When my migraines started getting referred to as a disability, it really bothered me. I don't look at migraines as a disability and I especially don't see myself as disabled. I hated that this was the way my illness was being described. It made me feel like people looked at me as weak or unable to fully enjoy and succeed in life when it's really the opposite.
My journey with migraines has been a long and rough road at times, but it's just one of those things I have to deal with. I've come to learn that we all deal with something in our lives every day. For some it's stress or anxiety, for others it's being in pain every day, for me, it's migraines. But this isn't something I struggle with every day. I've gone weeks without having a migraine, but I've also had six in one week.
At one point I did think my migraines defined who I was. There was a time where I was having one every other day or one would last over 30 hours. I've been in the hospital for one. I've missed social events or school because the pain was too unbearable. It was a constant battle to try to get them to go away. They started affecting my grades and my social life. I had to watch what I ate and keep my stress to a minimum. I felt like I spent all my time in bed and when I wasn't in bed, I felt like crap. My GPA suffered from this and I started to worry if I'd ever be able to hold a job or be able to go out with my friends whenever I wanted without worrying about it. It became unbearable and I became the girl with migraines.
Eventually, I had to stop letting my illness define me and start living my life whether I had a migraine that day or not. I had to force myself to get out of bed even when I really didn't want to. I had to start eating what I wanted and start hanging with my friends knowing I might wake up with a migraine the next day. I had to start defining my migraines as something I just have to deal with and power through, rather than letting them define who I was.
Eventually, I had to face the fact that I do have a disability. Migraines have kept me from doing everyday activities at times, but they've made me a stronger person. I've had to dig myself out of a very dark hole before because all I did was lay in bed, in pain, consumed with my own thoughts. Now I know when I have a pattern of migraines, not to let myself fall back into old habits.
And what I really know is I'm not just the girl with migraines or a disability, I'm so much more than that.