I tried not to make this whiney, but I’m warning you ahead of time, it might sound like it:
In late-January of 2012, I began experiencing headaches and migraines far, far more frequently, until they just blended into one migraine with differing levels of intensity. And somewhere around December of 2012 to January of 2013, I was diagnosed with a transformed migraine, which is a chronic daily migraine. This means that I have a migraine of varying degrees of pain at every second of the day. My most common symptoms are pain in my head, light sensitivity, and weariness from dealing with the pain. When it gets particularly bad, however, I become nauseous and must sleep, just like for a regular migraine. Last I spoke with a neurologist, there was no cure. Only pain management.
I have my good days and bad. As I write this, it’s a struggle. The pain is increasing, which usually means I have a migraine forming on top of the migraine. Yep, I still get other headaches and migraines on top of my base migraine pain; which, may be all that the varying levels of pain are. I’m never sure until I try to take medicine, because if it works that means it was another headache or migraine, and if it doesn’t that just means my transformed migraine is being fussy.
Headaches and migraines are frustrating things, because there are so many problems that can cause them. I cannot tell you how many things I’ve tried, only for there to be hundreds more possible solutions (and consequently, possible failures). It can get tiring and dismaying, and frankly that is part of why I stopped seeking helping some time ago, (plus the inherent cost in doing lots of medical tests and trials).
Why The Admission?
The reason I tell you all this isn’t for your sympathy, although I do appreciate any and all prayers. But the reason I tell you this is two-fold.
Firstly, I thought you should know why I’ve been absent in my blog posts, and absent from my social medias. Besides for some changes in my life, I just flat-out got tired and shut down, mentally. I didn’t want to even look at my website for the longest time. So, that’s why. I’m not saying it’s a good reason, nor the only reason, but it played its part.
However, the other reason is that I want to remind myself, and thusly you, that there is always hope, even in pain. And pain has a purpose.
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to make pain go away. I have prayed often that God would take away my transformed migraine. But the fact remains that the migraine hasn’t gone away. And my God is not a God of meaninglessness. And He is not a deaf God. And He is still good, and all-powerful. Which means that there is a purpose that I don’t understand about my migraine.
I’m not an expert, and I’ve heard that there are many great books out there on suffering. Unfortunately, I’m often intimidated to purchase them, because sometimes I just try to pretend like everything is alright. Yet I’m beginning to realize that, as in most things, there needs to be a balance. And hiding from the truth is never good.
As a writer, however, I can tell you what pain does to characters: It forces them to change. No matter what they were doing before, a character must adapt to the pain, whatever that pain is.
- Begins the search for answers to difficult questions.
- Causes a character to rethink their life and choices.
- Makes a character more empathetic towards others.
- Transforms a character, usually in good ways, but it never leaves them unchanged.
- Becomes the driving force in their life that makes a character take that one extra step that others won’t, no matter what their reason is.
- Reminds us that there is something beyond this life.
And as I thought about what it does to a character, I realized that it can do the same to us:
- Pain makes us ask the hard questions, and search for answers.
- Pain makes us think about how we’ve lived our lives and how we want to live going forward.
- Pain helps us to empathize with others.
- Pain transforms us.
- Pain drives us to take an extra step.
- Pain reminds us that there’s a life beyond this world to come one day.
Notice that above I said “can.” Because the opposite is true for each one of those – we can have questions and never look for answers, and we can become self-focused, pitying ourselves and angry at the world, unwilling to change, and completely unmoved by the new adventure beckoning us on, and forget about life after death. We can stick our noses down, bitter and alone, and try to trek out life on our own. I won’t lie, I’m still tempted to do this occasionally, especially when the pain is terrible.
To reiterate, I don’t know what you’re going through, and no one of us can completely understand each other’s pain. But be assured, that your pain has a purpose. And no matter whether it will be fixed in this life or the next, don’t give up hope.
(That being said, I am praying for you, that you would find relief from the pain. Because I have known on-going pain, and I feel for you.)