Migraines, Part 3

The last of three parts about what sparked my interest in herbalism—and my own migraine journey. Please note that nothing here is intended to be taken as medical advice or suggestions. Every person is different. If you suffer migraines, please consult with someone qualified to help you with them.

Today, I take a slightly different formula and what feels like potential migraines seem to coincide more with the onset of menstruation. Although there is some head pain and a feeling of unsettledness in my stomach, the main symptom seems to be chills.

All that said, I cannot neglect the spiritual-psychic-emotional side of the condition. The deeper work I’ve done on the migraines indicated to me that they have served as a “stop” on my overactivity. I’ve generally been a perfectionist my whole life; it was my way of escaping, of not being seen, of not dealing with my anger and my sadness. I was probably five when I began to cede everything to intellect. I was also five when I had my first migraine. I realize now that the emphasis on intellect was a survival mechanism, but it’s long outgrown its usefulness and its appropriateness as such a mechanism. And that means it’s time to become a mature, whole person—to allow my emotions to be, to not try to override them (or ignore them) through overactivity, to not feel bad when I don’t get to everything, to switch the “shoulds” to “coulds.” Everything in its place and in its time.

The migraines may have always been a tug of war between the intellect and the emotions. And the body, with its own wisdom, and Spirit, too, would step in to intervene and maybe remind me that I was not necessarily on the right path. The more I walk the “medicine way,” that is, the more I express my integrity by aligning with my soul’s purpose—and with Spirit—the more the headaches seem to recede.

In my life, I’ve known a lot of people with migraines. Each person—and each way they experience a migraine—is different. And that needs to be honored—both by the migraineur as well as by family and by health practitioners. I’d like to think that most any chronic illness offers deep lessons—any experience in life can offer lessons, so long as we look for them. But the nature of chronic illness can be to engage us in all of our many levels of being.

Thinking about this doesn’t work well during an attack, but giving the attacks the space and reflection they deserve does seem to help raise my awareness of what I’m thinking, feeling, eating—whether I’ve eaten! I probably would not have tried acupuncture, but for the migraines. And now, I would feel comfortable suggesting it to someone, depending on the nature of the ailment. A friend and fellow migraine sufferer may say the same thing about insight meditation. Bottom line, there are many paths to truth. And many of those paths involve illness and healing.

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