Male figure in silhouette in front of a medicine cabinet with a mix of bottles and bottle placeholders.

The Virtue of Not Having Tried "Everything"

If you've dealt with migraine disease for a long time, you probably have said the following phrase: "Oh, I've tried everything."

Receiving well-meaning advice

I am most tempted to say this when a well-meaning person shares something she heard about online with me. The things people recommend change over the months and years according to migraine treatment fads. (If I could get a buck for every time someone told me about the daith piercing in the last two or three years, I'd be able to buy myself a plane ticket, or at least a really nice dinner out.)

I'm frustrated but also touched

Though I feel frustrated at times having to respond to people who recommend I try something new, I am always touched that people have been thinking of me. I truly do smile when I think of one of my customers reading something online and thinking to herself, "Oh, Janet from Avid Bookshop has migraines. I should tell her about this!" I'm very lucky in that I don't have any particularly pushy friends, family, or acquaintances that attempt to force me to promise I'll try whatever they've just told me about.

I haven't actually tried everything

So many of my fellow community members and I feel exhausted when we think of the kazillion treatments we've brought into our lives in an attempt to improve our health. But, I must be rational and admit that I haven't tried everything (even though I still sometimes say that).

The long list of migraine treatments

A few years ago, I listed the number of treatments (preventive and acute) I’ve tried since I was first diagnosed with migraine. This list is in sore need of an update since I've added more things to my regimen, at least temporarily, since I first wrote it. I feel more than a little tuckered out when I see how long that list is.

A change in perspective

Recently, I've deliberately tried to change my point of view a little. Instead of feeling just plain exhausted and downtrodden when I think of all the things I've tried that didn't work (or the things I tried that did work…and then stopped working), I'm trying to feel more hopeful.

Hoping for future relief

What is she talking about?

Well, it's a little dark, but here's my take: if I haven't tried everything, then there's a chance that there's still something out there that is going to work.

I’m not talking about a cure—there is no cure for migraine. What I am talking about is a breakthrough treatment that would reduce both my migraine frequency and intensity. A treatment that would allow me to make plans without worrying about migraine forcing me to cancel them.

Focusing on the options ahead

It’s important to have hope. I'm not advising that you don't continually and proactively pursue a treatment plan that helps you get more control over your migraine episodes. I have changed my medications and treatments significantly in the last several months — I'm by no means giving up on trying new techniques. But, instead of feeling despair over the number of things I've tried that didn't "work," I choose to focus on the seemingly limitless options that lie ahead — including options that have yet to be invented. And this brings me a little peace when it comes to living with this often debilitating illness.

What do you think? Do you ever tell people that you've "tried everything"? Have you found that a change in attitude has helped you cope with your diagnosis more positively?

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