I am a little ashamed to admit that when I started with meditation – and particularily the gratitude meditation – that I found it very challenging to develope a feeling of gratitude. I realized that due to my chronic illness I hade developed a chronic conviction that life owes me something. I had completely lost sight of the good things in my life!
I suffer from hemiplegig migraine. On up to 15 days a month I develope very painful attacks that pretty much look like a stroke with throbbing head pain, allodynia, nausea, paraesthesia, muscle weakness, anxiety and panic attacks, loss of eyesight, hearing difficulties, numbness, and so on. Sometimes my acute medication works sometimes it fails. Apart from the acute medication I need to take a lot of regular medication that causes very unpleasant side effects like blocking my short term memory, damaging my kidneys, messing with my neurosignalling, causing mood swings. Yet on the attack-free days I come across mostly normal and people usually don’t see I am sick. I am having one of those “invisible illnesses”. I do regular training to keep my body strong to be able to cope with the attacks and I have to watch my diet very strictly. I can’t go to loud and noisy places, I have close to no social life because I have to avoid any sensory triggers. And of course I can’ drink any alcohol.
Meditation has done a great job for me to help me learn how to control a huge trigger: my own restless mind. It’s still like a browser with way to many tabs open but I am so grateful that I have actually found a method to somehow get a grip on it. So far I felt completely helpless about it. None of what I tried seemed to work. All I need to do now is practise, practise, practise. Now even during my attacks I somehow manage to slide from my bed down onto my cushion and meditate at least for a few minutes to keep up the practise.
I am still a sick person. But I have started so see the good things in my life again. I have started to feel gratitude again. And I have started to feel happy again.