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Kimberly's Self-Advocacy Story

Kimberly’s Self-Advocacy Story

Kimberly’s self-advocacy story is written and told by Kim B and edited by Miles for Migraine team.  Miles for Migraine’s Advocacy Stories highlights the many different ways that health advocacy shows up as individuals advocate for themselves and others. This project is not limited to migraine and other headache disorders, nor is it limited to individuals that personally experience a health condition.

Kimberly’s Self-Advocacy Story

I’m relatively new to the migraine community, but I’ve already met many people who also understand what it is like to navigate life with migraine. We have a shared rapport. The people I’ve met are so supportive, especially when you need it the most. I never really knew what advocacy meant or how to go about it for that matter. After hearing about Miles for Migraine, my life changed for the better.

I recently advocated for myself and made an extremely difficult decision. About a month or so ago, I realized I could no longer work full time and decided to transition to part-time, which was a great step for me. Fast forward to the present. I made the hard decision to resign from my job.

Kim’s Migraine Story

I am a former special education teacher. Most recently I was a registered behavior technician doing applied behavior analysis therapy for children with autism. Helping children and seeing them reach their goals brings me such joy! Right now, however, I realized even part-time was not working for me. I was only working three hours a day in person, but it was still too much. I never thought I would have to take a step back from something that I love.

I realized that as much as I love what I do, I have begun investing more value in my own well-being. That meant first admitting to myself that any commitment was too much for me. I’m only thirty-four, and I can’t even handle three hours a day. I got really down on myself, but I’m now coming around and changing my thinking. I see this act as finally putting myself first.

My health and well-being are worth something and, with this huge life change, I can say I truly advocated for myself. I’m so happy that I did. I felt instant relief and a burden coming off my shoulders. I didn’t have to feel bad about missing work, showing up late, or getting sick at work due to migraine. I was doing this not just for me but for the clients I worked with because they deserve someone who is fully present. Someone who isn’t trying to push through the pain while unable to put my whole self into my work.

What Self Advocacy Gives Kim

There is a silver lining. I’m proud to say I do have another job now, one that is remote and has incredibly flexible hours. I don’t have to worry about being somewhere at a certain time or about how I might feel. I’m not stressed that I’ll have to miss work or need someone to pick me up because my light sensitivity is too severe.

I don’t know if I’ve made the “right” decision, but I do know that if I hadn’t stumbled upon Miles for Migraine, there is no way I would have known how to self-advocate or had the courage to do so. I know many people have similar stories, but sharing mine puts me at ease. Knowing that there are people out there who truly understand and are there to support us, gives me hope for my future. It buoys my spirits as I continue the journey of discovering advocacy.

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Tell your Advocacy Story

Do you have an advocacy story to tell like Kimberly’s Self-Advocacy Story? What is one of the most memorable advocacy experiences in your headache disease journey/daily life? Try to recall a time when you practiced advocacy. Perhaps you shared your story, posted on social media, or attended an advocacy event such as Headache on the Hill or a Miles for Migraine event.

Looking back on that experience, what did you notice? Did you experience a negative moment such as shame, stigma, or a positive moment such as joy, hope, or relief? If there was conflict, did you resolve it or was it a conflict that still affects you today? If the outcome was positive, how did that make you feel? Did the outcome cause you to advocate again for yourself? How has your most memorable story shaped you today? There is no right or wrong way to share your story.

Donate

Are you inspired by these advocacy stories and want to donate to  Miles for Migraine? All or part of your donation may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution. Please consult with your tax advisor. Funds raised help with our operational costs so that we can continue to produce races and youth camp events. Money raised through donations and race registrations goes directly to medical organizations researching migraine.

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