My Headaches Are Part of Me

One of my headaches. I say that. One of my not a. Maybe I’m just so familiar with them, they’ve been with me off and on for so long, they feel like part of the family, mine. Or maybe it’s because by possessing them, making them my own in some way, by thinking of them that way, it’s not me against them. Not my body fighting something external, but rather working from within, to bring balance back to my body. It’s not me working against the headaches or attacking some foreign invader, as much as trying to work all together to feel better. Teamwork.

I remember being affected years ago watching the two hour episode “Married” of The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Second Season. Mariette Hartley guest starred as a love interest for Bill Bixby’s David Banner. It turned out she was dying, and her last best hope was biofeedback to try to beat back the damaging cells. It felt partially right to me, working with her mind to help heal her body, but what always felt funny was the adversarial part of the approach. We saw images and thoughts of her fighting invading cells. Politically incorrect now, but she visualized ‘cowboys’ as her body surrounding and fighting ‘Indians’. Like I say, offensive imagery. But in the context of the show and its time, representative of a standoff, a fight, something she was waging against her own body.

I also mean absolutely no disrespect to how anyone deals with illness of any kind. Pass no judgment, make no assertions I know what’s right or what anyone else should do. No way I can. As the wise Native American proverb says, “Don’t judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.” But in this extreme hypothetical scenario at least, and in my limited personal experience with 20 years worth of headaches, working with my body just feels better than fighting it.

I remember some great advice given to me by a therapeutic message therapist regarding an injured ankle. When we hurt a part of ourselves, especially an extremity more easily distanced from our core, from our mind, the instinctive reaction can be to cut it off, not literally of course, but to sort of isolate it from the rest of us, from the uninjured, healthy part. Feel detached from it somehow, the injured part of us separate, only to rejoin the rest once healed. She explained the error of this, how important it is to still think of that ankle as part of the whole body, not distance oneself from it. I can still feel the difference just imagining feeling attached versus detached. One makes me feel whole, the other hurt or sick. It always amazes me how much a mindset can affect the physical.

What’s that saying? If you’re not with us, you’re against us. Why would we want to be against our own bodies? I just remember imagining if I were Mariette Hartley’s character, how different I think I would feel, if I visualized antagonistic fighting, attacking certain cells, versus visualizing all positive energy working with my body to heal and balance. Just like that ankle, I feel more whole, healthier already. And who knows how much good that feeling can do…

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