Lessons From Pain and Loss

By Wanda

“Pain and loss define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it’s a world or relationship every thing has its time and everything ends.” 

When we were little children just learning to walk we fell often. We accepted falling with a little fuss and then got back up and tried again. When we were older, we moved from walking to riding a bicycle. Again, falling and getting back up were just part of the process. What pain we suffered became acceptable in the learning process. In life, like in riding a bicycle, we can learn from our pain. We learn to keep trying, we learn determination, we learn to work for what we want.

One of my goals as a parent was to teach my children to keep going, keep learning, and to keep your eye on your goal. If we are always looking down, there is no way to see where we are going. All we see looking down is how rocky the path can be.

As Migraineurs and Spoonies, our paths in life are full of stones and rocks and detours around fallen trees. Stones are the everyday complications we face — the anxiety over when a migraine might hit, making sure we avoid triggers, and just putting one foot in front of another. The rocks are having to make sure we always have meds with us, the cycle of trial and error of finding medications that work without making us zombies, and the odd side effects of migraines. The felled trees are the lost of things we miss out because of migraines, the exceptions we had for our lives that will never come to pass, and the knowledge no matter what we do there will always be a migraine monster in out lives.

The thing is, without pain we’d never understand the absence trials in our lives. Without pain, we’d never understand pleasure or happiness. Without pain, we’d never complete know (as only WE can) how beautiful life can be. Without the loss of what people consider “normal” we wouldn’t know how strong we can be, we wouldn’t understand how precious the happy times are, and we definitely wouldn’t be as emphatic and kind only those who suffer pain and loss can be. Without pain and loss we wouldn’t be who we are — and who we are is completely up to us. It is in our choice to be bitter or better. It is in our power to BE better, to let us concentrate on happiness and love. Only we can decide how are are going to react to pain and loss.

The key to finding ourselves in a place of happiness and love is to accept things are the way they are in the MOMENT and not dwell on the pain and loss of how things were before we were attacked by the migraine monster or any comorbid conditions we may have with migraine disease. When we concentrate on the NOW instead of the future, it leaves us open to look at the positive things around us. So, we have conditions and diseases that make life different from other peoples so called normal. We also have a strength of spirt and will others don’t have because we have to deal with pain on a regular basis. Given this change of focus to the now allows us to appreciate a level of happiness others may never know because we do know pain and loss more intimately.

I’ve found a method of looking at negative invasive thoughts that is extremely helpful. Any thought we have can be held on to or let go of — again, it is our choice to become bitter or better. Envisions thoughts as boxcars on a train. We have to acknowledge the thoughts but we don’t have to dwell on them. So, you have a negative thought. They happen; it’s perfectly acceptable and hiding from them only makes them more invasive.

Take my boxcar example:

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All thoughts are boxcars, both good and bad, happy and depressing. Acknowledge the negative thoughts like reading the side of a boxcar and let the train keep moving. Don’t stall the train on the tracks; don’t unload the thought at your station. Let that part of the train pass. When you have a thought from a place of happiness or love, slow the train down. Open up the boxcar and unload the thoughts. Dwell on them, think about them, unpack them. Allow the feelings of happiness and love pour over you. Allow these feelings to stay with you for a while. The key to this method is to accept all thoughts, but choosing the good ones to let stay with you.

When we accept our power over thoughts, we tack control of our outlook on life. There is no hiding from thoughts, no ignoring them. To do so only allows them to fester and take control. Thought patterns directly effect our attitude. By taking control of how we approach our thoughts we take control of our attitude. By taking control of our attitude we take control of we take control of outlook on life. By taking control of our outlook, we take back our lives — we move from bitter to better.

Screen Shot 2019-09-20 at 10.49.51 AM

Header Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-raising-hands-near-sea-at-sunset-1392084/

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