Lori Anderson and Heather Millican have collaborated to create this Art of Awareness Blog Hop featuring Heather’s bean beads! Each participant chose the color and word for a custom bead from swoondimples to bring awareness to something. Heather then made each bead and stamped them with a ribbon on the side opposite the word. Here is a picture of the ribbon side (along with a little friend, also made by Heather.)
My word is “accept”. Most people would not realize I experience chronic pain in the form of frequent migraines. I don’t talk about it a lot outside my family. People are used to those who are sick getting better. Chronic pain generally doesn’t get a lot better. No one wants to hear that often I am so exhausted and/or in pain that I have to tell myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I can go home. They don’t know what to do with that. Honestly, it’s easier to lie.
I started having frequent migraines in my 20s (I’m 49 now.) I took a proactive approach to treatment and learned everything I could. I tried every treatment, most of which did not work or worked for a limited time. If you are thinking now, “But I wonder if she tried this?” YES, I’ve tried it. While I realize they are trying to be helpful, it can be insulting that people with only a casual knowledge of [name the condition] think they know something you, who are living with it, do not.
I average 3 to 4 migraines a week between 4 and 7 on the pain scale. This is half what it used to be, so it seems pretty good to me. Some weeks are better, some are worse. I almost never feel “normal” as in having no pain, fatigue or other symptoms. Most of my migraines start during the night when I’m sleeping, therefore I wake up feeling as tired as I was when I went to bed. Of the ones that start during the day about half come on suddenly and with full force due to a trigger like a smell (perfume, smoke, cleansers.) Rescue meds (pain killers and migraine specific like triptans) don’t work well for me, so I focus on preventatives (several daily prescriptions, lifestyle choices, avoiding triggers.)
Here is the initial sketch for my piece.
I wrote the name at the top of the sheet to remind me to share with you the Spoon Theory. My life changed fairly dramatically with chronic pain because I no longer had the energy to do whatever I wanted. I only read this most excellent description of what it is like to have a chronic illness/chronic pain last year thanks to a post on Lori’s blog. I get that people don’t understand chronic pain. Intellectually I understand why I have to take two naps on a Saturday instead of getting things done, but I still sometimes have to remind myself that I’m not lazy.
I chose “accept” as the word for my awareness bean bead because that is the best thing I ever did for myself related to chronic pain. I could have spent my life mourning what I had lost, wishing for the life I’d had. But I didn’t want to pine, so I focused on what my life could be now. Because you can’t do what you can’t do, and I want my life to be the best it can be based on my reality. I continue to accept whatever changes come related to migraine as the condition ebbs and flows. I’ve been having a bad spring (weather changes are always difficult) but I know this won’t last forever. Or if it does, I’ll adjust.
My design did not change a lot from my initial sketch; I chose a similar design using different beads and tassel (from Woman Shops World) sort of merging it with a separate necklace idea I had in mind using a very colorful, bohemian style I am fond of lately. I like that because it is integrating this special bead (migraines) into a regular design (the rest of my life) instead of using energy keeping it off to the side. That’s sort of my philosophy behind acceptance.
I want to thank Lori and Heather for this hop. I know I will enjoy becoming aware of more people’s experiences and seeing the art they are inspired to make. I hope learning each other’s stories makes us more generous and understanding with each other and also with ourselves.
Please hop around to visit the other participants and give them some love. See the list by clicking here or visiting the links below: