Migraine and Headache Awareness Blog Challenge 16 - Perspective

  • What if migraine and headache patients were to look at living with our disease with this statement in mind: “The circumstances may actually matter less to our happiness than the sense of control we feel over our lives.”


    In today’s blog challenge post, we’re asked to view the TED talk “Perspective is Everything” by Rory Sutherland:



    I chose to write on this post because I learned as a child that, I could choose how I wanted to see my circumstances much as we all can choose to dream of a better world living with our migraine and headache disorders, or we can take action to make our world a better place.

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    I didn’t have much self-esteem as a kid – I still don’t. I could see my loss at a swim race when I was 7 to 18 yrs old as “I am not good enough” or I could see it as an opportunity to analyze what I’d done and use what I’d learned to get better for the next race. In other words, I could be a helpless victim of circumstance and use those feelings to become depressed about being a loser, or I could be in control of my future and change it to become better. I really didn’t like how losing made me feel. I really liked the feeling of power I had when I realized I was in control of changing myself to beat that same swimmer in our next race – and I did!


    I think this might be where I learned to really like being in control of my life, even if that control came mostly from my perspective. Those who follow me online often notice how I look at negative things in my life with a bit of a twist. Changing my perspective from “Oh darn, I didn’t win. I’m not good enough and just proved it in front of 200 people” to “Shoot, what could I do next time to be faster and possibly take home the ribbon?” really changed my life.

    Kids are sad when they don’t win the ribbon they’ve worked so hard for. I believe that’s why most kids are given a ribbon this generation, just for showing up. As parents, we don’t want our kids to be disappointed. What a chance we have stolen from them though, and that makes me so sad! If changing my perspective when I lost could literally change my whole adult life and help me survive chronic illness, maybe there’s someone else out there who might benefit from the same opportunity! They lose encouragement and the opportunity to grow and become stronger, so when the really big things in life go wrong, they know how to deal with them in a positive way. This is tragic.


    My takeaway from this entire month’s theme is that dreaming is just the beginning. There is also what dreaming inspires us to do and that’s what really matters. Dreaming gives us the inspiration to reach for things that seem difficult, or even impossible. It encourages us to act on those dreams to make changes that can reach far beyond our desires. Dreaming is a beautiful thing, but it is only positive when it is followed by action.


    I hope you get the opportunity to view this TED talk and apply it to your life with your diagnosis. Use what you learn to spread awareness beyond others who are “just like us” to those who don’t understand our lives. That’s where we can make real changes in the world. That’s where the championship ribbons come from.

  • Please share these awareness posts with others who may not understand what life is like with migraine and other headache disorders. A spark requires oxygen so it can grow into a wildfire, and you are the breath of this project. With the wildfire of awareness comes the hope of reduced stigma and better, targeted treatments for these misunderstood disorders.


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    © Ellen Schnakenberg, 2014. • Last updated June 16, 2014.

Published On: June 16, 2014