Friday, July 11, 2008

From Despair to Hope

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


  1. I am happy to see someone who has faith. This is coming from someone who questions everything and lost faith long ago.

    You are very strong. Thank you for sharing your story. I think sometimes the easiest thing to do is "blame God" and to see that you've been able to not do that, or accept things and still love Him, is inspiring.

  2. Like Eileen, I also lost faith a long time ago. At best I consider myself agnostic. But I am very glad to see someone with faith, and talking about it in a very spiritual way, if that makes sense. Not just the crazy frenetic way. Eileen is right, it is inspiring to hear your story, and how you've questioned your faith but found an answer to those questions.

    Every one of us that has hope helps to bolster the entire migraine community. We all help hold each other up. I'm glad that you can also lean on God and have faith that He is seeing you through this, even if He cannot take away your pain.

    I look forward to reading more from you.

    Be well,

  3. Kelly your level of hope and faith is inspiring. I am inspired by how you go on living in spite of the pain. Thanks for the post! I've added you to my blogroll.

    - Megan

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Eileen,

    Thank you so much for your encouragement. Since I started reading other people's blogs, I have been kind of intimidated about blogging. There seem to be so many people who are informed and I'm not sure what I can contribute. Thanks for reassuring me that my story is important to share.

  6. MJ,

    Thanks for your comment. I still have a lot of questions that are unanswered. There are things to that I am not sure I will ever understand.

    Thanks also for your encouragement. As I said to Eileen, I am still figuring out what part in this blogging community I play and having the courage to speak up. Thank you for reading.


  7. Megs,
    Thanks for reading and for adding me to your blog roll!


  8. Glen,

    Thank you for sharing your input. In my understanding of migraine disease, it is a genetic neurological disease. I am glad you seem to have found your triggers and eliminated your pain.


  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Glen -
    Migraines ARE a genetic neurological disease to which there is no cure.

    Although I am happy to hear that you've found something that works for you, that is not the case with everyone. Some of us have tried the homeopathic route, along with other holistic treatments and they did not work.

    Trust me, you are dealing with a bunch of fine young women here who completely understand this disease and what it can do. We have been struggling with it for quite some time.

    Again, I'm glad you found something that helps you.

    All my best.