Coaching Session 4
Things have gone a bit off track in my coaching journey this fortnight. My migraine days have increased to the point that I have only had 4 completely symptom-free days in the two weeks since my last session (I still feel compelled to say: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned”!) The upshot? Healthy routines fell away as they always do when the attacks are frequent.
Here are the last 3 weeks of yoga and meditation:
The solid line shows the actual minutes, and the dotted line shows a moving average. You can clearly see where frequency has dropped off lately. It’s hard to identify if one causes the other, and I suspect the reality is a Catch-22. Regular yoga and meditation help managing the condition overall, while the attacks make it hard to commit to regular practice.
Here’s what my last 12 months of migraine frequency look like:
From Migraine Buddy App
Disregard December as I forgot to track, and, therefore, it should look more like November.
I started taking Emgality in March and saw a great improvement in April and May, but then a bit of a relapse in June. And then, last month, I got close to 50% of the time with migraines.
A long time ago, I started tracking migraine days as part of managing the condition. Medical professionals will usually recommend tracking once a migraine starts to become hard to manage. It can help provide insight into triggers and lifestyle factors.
Some people find tracking stressful, and that can aggravate the problem. I find it comforting. The data bridges the gap between my emotional brain and my logical brain.
In July, I felt like my life was coming unstuck. I missed deadlines, cancelled meetings, and barely cooked a meal. My emotional brain was critical, angry, and disappointed with myself. Looking at the data, my logical brain tells me that I was physically unwell. The missed commitments were due to the illness, not some personal character flaw.
Chronic Migraine Sucks
Me on a migraine day
When I track migraine days, I only track the time that I’m incapacitated. Typically, I have 1-2 days on either side of each attack when I’m functional but not feeling great. When I’m recording 15 days or more per month of attacks, it means I have some level of symptoms pretty much every day.
To say that the last couple of weeks have been disappointing would be an understatement. After the big gains in April and May, I had started to feel that my life could go back to how it was pre chronic illness. July was like a big slap in the face.
Nonetheless, I need to take this in my stride.
Chronic illness is outside of my control. All I can do is what I am capable of on any given day. I need to embrace all of the things I am working on – entrepreneur mindset, self-acceptance, letting go of perfectionism –, and allow myself to be comfortable with the fact that setbacks are inevitable for everyone and in every endeavour.
Stand Back, I’m Going to Try Science!
Having worked through the emotional roller coaster of allowing myself to be unwell, imperfect, and human, Sue-Ellen and I revisited the idea of Imposter Syndrome that we had talked about in our last session.
I mentioned in my previous post that I did not know how I would monitor my progress in changing this mindset. Sue-Ellen and I talked it through today, and, as usual, she led me to a lightbulb moment. I decided to google “imposter syndrome scale” (because, surely, someone has created one of these by now?)
Cue the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale: a statistically validated and reliable questionnaire that gives a score on feelings of impostor syndrome. (Ahhh, science, you make me so happy.) I couldn’t find this tool incorporated into an app anywhere. So, I’ve made myself an excel spreadsheet where I can quickly record my responses at any time and start to build some data. I will confess to googling how to build an app myself, but it looked too hard!
While I’d like to measure my imposter sense as I sit down at the desk every day, that may not work. I am committing to measuring it at my fortnightly coaching appointments.
Today’s score was up at the high end. Hopefully, as I continue to incorporate self-acceptance and confidence into my meditation and journaling, I’ll have a lovely downward sloping graph to show you in my next update.
Thanks as always to Sue-Ellen at Original Balance Coaching. Check her out if you could use some support in reaching your goals. And if you have experience of chronic illness or imposter syndrome, please share in the comments.