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There is Only Try

The Star Wars Day posts that bombarded my Facebook feed Saturday included numerous variations on the oft-cited quotation from Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” If the proliferation of images emblazoned with this phrase are any indication, Yoda inspires people to exercise, start new careers, even read the Bible. All this quotation inspires in me is anger.

While a healthy person may only be hindered by their perceptions of their abilities, that’s not true for someone with a chronic debilitating illness. For sick folks, “putting our minds to it” is an exercise in futility that results in frustration and, often, an exacerbation of our symptoms. In a life dictated by chronic migraine, trying is all there is. From cleaning the toilet to getting through a day of work to eating dinner with our families, there’s no guarantee we will achieve our goal. We start with the hope we will finish and the knowledge that we likely will not.

Sometimes our attempts at trying look like nothing to the outside world. The first step in going to work, for example, is getting out of bed. Totaled up, the number of hours I have spent trying to sit up in bed probably amounts to weeks. The same goes for the amount of time I have spent collapsed on the shower or bathroom floor, too weak to move. There’s nothing like not being able to shower successfully to make someone feel like a colossal failure.

Trying may be scoffed at in society at large, but chronic migraine reminds me regularly that trying is itself a beautiful feat. Making an attempt even if you don’t think you will accomplish the activity or reach your goal requires tremendous bravery, especially in a culture that derides failure. Continuing to try when faced with almost certain failure, that is true strength.

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.


  • Patrick
    6 years ago

    This was so fitting with one of my worst struggles with migraines that I could’ve written it myself. I love you guys without needing a name or a face. I just know you’re my comrades in the same battle. You help me keep things in perspective. Thank you for trying to make it easier for all of us, because you do for me.

  • georgiaslesinger
    6 years ago

    AMEN to that!

  • Diana-Lee
    6 years ago

    I feel you wholeheartedly on this one, Kerrie. Try is ALL we have.

  • DebbyJ56
    6 years ago

    I have had chronic daily migraines for seven years. The other day was the day from hell. My former do-workers were getting together for dinner at 6:30 and pleaded with me to be there. I did injections, pills, nasal sprays, in order to try to feel well enough to at least go and say hello. I pushed myself, stones out of my mind, to get dress and do my hair, even make up. My husband drove me to the restaurant.
    Because they worked with me, they knew immediately I was sick. I did stay and eat a little. Too much time was soent talking about my pain, and how I live with it, I kept changing the subject. It was a horrible experience, with no enjoyment what so ever. It was nice to see them, but it was terrible.

  • Cathi
    6 years ago

    This is iso true, but sometimes I just get tired of trying! Seems like everyday becomes a battle, and sometimes I feel like I’m losing that battle!

  • Paintchip
    6 years ago

    So very true! “Trying” is a monumental step on so many days. g Whether you are trying to make it through the work day, trying to make it to the toilet before the upchucking begins, or you’re simply trying to be patient while waiting for meds to kick in – every step in “trying” is truly a significant achievement of it’s own merit.

    I say we embrace those times when we’ve “tried” as successes in our day…. no matter the final outcome of what we were trying to accomplish!

    Thank you for your insightfulness.
    May the Force be with you!
    (LOL… couldn’t help myself.)

  • Rene'
    6 years ago

    I have nothing more that I can add here…… guys have said it, which in itself is amazing to me. I am not alone, I am not crazy, there are people out there who feel exactly like I do. We all have days where we are like the little engine who could…I think I can, I know I can. Then there are the days when you are just so tired of fighting it, and on those days, like today, I come to the place where I know most feel exactly the same way. And that gives me strength and courage because we are not alone and even though I feel like crap I am going to be that little engine, despite this disease, I CAN DO IT!!!!!

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