Companionship - A Migraine Patient's 30 Days of Gratitude

  • When I have a Migraine, I try to use distraction as a way to get myself through rough spots. I'm known in our family for watching movies over and over again until I know them verbatim, and I have a DVD collection that would make some video stores jealous. Add Netflix to the mix, and I'm never at a loss for something to take my mind at least partially off my pain and nausea.


    Today, my accompanying abdominal pain and nausea was overwhelming. I was desperate for something to take my mind off of things, as my Migraine medications weren't working at all.


    Silly me, watching "The Monsters Inside Me" didn't make me feel any better, lol. So, I found a documentary called "The Whale," narrated and produced by Ryan Reynolds. It truly intrigued me. In fact, it inspired this post.

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    The story goes something like this:


    A baby killer whale lost his pod and ended up all alone in Nootka Sound near Vancouver, Canada. Many thought he was too young to survive, but he did. However, killer whales are extremely social, living in family groups called pods for their entire lives.


    Now, the thought of living with every member of my extended family for my entire life is enough to make me want to run away screaming, but this is the way of Orcas. They are not meant to be alone.


    The little whale became known as Luna, and when he found himself alone, his need for companionship trumped any fear and all instincts he had to stay away from people. Not only did he befriend everyone in the sound, but he constantly made a nuisance of himself begging for attention and the touch of a human hand. He craved having someone just look into his eyes.


    In trying to protect Luna, it was declared illegal to touch him, interact with him, or eventually, even to look at him. The fines could be as much as $100,000. This left Luna desperate for interaction and contact. When Luna was being touched and was allowed to interact with people, he was happy and healthy. When that was taken from him, he became dangerous in his attempts to elicit any kind of attention he could manage. The locals began to fear an accident would happen, and someone would have a reason to kill their beloved friend.


    I don't want to ruin the story for you, and I highly suggest you take some time and watch the film. Then, stop and think about how we as chronically ill patients, are so very much like little Luna.


    When we're sick, we are isolated and alone. But we're people, and we're not supposed to be alone. We crave something so simple as a touch, and like Luna, if we are deprived of this basic need, bad things can happen to us.


    This story reminded me that seeking out companionship is as vital to us as the air we breathe. Without it, we are changed. We are easily broken. We are easily upset.


    Today, on day #19, I am feeling so very blessed that I have a family who loves me, and puts up with me as I hug them goodbye when we are lucky enough to see each other. I am so deeply grateful for the friendships I've been lucky enough to make online with you, and other chronically ill patients. Our friendship may not be the kind that allows a hug or a touch, but it's close to looking into each other's eyes. It's acknowledgement that we are. That we share things unspoken. That we understand and care about each other.


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    Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the ways I cope with being disabled by my Migraines. Teri and others find it helpful for them too, and they're sharing their thankfulness things with you here.


    Would you like to join us? It's easy to keep a gratitude journal, and you're always welcome to share any of it here in our community. Journals can be handwritten or kept on your computer. To share here, you can create a SharePost of your own, or you can post comments to our posts.


    For a listing of all of our 30 Days of Gratitude posts, see A Migraine Patient's 30 Days of Gratitude - Introduction.


    Live your best life,




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    © Ellen Schnakenberg, 2013.
    Last updated November 21, 2013.

Published On: November 21, 2013