I have migraines, joint pain, and some old injuries that flare up from time to time. I didn’t realize what the migraines were for the longest time. I just thought they were pretty regular headaches and when I wasn’t having the headache part of them, my existence was still torture. Some family members thought I was “just an angry person.” I wasn’t … I was an exposed nerve.
I took a lot of steps to decrease the migraines including having my wisdom teeth out (touchy topic but my roots were at 90 degree angles so it was a good idea anyway). Having my teeth out didn’t seem to help but wearing glasses did. I got a lot better from that alone and slowly started recognizing my migraines for what they were. I started to find a pattern: certain things I was eating and drinking. Not just nitrates (though plenty of those too). Sodium benzoate, among others. I have to read labels pretty carefully.
I messed up recently and found my migraines back in full swing. It took a few days to figure out what I’d done.
Even when my food and beverages get messed up, I’m in a better position than I was before. Meditation, maturity, and self-compassion work have helped me understand myself better and take care of myself better. I can be an exposed nerve but not be bound up in anger.
For the other stuff, it’s died down the last few months. It’ll be back. It sucks but it’s too hard to figure out the pattern so far.
I believe in medicine … to a point. I wouldn’t dream of saying medicine is unnecessary for migraines. I wouldn’t ask anyone to go through what I’ve gone through to figure out how to get mine under control. It made sense for me since I started this trip without health insurance. I’ve learned so much about myself and how to care for myself, I wouldn’t want to give up that experience even if it meant fewer years of agony.
I feel like it’s a mistake to rule out nutrition as a part of medical care. Medically dangerous nutritional ideas are a key example why doctors shouldn’t stay out of nutrition. But medicine isn’t even fully ready to deal with the fact that women have very different symptoms for heart attacks than men do. As long as the nutritional advice is “one size fits most,” it’s probably not going to work for me.
Even if medicine does start coming around to a more nuanced approach, I’ll still be experimenting, trying to find a better balance. It’s a part of who I am.