After all the meditation, after all the angel healing, the massage, the Reiki, after all my alternative weapons against pain, I sometimes have to call in Excedrin Migraine for the final kill. I always pop the pills with a sigh of defeat for having fallen back on them once again.
What do you do when, after your best effort to heal, years of effort, you haven’t healed yet?
One thing to do is try your best to learn from your experience. This is what I’ve learned so far from migraine:
I’ve learned about the level of intractable pain that would make someone laugh at the idea of Reiki-ing it away.
I’ve learned how easy it could be to become addicted to drugs that put a dent in evil like that.
I’ve learned that turning to conventional medicine does not mean defeat.
Mostly, I’ve learned that healing doesn’t have to mean your symptoms go away.
There are plenty of online forums about chronic pain. Medication is a heavy topic of conversation. I cringe reading about how quickly people are prescribed meds. I cringe at the anger coming out of some people. And hopelessness. Wow I feel bad for that misery.
I also don’t want to stick around those places.
I have to wonder if staying away from helplessness and complaining has helped to keep my pain level in check. I like to believe it has. Although complementary therapies have not rid me of the headache, nausea, all that migrainey weirdness, have they managed to keep it where OTC meds can still help?
Some of the folks on those forums say that if Excedrin helps me, I don’t know what a real migraine attack is like. I say my attacks never got that bad because I never let them rule my life. Ok, they rule my life when I can’t get out of bed, but I don’t let them rule my thought process every waking other moment.
The line can seem fine between irresponsibly ignoring symptoms and refusing to succumb to incurable conditions. I feel sad when I see a person who seems to have “become” their diagnosis, because a first step to healing is to recognize the self outside of the medical condition. I like Eckhart Tolle’s description of what he names the pain body. Here’s a short clip of him explaining it to Oprah.
He is an odd guy, this pain body. I have spent delirious hours fighting him. I have lied and told him I accept him. Part of healing is acceptance but let’s face it. It’s easier said than done to say, “Hi Migraine, good to see you again. Thanks for all the life lessons. Let’s have some more.”
It’s more like “Thanks for all the lessons you ugly POS but I think I’ve had enough. Ok? Bye Migraine.” If I can’t do the acceptance, I try begging him to tell me what he wants. On and on with all these new agey self love techniques. I still haven’t found the trick of it. Maybe they’re mild, but I still can’t shake the migraines for good.
So I take the Excedrin now and then. Take that you pain body. There’s nothing like it, the relief spreading across that angry brain. It should be so easy to talk down the pain body instead of beating him down with 250 mg aspirin, 250 acetaminophen and 65 mg caffeine.
Usually you can’t Reiki it away once it’s started. Building your energy helps keep it away in the first place, though. You can’t yell at your pain body while he’s attacking. Wait for the next time you two are alone, like during your next meditation session. Ask him what’s up with the migraine. Again. Chances are he’ll tell you. Again. Sometimes you already know the answer. You ignored it, though. (That’s a whole other topic.)
It can be years before you two come to an agreement. In the meantime there are fighting and Excedrin, moments of understanding, and precious relief. Life goes up and it goes back down. All the while it’s only life. My life has migraines. Other lives have hunger and bullets.
Life on earth has a pain body, too, that we as humanity can acknowledge and release. One at a time we can find healing despite pain, joy despite hardship. Person after person, life after life, we can choose the path of transformation, transcending the pain of separation from ourselves and others.
Healing isn’t a grand path winged by angels and trumpets. It’s desperate moments, alone in the dark, choosing love over fear. Then sometimes choosing fear. Then back to love. Infinitum. The only thing is, recognize your choice. Feel its power.