I’m dissatisfied.

Six months ago, I started weaning off my medications for chronic migraine. What an adventure that’s been, and I’m not even halfway done! If everything continues according to plan, which it almost certainly won’t, I’ll be off my medications by the end of 2021, more than a year after I started this arduous process. And the worst case scenarios–me never getting all the way off my meds, or needing to restart some things I’ve dropped –are still distinct possibilities at this point. The unknowns remain just as unknown as they were at the outset.

With less medication managing my pain, I get migraines from the silliest things nowadays…a long bike ride, a poor night’s sleep, odd weather, food poisoning, and who knows what else. This is entirely unsurprising but also extremely difficult and discouraging. I had hoped my body would “level out” to a better situation than what I’m in right now, though there was no guarantee that would happen. I knew the drugs could be hiding the pain without fixing it. I knew that migraine is considered a treatable, not a curable, condition. But I can still remember my life two years ago, when I had no migraines, and I can’t help but imagine getting back to that reality, that prior version of myself.

In response to this, my doctors would tell me to lower my expectations. I’m setting myself up for disappointment, thinking I can somehow rewind my life. Not all changes are reversible, and I shouldn’t be so unreasonable.

And they’re right, in a way. I need to learn to cope in the day-to-day, and I’m working on that. I’m also working on adding other therapies, supplements, and alternative treatments to help close the gap. (If you were about to suggest I try this-thing-you-heard-helps-headaches, please don’t!)

But at the same time, I think it’s reasonable for me to be dissatisfied. And I most certainly am!

There’s actually a whole lot of space for dissatisfaction in the Christian life. Jesus-followers aren’t supposed to pretend like everything is rainbows and unicorns when the reality is dark skies and thorny circumstances. That would be living a lie.

Jesus was, in fact, very dissatisfied with the state of the world. Why else would he have died for it? Only a clear perception of the world’s brokenness, paired with a real hope for positive change, could drive a person to do something this drastic.

So yes, I’m dissatisfied with where my life is at right now. There’s no truer way to say it. But I’m also not without hope, and I’m not giving up yet. Doctors don’t know how to cure migraines. But God knows how, and He also loves me. So He and I are going on an adventure together, exploring this tension in my life. Maybe he’ll heal me in the process, or maybe he’ll bring about a cure for migraines, or maybe neither of these things will happen. But if God teaches me to trust Him more and more as we go, I think I’ll find a deeper sort of satisfaction that can coexist with all sorts of dissatisfaction.

I know that sounds like a paradox, but not all paradoxes are impossible.

5 Comments

  1. I hope there’s a cure for migraine! After 19 years of this journey you’d think it would be easier. It’s not, but we learn to make do. Sending lots of love!

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  2. Natalie, your very real perspective on the effects of chronic pain with no end in sight is refreshing to read. Not in that there is no hope, but that our hope lies solely in Jesus walking with you in this journey, teaching you new things about yourself and guiding you into a path of satisfaction in the midst of dissatisfaction. He is our only lasting hope and satisfaction. Praying for you.

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  3. It is more sobering post about your on going trial, and you have every reasons to be “dissatisfied”. As I read or heard somewhere, “Just do this day whatever God gives you”. I think it sums up our daily duty as a child of God, I like how one of the puritans addressed God ” we have God who is incomprehensible but prayer-hearing God..”

    I am looking forward to seeing you on more regular basis

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