Light Can be Found in Darkness with Advocacy
Light Can be Found in Darkness with Advocacy is written and told by Larua L. 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.
Advocacy Out of Necessity
My advocacy story began as I believe many do: out of pure necessity. I sustained a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, during a motor vehicle accident, although at the time I wasn’t diagnosed as such. I was simply treated for injuries and told to move on.
Prior to that, I had the misfortune of being predisposed to years of medical mistreatment because I am overweight. Prior to my accident, many doctors had already ruled out my physical complaints, saying they were “in my head.” Well now, they truly were.
It took four long years of grueling appointments, being told I was imagining my pain, and that I couldn’t possibly be experiencing what I was telling my medical team before I was finally reassessed by a set of fresh eyes. That doctor was the first one to truly look at me, Laura, the woman who had been living the past four years in terrible pain.
During the following year, I would find out that I did in fact have what was called a post-concussive syndrome, a type of brain injury. That brain injury would turn into intractable migraine. I would undergo countless orthopedic surgeries for the many issues that had been overlooked during those years that my pain was ignored. But not all of this pain was in vain.
I have been in dark places with my pain. When I was suffering, especially from migraine, I even considered ending my own life. Having years with little to no support from my medical team made me search for my own answers. That pain also made it very difficult to sit at a computer to look for any possible answers that might be the key to making the pain the slightest bit better.
Light Can be Found in Darkness with Advocacy
That’s why I started a website that provides all of the best resources that I have found over the years in one convenient place. The website domain, LitUpMyMind.com, is inspired by the thought that light can always be found in darkness. Through all adversity, whether that is a brain injury or emotional trauma, there is always light and hope. LitUpMyMind is a free resource sharing the most valuable content I endorse and have found helpful on my journey of healing to help educate others about headache, migraine health, and brain injury.
I have been blessed beyond measure that I got through my darkest days. I have been able to come out the other side and I see that there is life to be lived with chronic pain. Before, I used to think that it was just rhetoric, but once I stopped fighting the pain and accepted it, my life truly did get better.
With this newfound sense of acceptance, I have found an inner peace I didn’t know existed. Now I am able to give my pain a purpose by helping others advocate for themselves. I am so lucky that I never gave up advocating for myself.
Tell your Advocacy Story
Do you have an advocacy story to tell? 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.
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.
How did you get involved with Miles for Migraine? After watching an interview with Miles for Migraine founder, Eileen Jones, I attended a planning meeting for an upcoming local race, but spiking migraine symptoms restricted my ability to further volunteer and I was unable to attend the race that year. Since then, I have enjoyed…
Kelly Clarke’s advocacy story is written and told by Kelly Clarke and edited by the 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…