For the past 21 years, I have been living with Migraine. 

Today is my birthday, and I had woken up full of energy and happiness. I was looking forward to making the best of this day, even in this time of confinement.

I quickly realized that I was in prodrome, the phase before the attack. A sure signal for me that I had to do everything in my power to prevent the pain from hitting me and halt my life temporarily.

The habit of living with migraine, the fact that pain and transitory neurological disorders have been my companions for close to 2 third of my life mean that I know to welcome the signals with calm and what to do about them.

My partner also knows how he can help me. He is generously and patiently assisting me in my banter with the migraine. He brings me infusion, lemon, and water, cooks for me the food that helps me, clear clusters, reduces noises. He shows an understanding of the fact that I have been spending hours watching Netflix curled in bed to try and forget the pain and keep myself busy in a way that doesn’t hurt.

It makes me sad not to be able to give him the possibility to make this day special for me. 

It makes me feel bored not to be able to do anything enjoyable and rewarding of my time.

It makes me nervous to think about the expectations of his family who are in the shared garden in front of our door, if they see me, as it is after all my birthday. 

As a consequence of my companionship with migraine, I dread any kind of social commitments I cannot easily get out of as I am worried the pain might come between my plans and myself. I also know how difficult it is for people to understand something that they don’t see and how fast it can lead to involuntary stigma and judgment.

I also know the cost of pushing myself when in pain: a more prolonged, more painful attack.

I have sent my partner away asking him to enjoy his day as we are taking time off for the ‘celebration’; I see, indeed, no reason why he should sacrifice his day to mine.

I am glad he accepted my offer. He has shown to be here, I know he’s here if I need help with something or if I just need a hug.

He just left the room, and I am already feeling so lonely while he is literally on the other side of one of our bedroom walls, there in the garden.

I am not feeling lonely because of him being on the other side of a wall; I am feeling lonely because I am. When pain, transitory neuro- and mental health disorders take over my world, they shrink it so much that it is just them and me. It leaves me facing alone the fact that I am unable to do anything I’d like, that I am temporarily stuck in a prison of pain, handicap, boredom, and confused feelings. A prison I can get out of only by waiting for my time to be served, hoping that by being on my best behavior now, the cell I lay in will be more comfortable, and the duration of pain will be significantly shortened.

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Hi! I am an entrepreneur, social innovator, sustainability advocate, tech4good practitioner, as well as a speaker and advisor. I have chosen to dedicate my life to making a positive impact by inventing solutions to our biggest challenges and helping others be successful at achieving their mission. I love tech & innovation and work to build a fairer and more sustainable world. You can follow me on twitter at Valeria Duflot (@DuflotValeria), connect on Linkedin and learn more about me and my work at: valeriaduflot.com

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