Hi, my name’s Mark, and I’m Kim’s fiancée. Here are my feelings on migraine typed for all to see.
They are how I feel, and a view into the opinions of someone who lives with a partner suffering from Chronic Daily Migraine. Kim kindly asked me to write a guest post, I’m certainly not as adept at writing engaging posts as she is so do bear with me until the end, I would love to hear your thoughts.
I am a carer and I hate migraines.
I view migraine with a hatred only usually reserved for the very worst of the world, I hate them with such a passion it consumes my thoughts, my hopes, dreams and my life. I wish they didn’t exist; they are a daily agony and really make life a misery.
The strange thing is, I have never had one.
My fiancée Kim suffers from Chronic Daily Migraine, something which 8 months ago we didn’t know existed. Before then it was just undiagnosed frequent migraines we knew little about. While the journey has been torturous for Kim suffering with and learning about her condition which has been growing steadily worse, I have been with her every step of the way, holding her hand, being there for her and generally becoming more of a carer than I had envisaged ever needing to be.
People tend to have a disposition towards being a carer or caree in a two-way relationship, few are totally symbiotic. Even with the best will in the world there is usually one person who more frequently offers to be the responsible designated driver, sympathetic shoulder for family or friends, or seems more inclined to put others before themselves – I believe this is perfectly natural, and relationships still balance themselves well even if certain parts weigh heavier on one, or the other. This doesn’t detract from the love, friendship or understanding either person brings, but just a result of social interaction/psychology in action.
It should be remembered too in fact, that relationships are formed not just with your other half, but we have relationships with friends, colleagues, family, and even randoms at the shops. The simplest action of turning down in-store music whilst you’re browsing can make a massive difference to someone suffering with migraine, but the relationship between the shop staff and you the customer is usually not formed enough to make this happen (Although Kurt Geiger in Guildford wins hands down in this respect following a very pleasant trip recently – thanks!)
This can put a massive strain on the relationship dynamic especially if the caree is not usually disposed to being the one always doing the cooking/cleaning/washing/picking up kids/shopping etc.
Conversely I think it can work very well, where you have the caree in the relationship as the person with the chronic condition. In this scenario the social roles fit more easily into daily life, and it’s not such a hardship to adapt to new requirements or everyday changes.
I have been with my better half for 3 and a half years. We’ve been through good and bad times, and although the waters have been choppy in places, in November last year I was thrilled to ask her to be my wife (and she said yes!)
This was apparently not something she was expecting; the pressure on our lives of Chronic Daily Migraine was so great, and her future filled with such pain, torment and uncertainty that the thought of anyone taking this on voluntarily was quite frankly unthinkable.
I hear many stories of wonderful supportive other halves/friends/colleagues, but also many where relationships break down and unhappily end. This is very sad, and for those living with a chronic condition without support I extend my thoughts and best wishes.
It takes a lot more than love for someone to turn from caree to carer in a relationship, some change their outlook on life, and change, but some will never be able to and may never be able to offer the support someone with a chronic condition needs.
Happily however, in the most part family and friends rally round and do take up the challenge of caring.
“Hold up one goddam minute! Challenge? Caree? I don’t want to be viewed as a challenge!”
No – I agree, no-one does. It really is not a nice thing to think that a condition, over which you have no choice and limited control, causes challenges and pains for other people. No-one wants to be ‘the problem’. However some of the most enlightened people, and some of the happiest Chronic Daily Migraineurs I’ve heard from, are those that have accepted changes into their lives, understood that yes, unfortunately they are a pain in the ass sometimes through no fault of their own.
It is these people I respect the most, because as someone that spends a large amount of time being a carer, it’s important for me to accept and hate it too. I’ve sat for hours in A&E with Kim, her migraine at 11 out of 10 and felt completely helpless, I’ve needed to be the rock, the support crew, the backstage manager sorting out quiet tables in restaurants and taxi driver extraordinaire with extra lifts to and from work on bad days. The look on Kim’s face when she’s in the midst of a really bad migraine will melt the heart of even the strongest person and it’s a lot to take on.
If however I’m not allowed to voice my hate of it too, what do I become? Can I be strong forever, always being the positive spin? No migraine sufferer likes migraines, so I should be allowed to hate them too. By doing this, I keep the dialog open in our relationship and understanding much better. I love caring for Kim, it means our carer/caree connection remains stable and very happy indeed.
I like the fact both Kim and I can openly hate Chronic Daily Migraine, we would be living a lie if we didn’t, and our relationship is fantastic because of it.
Many thanks for reading - Mark