Laughing at Migraines

By Wanda

“When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves.” ~ Katherine Mansfield.

Being a migraineur, a spoonie, or even a parent, we face fear and failure on a regular basis.

With migraines we rarely have enough warning to remove ourselves to a quiet dark room and take our medications. We feel guilty about all the things we cannot do with those we care for, for the times we have to cancel plans, and for the times we’ve left early. We turn these events inward, laying the blame on us, and the guilt weighs us down.

These events are NOT our fault; our faulty bodies are completely to blame. Just as you cannot accept responsibility for another’s thoughts or actions, we cannot accept blame for our dysfunctional vessel. We did not ask for the migraines, or the pain, or the many other complications of being chronically ill. It is a disease, not a choice.

It is hard for us to contemplate living a thankful, grateful life amidst these struggles and perceived failures. It’s even harder to consider LAUGHING at them; that mindset shift seems ridiculous and impossible.

The thing is, when you can pull it off, it works brilliantly. Imagine sitting in your dark room struggling to open your triptan or find that one ointment you know will work on the day’s migraine. Whoever designed blister packs for triptans should be shot along side the person who invented the ever malfunctioning self injection pens. You can feel the migraine headed towards you at full steam ahead, but can’t get to the medicine without turning on the light and grabbing scissors. Our first response is one of frustration, which often leads to anger, but never to mirth.

Mirth is what is needed, though. Admit it, laughing feels better than getting angry. Many of us have developed somewhat warped senses of humor over the years, which can make laughing at ourselves possible; it is never an easy choice though. The wonderful thing about laughing at our perceived failures, learning to laugh at ourselves allows us to let go of the anger and thus release that event’s power over us. By turning away from anger and looking for mirth, we gain control of the situation, we have changed our mindset for the better.

Imagine all the times you’ve felt a failure, felt guilty for something you cannot control, felt responsible for someone else’s thoughts or behaviors. How wonderful it would be to laugh it off, or at least turn away from the frustration and anger!

Taking control of the way we react to life’s challenges gives us so much more control over our lives. Fear feeds anger, anger feeds bitterness, bitterness feeds depression, and depression feeds fear. By taking back that bit of control, by replacing anger or frustration with mirth or laughter, we break the cycle of despair and open our lives to light and laughter and much needed hope.

In this way, choosing laughter, or at least an “oh, really, body?!”, we have taken the power away from fear and fed it into hope. With hope all things are possible, even laughing during a migraine. Each time we do this it becomes easier. Each time we do this we take part of ourselves back from our disease. Each time we do this, we show that living life with migraines isn’t defeating us.

We get to show ourselves, our loved ones, and those around us it IS possible to live a positive life with migraines.

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