The onset of my migraine disease and New Daily Persistent Headache was sudden. One day, I was functioning, the next day, I thought I was dying. And I was not being dramatic. Before my migraines, I had a naïve way of thinking. I thought that when you got to a certain level of severity of pain, you died. And when I did not die from this incredibly horrific migraine pain, I certainly wondered what the heck God was thinking. How could he allow this? And all at once, I had compassion for so many who had suffered from pain so great.
As migraine disease and NDPH disabled me, my life took a drastic switch from busy and fulfilling, to slow and empty. I was angry at God. I felt alone. I did not understand. My faith in God had been unshakable up until that point. And, as my days with constant pain continued, I saw that I had a choice: To love God, the one I believed could relieve my pain, or not. God was not choosing to relieve my pain. And I struggled with that.
As I have had constant pain since the onset of my disease, waking up to a new day has sometimes been very difficult. I could not see any hope for my future because the pain was not relenting. Especially when I hit the one year mark and then the two year mark of daily intense pain, I realized my new normal was pain. I could not remember what it felt like to not have pain.
I got to a point where I doubted my faith and had given up on hope for anything to improve. I read something by Henri Nouwen, a catholic priest and author. In the book, Inner Voice of Love, Nouwen’s diary from when he experienced severe bouts with depression, he wrote the following: “Your main question should always be whether something is lived with or without God.”
God had let me down. He had not protected me from pain and suffering. So how was I to trust, love and believe in him? My faith had been shaken. But, Nouwen changed my mind. I decided I wanted to live my “something,” my migraines and NDPH with God. Regardless of if I had hope or faith or what, I want to live it with God. Logically, I decided that having God in my life is much better than without Him, even if my pain remained the same.
But what about hope? I wanted hope that my migraine disease and NDPH would be significantly better if not cured. But, as I discovered, that is circumstantial hope, hope that is dependent on those circumstances. If I became soley dependent on the hope that my circumstances would change for the better, I would feel very let down when they did not change how I thought they would. When I did not improve or when the pain racked my body again, I felt scared and alone. I questioned how I could continue when I was repeatedly disappointed. I often times would despair.
I could not ride the roller coaster of circumstantial hope. I had to find something more secure that I could depend on. I needed something to keep me walking forward despite my circumstances and that was Jesus. He died for me, for all of us. He gives me hope for a new life in Him. In Him, there is hope that someday there will be no more pain and suffering.
As I walk through my life, Jesus is walking beside me. He cries with me when the pain is unbearable. He holds me when I am weak. He is my strength to continue when I just don’t think I can stand another minute. Knowing that he cares about me and loves me so much, gives me hope.
And hope is intregral in continuing to fight the battle of my migraine disease and NDPH.
Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. Hebrews 1:11