  • Essence of Butterbur

Hopefully one day some great wizard will invent a spell to cure migraines, but until then, even the wizarding world faces the issues we do in the muggle world.

 

(Sorry this is a day late and I’ve been out of the loop for a bit. Blogging daily just isn’t my thing.)

Nothing Is Alone: Migraine Awareness #5

Over 18 years ago, my husband sang to me for the first time. He introduced me to new music, but even more, to the thrill of being serenaded. 

The song he sang was Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Nothing Is Alone.”

So very true! But not always obvious as it should be. I have days when surrounded by my family, I still feel isolated by a cloud of pain. A recent experience helped me to see through this seeming isolation.

It had been a rough few days. I was hurting and in a brain fog, but had exhausted my need for sleep. (Nice pun, eh?) We all had the day off and had spent it mostly together, but I hadn’t felt like going anywhere or doing anything.

Then I noticed my dog had a raging ear infection. I felt awful for not seeing it before and I felt I had to take her to the vet immediately. I left the house reluctantly; the vet was a 20 minute drive then a long wait for our turn.

Somehow, between petting my lovely lab and cooing over the other animals in the waiting room, I broke out of my fugue state. My furry one got the meds she needed and I got a dose of oxytocin from petting my pup.

I returned home and settled into hanging out in the living room with the family. Someone said something funny; I laughed. My husband noted that it was the first time he’d heard me laugh in over a day. (I live with some funny people; laughter is common in my house.)

It was a eureka moment. I was never alone, I just needed to let someone in.

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