Let me begin by saying that I really don't like the term "life sucks." However, since it is used all the time, I thought I'd give you my take on it. In this case, my purple sucker and ribbon represent migraine awareness and the reason migraine awareness is important to me. I'd love to say that I have some grand aspirations of changing the healthcare system and the ways doctors interact with patients, as well as getting money and attention for migraine disease research. These things are important to me and I really do wish I could do those things, but when I think about why I spend time writing about migraines and posting information about migraines, I find that my purpose is often much different.
For me, awareness is about giving people hope - letting people who suffer from migraines and other headache disorders know that they don't have to live in despair or travel their road alone. Yes, having migraines does suck, but who doesn't have something in their life that sucks? I have a strong belief that when we come together as a community of migraineurs and advocates that we can literally change that "suckiness" into something can have positive ramifications in our lives, in the world and in the future.
Like a sucker which is sweet and long lasting, my involvement in migraine awareness has allowed me to get to know some people who I consider to be dear, life long friends. Their battle with migraine disease hurts me to watch, but they are my cheerleaders. I gain inspiration from them to keep on going in the face of pain, loneliness, and frustration. This has been life-changing for me and has been the result of other migraine advocates who have introduced me to the migraine community and have cared enough to reach out to me. Without this influence in my life five years ago when I first became chronic, I honestly don't know how I would have survived.
Every time I post something about migraines on Facebook or in my blog, it is with the hope that someone who feels as lost as I did five years ago will see that they are not alone. It is my desire that in building these relationships that individuals will become empowered to find the best medical care they can, but also that they will see hope in the midst of a very, very difficult situation.
I don't post about migraines because I feel like the world owes me something or that they should understand me. I write about it because I find personal strength in knowing that every time something is written about migraines in a positive, hopeful and educational manner that somebody's life might be touched and changed for the better. That person may be a migraine sufferer, a friend, a family member or a member of the medical community. Regardless, I kind of see migraine advocacy as a rainbow of purple where each link in that rainbow is the influence and caring one person gives to the next. By joining forces, we become that purple rainbow that can be see by others - migraineurs and non-migraineurs alike. They see it and hopefully gain strength, inspiration and hope from it. Hopefully, they look upon it and are inspired to make a difference, to learn more, and to add their voice to the choir of migraine advocates.
There are some people who are destined to make a grand difference in the world and the system regarding migraines, but I believe we as migraineurs all have the ability to become advocates and make a difference in someone's life. My personal philosophy is that we do this best through support, encouragement and education of the public that de-victimizes us and gives us power over our own healthcare, our lives and our emotions. That positive approach seems to be contagious to me. It draws others into it and makes them want to be a part of it, and they then become beacons of hope who pass it on to someone else.
Basically, my goal as an advocate is to become a candy maker - a sucker expert extraordinare! I hope that my advocacy might in some way make at least one person's life a little bit sweeter, a little bit more hopeful, and a little bit more positive.