Cover Photo: photograph of a pair of feet in shadow against a white/grey background
Photograph by How-Soon Ngu/Unsplash

How Meditation Helped Me Feel More Comfortable in My Body

How sad that I couldn’t regard myself with more kindness before, but how necessary it felt now that I was in constant pain.

This is Pain in the Brain, a column by Melissa Hung on life with a chronic headache.

Full Catastrophe Living

I had measured my life in terms of accomplishments: the grades I earned, the things I created, how I was regarded at work. My worth had been tied up in my productivity. When I wasn’t productive, I felt bad about myself.

But now I was too fatigued, my energy and ability to concentrate sabotaged by pain. The small organization I led at work was at a critical juncture, under threat, and I was not in good shape to protect it. I realized that the best I could do was replace myself and go on leave. I realized that I was doing my best. And so I tried to be kind to myself. How sad that I couldn’t regard myself with more kindness before, but how necessary it felt now that I was in constant pain.

Melissa Hung is a writer and journalist. Her essays and reported stories have appeared in NPR, Vogue, Longreads, and Pacific Standard. She is the founding editor of Hyphen magazine. She grew up in Texas, the eldest child of immigrants. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @melissahungtx and at melissahung.xyz.