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“You’re Doing Everything Right”

“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.

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.


  • SJD
    5 years ago

    I had headaches and migraines all the time since I was about 10 as well, I’m 53 now. I lived in Denver that entire time. I just moved to Phoenix several months ago and my headaches and migraines are for the most part all gone. I have had a few small non-migraine headaches but no migraines at all. It’s wonderful. It must have been the elevation. In Denver I had daily headaches and weekly/monthly migraines.

  • tms
    5 years ago

    Thank-you for sharing “You’re doing everything right”. It is going up on my mirror:)

  • Buthainita
    5 years ago

    We are not doing everything right, otherwise we wouldn’t have migraines. The thing is that whatever it is that we are not doing right is no in our hands. We are geneticaly predisposed to get into an attack of migraine every once and then. Knowing your triggers is pivotal, no migrainue would survive otherwise, but trying to figuer which of your triggers caused a specific attack is just like wondering why you have two hands or two eyes or one nose. You are not supposed to do that just like you are not supposed to spend an attack thinking what tiggered it. It is exhausting,, instead try to elax and live through it, and get good at doing it

  • Chere
    5 years ago

    You said a mouthful. Thank you.

  • EmKats
    5 years ago

    Wow that’s something I didn’t even realise I did! Sometimes I get so stressed about how it happened and how unfair it is that I don’t allow myself to get better. Thank you for sharing that! I always beat myself up over what I did wrong but the truth is you can (and do) do everything right and it just happens anyway!

  • migrainestl
    5 years ago

    Goodness, I am so glad I read this! I needed to hear this! I will try to imbed this in my brain…is their a plaque avail?! ;). I’m always second guessing myself…should I have layed down instead of doing that chore? Should I have shut the curtain sooner? Should I not have eaten/drank such & such? If I would have stayed in bed, would it not be that bad now?! It’s endless…

  • Amylove
    5 years ago

    I really needed to read this today. Thank you. Doing everything right doesn’t always mean we get the results we wish. But we must feel the power in practicing what we know to be the best for our self care. And I really love how you point out that migraine isn’t the only part if our lives. We need to remind ourselves of that, especially during the episodes that seem endless.

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