Have you ever felt cheated by your own body? Ever feel like you want to yell at your body but know that you better stay good friends with it, so you don’t. This morning I felt this way, and I felt so cheated. After 25 years of struggling with insomnia I finally slept well but upon awakening I have an ocular migraine.
I’ve worked so hard to get to the point where I am able to sleep and how am I rewarded? By yet another symptom which makes me feel like a failure again. Well, it wasn’t a full-bloom eye migraine. I nipped it in the bud before it got strong at least. That was actually quite something. How did I do that you wonder?
An ocular migraine is a sort of migraine that manifests itself in your eye by a short term visual impairment; there is a shiny, edgy and pointy stripe distorting of what you see. The light is felt more intensely than usual but after 10 minutes it disappears, and often times it leaves one with a slight headache.
I do not know what doctors say is the cause of them, but I’ve found the reason to be an overload of my brain because of psychological stress due to a perceived dependency on the outcome of achievements. Knowing myself and being aware of what I am all about, I recognize what is playing out: Even though I had come a long way in reconditioning myself to not being dependent anymore on how I perform in daily life, I clearly have relapsed into my former behavior of depending on the results of my action and behavior for my Sense of Self. You should know that, what makes me really feel alive and worthy, is being able to live up to certain conditions. And if it doesn’t work out I used to feel so low. But the addiction to this performance oriented living is what causes an energy congestion in my brain that then takes the form of an ocular migraine. It is actually a sort of disease; a wrong concept of how to live. Call it a mental problem.
For me, the remedy is to stop the addictive behavior and remember that my life is about my self and my own experience of it. Next, I actively help to release the energy in my body, especially from the head. From several Eastern healing arts, I learned that tapping one’s feet lowers the energy in the body. So that is what I started to do the moment I noticed the well-known light clouds gather over my right eye like hot steam. I recognized what was about to happen: Soon I would see that ragged line in my vision field again. I have to ground myself, I immediately thought, both physically, mentally and emotionally as well.
The whole reconditioning program that I had so nicely in place during the day before, that had allowed me to fully be myself and trust myself, hadn’t survived a goodnight’s sleep. It had been erased during my sleep. It is as if the power plug has been pulled from a computer just before all the new data gets stored in its permanent memory. I had to re-establish connection with myself again.
A good night sleep was one of the things I used to desire most, not so much for myself, but because my mother wouldn’t look at me and when she did it was with eyes that told me how pathetic she thought I was. So overtime it had become one of my deepest desires to refute that expression in those eyes. And every time I finally succeeded at something, that would normally provoke that expression in my mother’s face, and I felt alive. Unconsciously I sought to actually prove that I was a normal person and that I didn’t deserve her disdain, and even getting a good night sleep was a mere performance.
So I had reconditioned myself to “sleep for myself” and not “as a performance” but then when I was successful, in the morning, when I let my guard down, my old system fired up, and made it about the achievement again. At the same time enormous anxiety flared up as well. It was like I feared ruining this achievement of showing I was a normal person and I was feeling discounted already, for having this weird problem of not sleeping. It always made me feel like I was being thrown back into a deep and dark abyss; the abyss of being ignored as a living human being.
I have worked so hard to wean myself of needing a sense of achievement for my Self-experience but this morning the eye migraine threatened my having a good day after a good night’s sleep. My system took that for an achievement but now it was threatened and it made me angry. But was that the real me or the slave of that system?
Days that started as a good day used to end in rage or drama and definitely in a sleepless night because I wouldn’t want to let go of the achievement, knowing that the next day I had to start all over again The fact that I was soI annoyed by the migraine indicated that I had relapsed and was dependent again on my performance. It meant that I had relapsed to not living for myself but to live up to certain conditions, to make my life a performance.
As I processed the insight in the truth of the situation I realized that I had made a huge progress: after-all I had interrupted the development of this ocular migraine from becoming a full blown eye migraine. It helped me realize that I had relapsed and in that moment, I was able to make a different decision and bypass being the slave to an old survival system–that I know only harms me. I know I would recover quick enough and now I was able to avoid skipping my own life—because I could now ground myself and connect to myself, thus managing to restore my sense of self.
It is annoying that it has to happen at all and that I am bound to always make so much effort to lead a ‘normal’ life. But as much work as it is, it’s worth it.
So what is the role of this migraine I’ve had occur so many times in the past decades?
A migraine can be a blessing in disguise. How? Well, it forces me to stop and look at what is going on. It stops me from operating in service to my Substitute Sense of Self (that was all about my good performance and achievements.)
Please, remember, when something stops us physically, we need to take a look at it and trust our body—and not silence the message our body is sending us. For in trusting our body, we might learn how to be our “real” selves.