A few weeks ago I wrote a post called What’s Your Story, and I didn’t say all I wanted to say. You can read it here.
I think that I look at my migraines as “my story” because that was the most recent major transformation that I’ve been through and completed. I can look back to the person I was when I got sick and compare her to the person I am now and she is a vastly different woman in a lot of ways. When I started my life as a working adult I started a new transformation, and I think I’m still in the thick of that transformation. I can tell you I like the woman that I am becoming, and I feel more like myself than I have in years. That being said, I want to go back a little further in my story, to a time before I got sick.
I want to go back to 15-year-old Amber.
I struggled a lot in middle school. I struggled to make friends with people and stay friends with them. I got teased a lot. I would be made of fun of and called gay and lesbian and such because I’d never had a boyfriend.
Fast forward to sophomore year of high school. I met a boy at youth group with a friend. We kinda hit it off. After spending a weekend mission trip together we talked some more on the phone and shortly after started dating. It quickly turned to if I wanted to see him I had to go to church with his family.
Feeling included is super important to me, and making sure other people feel included is also extremely important to me.
The hormonal 15-year-old teenager needed to see her boyfriend, so of course, I made it work that I saw him on Sundays and went to church with his family. We talked about God a lot. He was the oldest of 6 in a Catholic family. Within 2 months of dating, I’d decided I wanted to become Catholic, so I started that process.
As I went through this I lost a lot of my friends in high school. I didn’t talk to them as much. This boy quickly became my whole world and my every thought. At one point, as wee little 15 year olds, he asked me to marry him and I was absolutely on board. It wasn’t one of those things we publicized. I mean, we were 15. But it felt so real.
After 6 mos together, he called me and woke me up to tell me he didn’t think God wanted us to be together anymore and broke up with me. Needless to say, I was a hot mess.
I didn’t really have any friends left. I didn’t really have anywhere to turn. I lay in bed and watched Grey’s Anatomy and slept the rest of the summer. I look back on the summer and think “man, I probably needed some serious help”.
I’d lost a lot of who I was. I forgot how to have joy.
As the school year started up, I was getting ready to enter the Catholic Church and I threw myself into the thick of youth group and church. I was hurting so much and I threw myself into this religion and God and the people at church. I wanted to feel loved. I wanted to feel wanted. I wanted to feel accepted. And I felt those things there.
Anyway, I eventually dated someone just because I wanted to prove to myself that I could date someone again. I made friends. I did all the things. Looking back on it now, I wonder how much of it I did because I wanted to please the people and because it felt like they expected me to be there.
Fast forward to sophomore year of college, and I have so much on my plate that I get a migraine that doesn’t go away for 6 months. You can read more about that part of my story here
As I healed and got better I had a long way to go in learning to say no to people and things and learning to take care of myself. My struggle with migraines is a huge part of why I am so passionate about helping people take care of themselves. I learned early in life the toll not taking care of yourself can take on your body, and I don’t want to see people suffer in that way.
For years, I had a lot of anxiety, especially with relationships. I knew I wanted to get married, but dating someone terrified me. I didn’t want to repeat my mistakes with that high school boyfriend. It took me 10 years, but I found someone worth taking the risk at a time when I was ready. And for that, I’m extremely grateful. It’s empowering to work through different emotions as I’ve been dating this man and knowing the source of the anxious feelings.