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Reminding myself to stick to the plan

Confession: I hadn’t taken my daily vitamins and supplements for, like, a week.  No need to scold me—I’ve been doing plenty of that myself.  You think about migraines all the time, Janet—why aren’t you following your doctor’s regimen and taking the dang pills she prescribed? The answer is elusive, or at least I haven’t found it yet. I got back from a trip to Chicago and, true to form, being out of town threw off my routine completely. I’m getting back in the groove, but taking my vitamins and supplements, most of which are for migraine treatment (B2, magnesium, omega-3 and omega-6, iron, etc.), just hasn’t been happening.

Logically, I know I just need to get my little weekly pill box and fill up the little compartments—each day of the week has a spot for morning and afternoon pills. It would take me ten minutes to do this, and I can carry the box with me everywhere so I’m never stuck somewhere thinking, “Oh no! It’s time to take my vitamins!”

Writing this post is enough to make me know that I’ll be filling that pill box today (promise), but it doesn’t quite help me understand why I haven’t just gotten off my booty to do it sooner. Sure, I’m busy, but I have plenty of time off and spend a lot of minutes goofing off on things that have nothing to do with improving my health. Heck, I paid a lot of money for these high-quality vitamins and supplements. It’s silly not to take them. And my doctor is willing to work with me to prescribe these instead of heavy-duty preventive prescription meds, so why am I not sticking to the plan she and I made together?

I don’t really know the answers to this, but I do know from talking to a lot of you that I’m not alone. Maybe I’m not seeing a big enough connection between my daily pills and improvements in my migraine patterns. Supplements don’t tend to work overnight, and it takes awhile for them to really have an effect on your system. Am I just tired of not seeing results? Or have there been results but they’ve emerged so slowly I don’t really connect them to the pills?

In essence, this boils down to something I’ve written a lot about here: why don’t we, as patients—or, to be more general, as humans—do the things we know will be best for us? Come to think of it, why don’t we do the things that we know will be best for our family and our shared quality of life?

Very few patients start new health regimens and stick with them flawlessly. I have learned through this community, through conversations with my health coach, and by reading books that we are constantly having to be mindful of our behaviors. These behaviors must be reset again…and again…and again. If we’re in pursuit of a goal, we must continuously circle back to the reason behind that goal and what sort of outcome we hope to achieve.  There’s often some kind of wake-up call (like me looking at my Curelator app calendar and realizing I’ve missed my daily supplements for over a week) that jolts us back into the self-care we deserve.

What is your experience with having to set and reset goals? How do you (or don’t you) comply with treatment plans, and how do you convince yourself to keep your eyes on the prize? 

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.


  • Ellen H
    3 years ago

    I am going to be my usual negative self, but I am sick and tired of swallowing pills and vitamins, everyday, all day. I am tired to trying to try. I should ride my bike, but then I have struggle with depression and ragweed. And ragweed has been gruesome this year, starting a full two and one half months ahead of schedule, and I have miserable for over six weeks. I have seen the doctor. We had been trying to treat it gently, but in the end we had to go to a cortisone injection. And then I ate too many “gummy bears” vitamin C and calcium, and suffered the side effects. July is nearly over and I feel like hell, though better since the cortisone has pretty much stopped the ragweed allergy, not completely but better than before. As I said at the top of my tirade, I am sick of pills, I am sick of migraines, I am sick of side effects, I am sick of well-intended helpful suggestions. Several years ago I stopped talking with my therapist. We weren’t getting anywhere. I was angry, taking it out on him, which I apologized for every week. I was repeating myself over and over about how lousy everything was. And then one day, he said two things that nearly flattened me against the wall: 1- You are so stubborn, and 2- I like the saying that God helps those who help themselves. I was completely devastated. I wrote several letters to him over the next few years. He answered the first one, saying that if I put together a set of goals he would help me work on them. Over the years since, I have become more and more angry, realizing that the phrase “God helps them who helps themselves,” is completely and totally UN-scriptural. That kind of thinking is the antithesis of the Gospel. The Gospel where God takes us as we are, broken and defective. Christ never insisted that people thank him or listen to his talks before he helped anyone. He just reached out and helped someone.

    This whole business that we as patients OUGHT to take the pills and the vitamins, that we as patients OUGHT to exercise and eat healthy and sleep well, that we OUGHT to take care of ourselves even when we don’t feel like it. And this doesn’t even take into account all the emotional baggage of a lifetime that we haul with around with us daily. We OUGHT

  • Lillybet
    3 years ago

    I know just how you feel. It’s exhausting, frustrating, and maddening. This has been my worst year in 20. out of 35 years of diagnosed migraines. I take the supplements, I get sick of swallowing pills, the preventatives all failed miserably, all side effects, no reduction in migraines. Botox helps some, but I am heartily sick of hearing “hang in there, good drugs are coming” WHEN? Or, what I hear all through my 30’s and 40’s “just wait, when menopause hits, the migraines will disappear. ” RIGHT. That didn’t happen. I am grateful to have FMLA, but the lost wages from leave without pay grow by thousands every year.

    My husband is lonely and feels depressed because I am so frequently dysfunctional. Many days it takes all I have to get through the work day, then I need to collapse in a cold, dark room. It’s not a life, it’s an grueling endurance contest.

  • Ellen H
    3 years ago

    Well, I hit the wrong button, so I’ll finish on the reply thread?!?!?

    We OUGHT, we OUGHT. Geez, when do we ever get a break? I have read a few accounts lately where a patient dealing with cancer finally just decides that enough is enough, no more treatments, no more side effects, no more surgeries. Some people are shocked, but I think these patients, adults and children, know when enough is enough. Fighting uphill for a lifetime sucks the life out of you. Sometimes you just need to stop pushing yourself and stop berating yourself and stop trying new things and stop trying to adjust the medications. My neurologist said recently, that I might try lowering one of the medications. I told him, “NO WAY!” I have only two medications that I am able to take. The other 68 meds don’t work; most of them made me quite ill. So I hang onto these two meds, and onto the pain killers which I am allowed to have once a month. They are narcotics.

    I am ranting because I have lived a lifetime with chronic daily pain. My only relief is sleep, but I don’t get to enjoy that because I am asleep and not awake to enjoy it. My life is very very quiet. I don’t see people. I go out when I need to and then I have to take several days just to recover.

    By the way I sent a letter to my therapist saying I needed to talk. That was all I said. I mailed it around March 4, and I have not heard a word from him since. I knew this guy for 25 years and I never expected to be rejected. I can’t be what other people think I OUGHT to be.

    I mean no offense to the author of this article or to any of you who are struggling with your own situations. We handle our “stuff” in the way that we are able to do. I really do not think that people who try and try are better people. They just keep trying. But for those of us who have quit trying, we are not worse people. We are just tired of trying. There’s nothing written into the laws of nature that human beings must always reach for the brass ring of betterment.

  • Jani8
    3 years ago

    I just went through this, not taking my supplements. I just didn’t want to take one more pill. As it is, I have the 7 day pill divider, except I use them all every day. I take 13 in the AM, 12 at bedtime and additional 5 during the day. That doesn’t include “as needed” ones. (I have a lot of medical problems besides the chronic Migraine disease.) It gets disheartening at times. I’m back on track now and hope to continue that way. But sometimes one more pill is just one too many.

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    I have frequent migraines and tension headaches as well. Also, I swear that the headaches and the meds (Neurontin) that I take as a preventative have added to my middle-aged mental fuzziness. So, I don’t always do the things I should, either. Usually I take my supplements at breakfast, but any disruption in the routine can mess that up. It gets to be a full-time job when you’re managing your health all the time, and migraine isn’t the only condition I’m dealing with.

  • akilman
    3 years ago

    I have frequent migraines, heading into chronic territory again. I’ve tried many preventative strategies which over the years have stopped working. I have a regimen of supplements now, and just good lifestyle practices like regular sleep and exercise. But I fall off the wagon all the time. Any disruption to my routine and it’s like I have to start all over again. I get very frustrated with myself. I think I can only focus on one thing at a time. Other things slide when I over focus on one element of my life. When the obsessional event encourages other good habits (wanting to earn my yellow belt = exercise and good hydration) I seem to be okay, but when an event that makes good habits more of a challenge (travel out of town = poor sleep, poor diet,) I don’t seem to have the reserve to make myself do what I know to be good for me. It is a constant challenge that I have only a little insight into, and have yet to develop good strategies to overcome. It’s nice to know I am not the only one. Thank you for sharing.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    3 years ago


    Thank you for this thoughtful reply. I, too, am glad I’m not alone in this constant challenge. Fingers crossed we both can treat ourselves with compassion as we set, and reset, goals and get a little bit better. 🙂

    Take care; hope you’re feeling okay today!

    -Janet G.

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