"You're Doing Everything Right"

Last updated: July 2014

“You’re doing everything right.” My friend Kate wrote that to me in a card when my migraines were at their very worst. Her words carried me through my darkest, most painful (physically and emotionally) days and they continue to sustain me.

Kate learned the power of that phrase from a friend in her cancer support group, who had taped those words to her bathroom mirror so she would never forget them. The words served as a balm during Kate’s cancer treatment and she was kind enough to share the wisdom when I needed it desperately.

“I’m doing everything right.” How often do you tell yourself that, especially in connection to migraine? I’m not sure I ever did before I got Kate’s note. Instead, I’d ruminate on all the people I had let down and try to figure out what I had done to trigger the latest migraine. I was so busy obsessing about what I’d done wrong that there was no space to think about what I’d done right. I didn’t even think I had done anything right.

That only made me feel worse about myself, so I tried taking Kate’s reminder to heart. Instead of letting my mind churn on guilt and self-blame, I started telling myself that I was doing everything right. Eventually I began to believe it.

In time, it became my truth, my default. Instead of looking for everything I’d done wrong, I began to see that migraine was not my fault. I’m disappointed when I have to cancel plans, but I no longer feel guilty for taking care of myself. My friends and family are sad when I can’t be with them, but they know it isn’t by choice. I still try to figure out migraine triggers, but don’t blame myself when I walk into one.

By continuing to wake up each day and trying to live my life – even on the days I can’t get out of bed, even on the days I feel like I have no life at all – I am doing everything right. I still make mistakes and occasionally knowingly do things I know will likely trigger a migraine. Even then, I’m doing everything right. Migraine isn't the only part of my life and sometimes I have to do what makes my heart sing. In short, I am human. We all are and we’re all doing the best we can to get by.

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