Apart from the fact I'm doing the world a favour by not sharing one of these, and as much as I know that breast cancer is a huge, huge problem, I have my own agenda to support.
Seriously, though, well bloody done to those who have posted no make-up selfies, the money raised is astronomical, and just goes to demonstrate the power of social media. It's really an amazing achievement and a well-needed boost for research funding.
*quick edit to let people who don't know me know that I suffer from chronic daily migraine. I have 3-5 migraines a week of varying pain levels. I refuse to let this beat me, and take 7 kinds of medication. I had my first medical botox (40 injections, as opposed to the cosmetic 4-8) a few weeks ago*
But, migraines kill people too and frankly, nobody actually seems to give a flying f*ck. I'm a member of Chronic Migraine Awareness and last year, tragically, one of our members Melissa Dwyer committed suicide. She just couldn't take living with the pain anymore. And chronic migraine sufferers are the strongest people I have ever come across. We're a bunch of tough bitches (and blokes), let it be known.
Melissa was 22 years old. She was a beautiful, vibrant young woman whose life was just getting going, but in a post here for migraine.com, she was living a life that nobody would wish on anyone.
Isn't she just a ray of light?
Sadly, she's not the only one of us to succumb to this fate. Migraines are a neurological disease indeed, but cause depression, loneliness, social withdrawal and so much more. Migraines ruin lives, they tear friendships apart, they ruin careers, they kill ambition, they cloud over hope - I can tell you about all of those first-hand. And this is why we NEED to raise awareness. Read about migraine and suicide here.
Like Melissa, I am super lucky and thankful to have a partner that is along for the ride. Many migraineurs don't have this, some have even lost touch with their families. Melissa had a supportive network - her mother went to every appointment, they drove across the US in search of treatment, she had tried everything and was at her wit's end.
The global medical community should have been aware. Life is precious and my heart goes out to her family - her Mum is amazing and continues to campaign for migraine awareness.
I share this to emphasise that chronic migraines (or even chronic pain in general) can be devastating and we need people to understand us. I surround myself with loving and supportive friends and family that GET IT, and ignore those that don't. People often tell me that they feel helpless and aren’t sure what to say to someone like us. Others now ignore me, avoid my gaze at work. I'm not a mental case, I have an illness, you just can't see it. Your acceptance, friendship and empathy means EVERYTHING. Love us as we are - never doubt our pain or make us feel guilty for cancelling plans. Check in on us from time-to-time (although don't call my mobile, I'm scared of the phone!) Don't get stroppy because I cancelled on you AGAIN.
Imagine dreading your birthday because chances are you will have to cancel your own birthday party.
Before anyone has a hack at me, cancer is a very serious problem, I know this. My dad, and his dad had it. There are more migraine sufferers though, about 1 in 10 people get them. They might get them once a year like I used to. Then again, their lives could suddenly be devastating by the migraines becoming chronic (more than 15 per month!) like happened to me, Melissa, and my fellow chronic sufferers.
As much as I play it down in-person, this is some serious sh*t. I'm under my 2nd neurologist, now at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. I take so many pills my liver is probably going to pack up on my next birthday. It's not a way to live, and there's not enough research done by Big Pharma because it's not going to make them enough money (although Allergan, who make botox, are doing alright now it's the ONLY treatment licensed for chronic migraine). I have spent £000s on my private treatment because if I was under the NHS, I still might not be even diagnosed. THAT would have driven me crazy.
So here is my migraine no makeup-selfie.
Taken about 3am this morning while some of you no doubt were crawling home from a bar crawl. I was supposed to be at a birthday party last night but my nerve endings had other ideas. I couldn't sleep because of the pain, which was only helped by some breathing exercises. It was one of the worst I've ever had; I was in hospital twice in December with these '11 out of 10' migraines but all they can do there is give you morphine. Which doesn't always work.
Yes my eyes are swollen and yes those are tears. I can't stop my body crying with the pain, but crying makes it hurt more. I can't really go around the office like this so I muddle on through to avoid the questions but the sunnies do make the occasional cameo.
I was running the London Marathon this year but had to pull out because my condition isn't improving, BUT I have a place already saved for 2016 and will crawl the bloody thing if necessary. Please sponsor me here: http://www.justgiving.com/kimberleyruns
Thank you to those of you in my life SO who get it. You are everything to me.
If you took a make-up free selfie for cancer, or any other disease awareness, please share this too. Tell your friends. Use my name. I don't care. Get this f*cker shared.
People know cancer is a killer. What they don't know is that migraine (or any other chronic disease) is too.