Migraine : Listen to Your body : What Your Body Says About You, Your body will get you out of anything you don’t want to do.
I’m fortunate to talk to wonderful people who are inflicted with chronic fatigue, migraines, endometriosis and other chronic ailments. I know by speaking to people who have chronic illness there’s is a common thread in their behaviour and emotional patterns. The best thing about seeing these people is many of them have moved on from their illness.
What I’m about to talk about is anecdotal, it’s based on my findings and my own research in talking to like-minded professionals. There are not many Western professionals who advocate to ‘Listen to Your Body’ and discuss ‘What Your Body Says About You’.
From the perspective we’re discussing here, there are two types of migraine. Some people get a precursor neuro-image, others don’t. If you get that strange pattern in front of your eyes, you likely use it indicator for what’s about to happen. You get the opportunity to put yourself in a place that’s safe and quiet. If you don’t get that precursor pattern your migraine must be awful because strikes so quickly.
The Traits if You Listen to Your Body.
Whether you get that precursor pattern or not, there are traits about you as a person. So, let’s look at some of your traits. You may not believe these things about you. If you don’t ask someone if they are you!
You’re highly driven,
It’s likely you’re a perfectionist (interesting seeing as you’re trying to be perfect in an imperfect world)
You’re likely to be OCD (Excessive Compulsive Disorder) and this can be hard to pick because you can be OCD about things that others don’t see,
Followed What your Parents Wanted
It’s likely you’re following a path that you’re parents wanted you to follow and you, to gain their love, followed with gusto. You may not be aware of this, you may want to discuss it with siblings and friends, and be ready for your ah ha moment!
Everything in it’s Place
On a day to day level, I bet everything in your house is in it’s place, open your wardrobe and have a look. (You could invite a friend or someone like me who’s not like you and who’s very honest to help you with this). All your clothes are in their place, all hanging and folded with nothing out of place. Glance down to your shoes, I suspect they’re the same with nothing out of place. Now move to other rooms. Start with the kitchen, once again all very neat, no dirty dishes and everything in it’s place. Next, your lounge, then the office and even the laundry. All the rooms that are controlled by you. If you have a partner and he tends to do the outdoor work and works in his garage or shed, you’ll find you don’t have the same influence over these spaces.
What you Wear
Also on a day to day level, monitor what you wear. Yes, your attire. It’s likely you tend to wear conservative colours rather than feminine pastels and most importantly, you wear clothes that would never have a filament out of place. Everything is colour coded and everything must be so, so.
That’s a quick run down, does it sound familiar to you?
Real World Example : What Your Body Says About You
I have a client in Canberra who has regular migraines and I went mentioned these traits to her she agreed her bedroom was like this. But when I suggested a change strategies, she said it would never happen, she couldn’t do it. She said she would prefer to have a migraine every couple of weeks than make the changes. It’s interesting how strong these traits are.
Listen to Your Body
I know and I agree, not all those traits above are relevant to you. But I also know you would be quick to deny them too by saying, “No, that’s not me!”, “I may drift into some of those tendencies, but you’re wrong!”.
If you get migraine headaches you need to talk to someone you can trust, someone who’ll give you the tough-love explanations about what you’re life is about. You might start with a friend or sibling and ask, “Am I like this?”. Please be careful not to shoot your messenger.
By the way, do you go to a doctor for drugs? Do they help? Yes? No? It doesn’t matter. Migraine drugs are very strong, and while they may work for a while, they will have side-effects. This is the time to re-look and examine aspects of your life.
Tough Bit : the Change : Listen to Your body
Now it’s time to have a look at what you can do. Firstly, you have to recognise that you’re the only one who can fix this. You may think it’s normal, you’re suffering and it’s something that you’re stuck with for the rest of your life.
Ask yourself, “What am I willing to give or give up to stop these migraines?”. This is important because for you, the way through to a migraine free world can be tough, it will mean character changes, emotional changes and most of all changes in the way you see the world.
Let’s take a look at the steps I outlined above.
Being a driven and ambitious person is fantastic, you get a lot of things done and you’re unstoppable. You also drive others around you crazy with need to do things properly. It’s time for you to slow down on this.
We both know it’s human nature to do something as well as we can. You feel worthwhile and it elevates you in the eyes of your boss, friends, family and work colleagues. What you want is to do things absolutely perfectly, where second best just won’t do. If you’re like this you’re setting yourself up for failure and the depression and anxiety that follows. This is where your headaches come from.
Think about your early environment for a moment. Was there fierce competition amongst siblings or were you bullied at school? That competition within the family frequently develops if your parents are authoritarian and their love is conditional. What would happen if their love was given out as a reward for good behaviour or withdrawn as a punishment. Do you see where we’re going here.
I remember talking to a really good friend about perfectionism a few weeks ago. He’s somewhat expert in these matters and his response was to manage and nurture perfectionism. What he said makes sense too because a mild degree of perfectionism is a healthy thing. It gives you the drive to achieve things you wouldn’t otherwise achieve and it can give you the motivation to persevere. Especially in the face of discouragement and obstacles. High-achieving athletes, scientists, and artists often show signs of perfectionism.
Stress, Anxiety and Depression
As we’ve discussed, it can also be a source of stress, anxiety and depression. This is where I split with my friend’s opinion. I believe that perfectionism is fantastic until it makes us sick and this is why you get that migraine. We know people with perfectionist traits are more likely to suffer clinical anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders and eating disorders.
Your tendency to strive for perfection is a recipe for failure, because it can’t be attained. You will always fail and you’ll experience feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration and sadness. It’ll difficult to just ‘be’ and simply enjoy day-to-day living because your time is taken up with worrying about your supposed shortcomings.
By the way, if you’re OCD, it’s a fair chance it’s linked closely to your perfectionism.
The Really Hard Task — Doing something about your Migraine
Go back to the list above and tick off the things that are applicable to you. Remember, you may need help, if so, go get it.
Lets start with your bedroom.
Go into your bedroom open your cupboard, grab a handful of clothes and throw them on your bed. While you’re there, move things around, change the position of the way things are hanging. Then look down to those cherished shoes. Get a shoe and throw it (lightly) into the corner of the room and leave it there, grab another shoe of one colour and put it with another of a completely different colour. Your dirty clothes. Where are they? Tip them out on the floor of your bedroom. Leave the room like this all day, then tomorrow, do it again with different items.
This is all about disorder.
The kitchen is next. Leave crap around the kitchen, dirty dishes, leave the butter out, swap things in the cupboards. You might put things under sink or elsewhere, it doesn’t matter. Leave those tea/coffee cups where they are for the day. Just to clarify, there is a difference between crap and grot, we don’t want grot and dirt, this is unhealthy.
In your lounge I presume you have cushions on the lounge/sofa? Throw them onto the floor or pile them all up one end of the sofa. Leave those dirty cups there on the table, pick them up later and when you do, put then in the kitchen, don’t wash them yet.
How do you hang out your washing on the clothes line? Everything is in it’s place, socks together, shirts, pants etc all have their place and you hang them out a particular way, don’t you? Do you colour code the pegs as well! No more, your clothes will dry whatever way you hang them out. Don’t try to tell me with that story they are easier to iron, I won’t wear it. When you iron your clothes, stop ironing everything. You don’t iron pillow cases, undies, tea towels and jeans.
Here’s a really fun thing to do. Do you exercise each day? Runners, track suit, leisure suit etc? Tomorrow, wear odd socks. When you go out, wear something that are not ironed, also try wearing clothes that mismatch. For example, wear a skirt or pants with a blouse or shirt that you wouldn’t normally be seen (dead) in.
This is sounding very tough for you isn’t it? I get that…….
That’s why you’ll need help because you’re here to change habits and you’ll need to do these things for weeks and weeks to lock in the changed habit.
There you have it…….
Have an awesome migraine free day.
Check out this video on Choosing You. A Bit of extra self love won’t hurt you.