Not Doing What Works

Regular readers of my blog know that I made a breakthrough in 2009, finding a lifestyle (complete with changed diet, exercise, stress reduction techniques, and sleep) that decreased my migraine frequency and severity. For awhile there, I thought, “Who am I if I’m not a migraineur anymore?” and “Do I need to abandon my blog since I’m turning into one of those people who thinks she’s found the cure?”

The Amazing Breakthrough didn’t last, though—this is not because of the placebo effect or because the lifestyle changes were ineffective. Rather, it was because I repeatedly fall off the wagon as soon as I start feeling better.

It doesn’t make much sense, really. The cycle goes something like this:

I follow my doctor’s suggestions in terms of what I can and cannot eat, how much I can and should sleep, how much exercise to get, and more. I start to feel better and better. Soon I think of myself as someone who used to have severe migraine disease, someone who now only has a migraine once in awhile.

And I start to cheat—I cheat on the diet, I cheat on exercise, I cheat myself. Feeling great? Why not have a couple glasses of wine, then? Perhaps alcohol isn’t a trigger when I’m already so healthy. (This turned out to be true much of the time.) Feeling energetic and—gasp!—awake all day? Then why am I taking fifty gazillion vitamins every day? Haven’t missed yoga in months? Why not treat myself by skipping class this week? It’d be nice to sleep in, after all.

Soon I lose almost all of my good habits. Thing is, I don’t notice the negative effects until I’m feeling really bad. Then it just seems so hard to readopt all these things I used to do. It should be simple, right? Doing A, B, C, & D had me feeling better and more healthy than I had in YEARS. But I don’t do those things. What is wrong with me? I suppose this is, in a sense, the human condition—we know what’s good for us but often do the opposite.

So for 2011 I aim to get back on the horse. To climb back on the wagon. To take the bull by the horns. To blah blah blah [insert clichéd, inspirational aphorism here]. I will make myself a priority. I will take care of myself. I will put my health ahead of my business, my social engagements, my feverish need to volunteer for way more than I can handle. ’Cause you know what? If I’m knocked out with a migraine, I can’t do ANYTHING else. So there’s really no point at all in running myself ragged.

I’ve made my resolution. Feel free to pester me to see if I’m keeping up with it!

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