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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.

19 January 2015

The Power of Distraction

I have read that studies show people with migraine have less pain after they
exercise. So far, I haven't noticed that the pain is less. However, I have noticed that while I'm on the treadmill or the bike or working with my personal trainer, I'm not thinking about the migraine. If I push too hard, I'll get dizzy or have throbbing pain that reminds me I have a headache. But while I'm concentrating, the pain is pretty much forgotten.

When I get home and slow down, the migraine is back, sometimes worse than it was before I exercised. Yet my mood and sense of well-being have improved, so the trade-off seems worth it to me.

I'm lucky that there's now a YMCA three blocks away and I can afford the membership fee. And that I can save up enough to have two personal training sessions a year. For these things, I am so grateful. I don't take them for granted. (When the nearest Y was a bus-ride and ten block walk away and I was paying for tuition, I could neither get there nor afford it.)

All this is just to say that I'm now thinking of some of my pain management tools as distractions -- listening to Seinfeld and The Office DVDs, meditation and deep-muscle relaxation, listening to audio books on my Kindle.

What distracts you from your pain?

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


  1. Whatever routine one may decide to take on to alleviate those types of pains, they should, as long as those methods are studied and proven tested. Thus, people should take a bit more time to analyze those treatments and go with what is most proven. With something as delicate as migraine headaches, we should really tread a bit more carefully but surely. Thanks for sharing that! I hope you are faring better these days.

    Agnes Lawson @ Pain Relief Experts

  2. Agnes -- Thank you for this reminder. I agree that we need to be careful about what pain relief methods we use. For me, simple things like listening to a video or meditating have no bad implications for my health. But certainly, starting an exercise regimen should be approved by a doctor.