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I used to… A poem about chronic migraine

I used to love the color purple
The color of royalty, of kings and queens
But now:
Cold fingers
Cold toes
Cashmere sweaters in the summer

I used to love to travel
The freedom, the adventure, the exploration, the education
But now:
The air pressure on flights
The time changes
The motion sickness
Trapped in my home

I used to love storms
To cuddle up with a book and listen to the thunder
But now:
I fear the darkening of clouds
I tremble with the leaves when the rain begins to fall

I used to love to walk
The fresh air, the blue skies, the warm sun
But now:
Every step shoots straight to my head
When did my brain decide to house a ball of spikes
That expands with the beating of my heart
And stabs its own host?

I used to say YES
I’ll try anything once, why not?
But now
Does that food have nuts?
Do you make that gluten free?
Will I be home in time to sleep?
Any way you can turn down the volume?
Can we go somewhere a little less perfumey?

I used to live BIG
To laugh the loudest, dance the hardest, enjoy the most
But now
That restaurant, that bar, that party is too
And it hurts too much
To laugh
To dance
To love

I used to think that living life to the fullest
Meant being a whirlwind of energy
Tackling challenges
Heaping my plate high with whatever the world could offer

But now I measure success
In hours, not months
In steps, not miles

I used to, I used to, I used to…
I don’t want to live in the past
But how do I accept the present,
If everything that I thought made me me is no longer possible?

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.


  • Susan D. Keefer
    5 years ago

    Hey, Carrie. Your amazing poem is my life which nobody, I know, understands.
    I’ll be sharing it. Thank you so much. Hope you are doing well.

  • Heather Benton
    5 years ago

    Love the poem ~~ I have read it many times!
    I feel and understand every word you wrote.
    I think today reading it, it hit more closer than the last time I read it! Going on 7 straight day with a full blown migraine. (I usually run with the pain at around 7, which I can push through the day) But this last week, with the heat and humidity I cant. I spend most days in my bedroom with the A/C and ice packs! I MISS OUT ON SO MUCH!
    My youngest who is 13 is now, for the 1st time ever, voicing his ‘teenage male’ feelings and they are not nice ones. I can’t blame him, I am not very exciting to hang with, but boy does it hurt. I have been pushing this summer to function no matter what, but somedays (weeks) I just can’t!
    I am stuck with these migraine, I have had them all my life!
    I have to remind myself that its not my fault nor can ‘fix’ the situation. This site and your poem today…make me feel just a little less like a horrible MOM….
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Guineverre
    5 years ago

    Great poem, thanks for writing it. I have a lot of the same feelings…

  • slhart
    5 years ago

    So true so true
    what are we to do
    live for the moments that take our breath away
    One day we may say it’s okay to be stuck this way
    as we try to hang on to the memories of yesterday
    for now simply waking up is enough for today 🙂
    Thanks for the poem

  • Luna
    5 years ago

    If everything that I thought made me me is no longer possible?

    Rethink. Transition into a new you. Life is full of challenges but it is how we meet them that counts.
    Good poem. Thank you for it.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    5 years ago

    I know how you feel. So frustrating when you can’t enjoy life like you once did. I’m glad you found a way to express yourself through poetry. So many people will be able to relate to it! Keep sharing!

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