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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

21 September 2014

Migraine Moon

I'm in the midst of a series of migraines that don't respond to medication, not even the injection that I save for the worst. So I'm hoping this post makes sense, but if it doesn't you'll know why.

In my last post was a link to an article I found on the website, Spirituality and Health Magazine. The article, an interview with Brene Brown, interests me because it's about vulnerability.

Though the focus of the interview is not on people with chronic illness, I think anyone with a mental health issue that is difficult to resolve, or pain that won't go away, or a disease that turns life upside down, needs to learn to live with vulnerability. And one aspect of vulnerability is shame.

We feel ashamed when we can't perform up to a standard we used to hold ourselves to, or that we imagine others hold us to. We feel ashamed because people our age are out there accomplishing things and it's all we can do to manage our condition. There's shame in being the one that has to renege on a promise to participate in a meeting or outing or group activity. There's shame in trying to participate because maybe this once we'll feel well enough to stay, but having to leave early anyway.

I could go on. But whether we suffer with depression or chronic pain or a disfiguring illness or schizophrenia or addiction or a debilitating condition, we probably deal with shame. Brene Brown's interview, here, talks about shame and how it interferes with relationship. Since the isolation of chronic illness is already a problem, it seems important to understand more about things that keep us from getting close to people.

That can sound intimidating when we're suffering, the idea of connecting to someone else when we barely have the energy to be with ourselves. But here's an example of a way to connect within vulnerability:

My brother, whose photos you see in my posts, gets migraines semi-regularly. He was up and in pain one night recently and wandered out into the cool night seeking relief. He saw this moon, got his camera and took the photo. He calls it "Migraine Moon."

Photo by William Marsh
He told me about the photo in a recent phone conversation. What a neat connection, and it came out of his vulnerability, his pain, which he then thought would fit a post on my blog. It does. And I'm still in pain, thought I couldn't write much today, but am so inspired by the article I read and my brother's example of reaching out, that I've written a much longer post than I thought I could manage today.






Thank you for reading my blog. You can comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.


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