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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!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Lisa Juliette Peron
    8 years ago

    Even if my “wagon” last only a week, or even a day, I find that this is the story of my life. The longer I feel better the worse I get about taking care of myself, weird as that may sound. It’s like I get pain amnesia or just somehow become convinced that since I’ve been feeling better for awhile and since my migraines seem to have little rhyme or reason, there shouldn’t be any reason they’ll come again. I have yet to be very good about fixing this, no matter how golden my intentions. ::sigh::

  • Ifrah Khan
    8 years ago

    I am suffering from migraine from last three there any solution please to get rid of this diease.

  • Sandi Fochler-Miller
    8 years ago

    I don’t even HAVE a wagon to fall off of. I don’t even know where to start. My life has been one big ball of stress for a while, now, and I have migraines at LEAST 6 out of 7 days a week. I’m spent!

  • Heather Summerfield Simmons
    8 years ago

    I find myself falling into the same trap! It is a constant battle that you have to stay on top of 🙁

  • ultra
    8 years ago

    Hi Janet. I’m new to this blog. I signed up because i started to read some old entries written by you about scalp pain, hypersensitivity and migraines. So since i’m new here, I can’t seem to find those old blogs, and I didn’t see a link to just email you instead of asking a non health question on the blog.
    But I am so happy I did find this blog. I realize that other people have the same problems as I do. I think that some doctors don’t take you seriously when you say your scalp hurts. But when you have a migraine AND your scalp hurts, its hard to do much during the day.
    Could you please point me in the direction of that information?
    Thank you. Your new friend.

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