This week I looked at my resume for the first time in four years. It lists the jobs, volunteer service, internships and extracurricular activities of a woman ready to fight her way to the top. It describes someone who knows what she wants and exactly how to get it.

My goals have transformed since I quit my last job: get through a day without a nap, do two loads of laundry and put the clothes away, spend an hour working in the yard, cook dinner, blog long enough to catch up on the news. On a great day, I can do all these tasks and then some in the same day. Then I spend the next day in bed, in pain and exhausted.

I never thought I’d be this person.

8 Responses to Ambition

  1. Julie says:

    Kerrie, That is one of my goals too, to get through the day without a nap. Why are we so tired? It’s like we’ve reverted to being toddlers again.

    I like the comparison to toddlers! It’s perfect.

    I know that being in pain makes you tired. Bodies get worn out making themselves hurt all the time. Also, being tired is a symptom of migraine and migraine-based CDH. As if the pain isn’t enough.


  2. Angel says:

    ((((Kerrie))))) I understand, I was told to make up a resume for some potential freelance work, and I’m thinking, uhhhhhh… I have volunteer things, but no other employment in the past 10 years aside from my piano lessons.

    I’m so grateful that you take the time to blog, because it has helped me in so many ways. Thank you for using your energy this way.

    Thanks for the hug and the kind comments. I’m so glad the blog is useful for you. I love doing it so much that I probably would do it even without having readers! But I love the community that we’ve built and that so many people give great input.


  3. Eleanor says:

    I SO hear you on this. I went to art school before I got CDH. Now I haven’t made any art in years. Looking through my old art stuff makes me miserable sometimes, thinking about what I feel like I’ve lost. Chronic illness forces you to dramatically drop your standards about what you can achieve, your expectations from life and yourself. That can be so painful at times.

    Thanks for sharing what you’re going through. I’m so sorry you suffer so much. Hang in there, the grief will lessen eventually.


  4. Kate says:

    For me, also, it has been roughly the same amount of time that I’ve been unable to work – 4 1/2 years. Prior to that I had a lifetime of migraines, but I had achieved a Master’s Degree and a career. Something about this time-frame, 4 1/2 years, is making me face the diagnosis of “chronic daily headache”, and the strong possibility that this will never end. I am no longer searching for a cure, but instead trying to learn how to “manage” it and have a life WITH this illness. Paula Kamen’s book, All In My Head, is very helpful, as is this weblog.

    One of the hardest things for me is that there isn’t a structure even within this illness. The pain levels vary so much from month to month, week to week, day to day, and hour to hour, that I don’t know how to think about “goals” anymore. Right now, I am on disability, and I too just have to see if I can get to the grocery store, get laundry done, whether I’ll need a nap or not, etc. One day I can move, the next day I can’t. Creative pursuits such as writing and making jewelry are new to me, but are ways in which I cope with the pain; and I wonder if I will someday find a creative way to make a living on my own migraine-schedule. At this point, however, I am nowhere near being able to “make a living” on my own again, which is still like living in the twilight zone.

    I never thought of myself as extremely “ambitious”, but some days I wake up and feel such an emptiness – just an empty day ahead during which I will do the best I can, but have no real purpose other than to assess my pain level and perform random tasks accordingly. I used to be so active, independent, and social. Sometimes I can take it “a day at a time”, but sometimes the loss is unbearable. Thank you, Kerrie, Eleanor, Angel, & Julie, for writing about this.

    Recognizing that I will probably never be pain free was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I made it. All in My Head is a terrific resource, as is The Chronic Illness Workbook (there’s a link to it in the sidebar).

    Hang in there. Your grief may get worse, but it will also get better.


  5. Jasmine says:

    Wow Kerrie, can I relate. Sending some supportive hugs your way =)



  6. Marsha says:

    Just found your web blog for the first time. Several of your entries “spoke to me”, but this one in particular brought me to tears. I’m also a formerly successful, ambitious woman, who has been reduced by chronic migraines to “making it through the day”. I haven’t heard anyone articulate this situation before. And it helps to know that there are others out there who are experiencing the same loss. I’m blessed with a supportive husband, but I wish that I could be contributing to the world again. It’s sad to think that may never happen. Keep on blogging…I’ll check in again for your information, inspiration and for a few smiles. Thanks!

  7. Meg says:

    A few days late here – but I haven’t been online much lately b/c of my headaches. This post really reminded me that my migraines began *just* as I was ending a successful course of cognitive-type therapy for learning to live with bipolar type II, which is also a problem for me. So I was almost “starting over” just at that point. I was 32, working, coping, living, making future plans, just getting engaged – and boom. I moved to Canada to be with my husband when we got married, so I haven’t been able to work even if I wanted to – but I wouldn’t have been *able* to! I just received my “Approval in Principle” from Canadian Immigration, which begins the last stage in my approval for Permanent Residency and allows me to apply for a work permit. Part of me just wants to go work, NOW, the other part of me thinks, if I can’t even commit to volunteer work (as I tried to do last year), how’m I gonna get a paying job? We have the “luxury” of it not being necessary, but it would be good to get out of the house . . . oh, I think I’m just depressed b/c so much time has gone by and I’m not “better”. I am healthier in many ways than when I got married, and every month I learn more about myself, and how to cope more *successfully* with these stupid headaches and minimize their number and impact, and my husband is a great partner in helping me with all of this . . . but it just goes on and on and on. You all know the rest of the chorus, right? :^)

    As I tell my husband: Sometimes, achievement is in the eye of the beholder. And some days you just have to celebrate what you were *able* to achieve, no matter what it might sound like to someone else.

    “I got dinner made and the dishes done AND I went to the library! Woo-hah!”

    Thanks for letting me vent. Great blog.

  8. Kate says:

    Kerrie –
    Just a quick note to thank you for your caring response to my post on March 3rd. I admire your work on this weblog, and it’s amazing how much a few words of support from someone I respect can ease my mind. I really appreciate all that you do here. -Kate

    You’re so sweet! Thanks, you made my day.


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