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To My Therapist, Who Can Empathize With Me as a Fellow Migraineur

To my therapist,

How can I begin to thank you?

How can I begin to describe the ways you’ve helped me?

When I think back to that warm, sunny afternoon when I called therapists listed on my insurance website, I never realized how thankful I would be to have you as part of my healthcare team. At that point I was desperate, stuttering and sputtering due to aphasia and shivering from allodynia so severe even the slightest breeze felt like a million razor pricks on my legs. You were patient, you listened to me, you treated me like a human.

A recent California transplant, a place where talk therapy isn’t as commonplace as it was in New York, I’ve continued to find solace in airing out migraine-related anxieties and receiving an objective perspective. And I’ve learned that therapy addressing chronic illness is a bit different. Anxieties stretch their unwieldy arms to include fears about walking down the street or riding the bus. Will my legs collapse under me as I walk my dog? How can I be prepared if struck with aphasia in the grocery store, during a job interview? What do I do if I start convulsing on the bus? My insurance has cancelled service and I don’t know how to cope. I forget how simple and banal healthy life once was. But I never forget how badly I want to regain that simple life.

It takes a special kind of empath to understand these overwhelming bursts of bizarre symptoms and circumstances. And you, a fellow chronic migraineur, understand my experiences. Every week I arrive with a new set of challenges, goals and achievements (job interviews! riding the train! taking a day trip!), and every week you guide me with respect, kindness and perspective. I appreciate that we can compare our warped vision, auras or light sensitivities. I remember every doctor recommendation, every coping tip, every word of wisdom you’ve shared with me. And I truly value these tips you share with me. I have yet to meet a chronic migraineur as tough and hardworking as you, and I strive – one day, in my own time – to achieve a sliver of what you’ve achieved. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and given me. You’ve given me more hope for the future than anything or anyone else.

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Thinkstock photo via Wavebreakmedia.