Coping, Friends & Family, Mental Health, Treatment

Negative Thoughts, Part Two: If Only I Worked Harder…

There’s a common wisdom that illness can be overcome through hard work. Work is definitely involved, but effort isn’t the only factor. I know this, just as I know I’m not lazy or faking it. I also know I work really hard to improve my health. Still there’s a nagging thought: I must not be getting better because I’m not dedicated enough.

To reassure myself, I looked at the review of my 2007 treatments and treatments I planned for 2008. The lists are so long I tire remembering all appointments I’ve been to. This should be proof that I’m trying to get better. Too bad my inner perfectionist tells me I should be able to do more, no matter what the project.

During my (mild) meltdown last night, Hart asked how he could help. I asked him to tell me that I do work hard at getting better. He looked so pained when he told me I work as hard as I possibly can. Having him say that was so reassuring. If he thinks I’m trying hard enough, I must be.

I wish I didn’t need outside confirmation for things like this. Ha! That sentence makes me laugh. Of course I’m too stubborn and independent to ask for help. Of course I want to do it all on my own. I simply can’t — none of us can. Maybe I’ll remember that for a few days at least.

And maybe I’ll remember I’m working my butt off to get better.

7 thoughts on “Negative Thoughts, Part Two: If Only I Worked Harder…”

  1. You are so lucky to have a good man like that! My husband has never had a regular headache let alone a migraine and, he is awful when I don’t feel well, usually wants to pick a fight because I didn’t clean the house that day or some such crap. Be very grateful that you have someone who is understanding and gives you credit where it is due, there are so many out there who don’t.

  2. you know, i think one of the reasons that you (and other h/a sufferers) have these thoughts is because headaches aren’t VISIBLE. Our pain is so intense, and yet we can’t point to a broken body part, an accident (in most cases), or a test that shows us what’s wrong. Instead to the outside world we FEEL like it looks like we’re making it up, and so we often beat ourselves up wondering ‘is it true? *am* I making this up? Do I need to try harder?’

    I used to have those feelings. I’m now 25 years into the daily h/a thing, and have come to grips with the fact that this is my life. I’ve done everything imaginable to try to fix my h/a: surgery, medications that made me lose my vocabulary, alternative treatments (which I’m still doing now). Nothing has gotten rid of the h/a, though some of those things have lessened their intensity. I *know* I’ve tried everything, my DH knows I’ve tried everything, my doctors know I’ve tried everything. I am content. 🙂 Sometimes I think what we’re really wanting to hear from our loved ones is “Yes, I can see you’re hurting. You’re not making it up. Your life truly does suck right now.” I think my attitude turned around about 10 years ago when my boss told me that he can tell I have a headache within 5 seconds of talking to me on the telephone. Since I work really hard to hide my pain from co-workers, that impressed me. It *must* be real.

    Hang in there, girl. This is a tough life we lead.

  3. Kerrie,
    This is my first time on the blog. I have so been where you are. It’s hard to realize sometimes that there are things, i.e., migraines, that are out of our control. No matter how careful we are, no matter how much we work at it, sometimes the headaches come anyway.

    Stay strong. I’m looking forward to continuing to read your words of inspiration and thoughtfulness.


  4. Kerrie, I’m sending you a crappy and inadequate virtual hug. More importantly, I’m enclosing my wish for you that you will be kind to yourself because you deserve that so much.


  5. That’s why you have Hart! And everyone else in your life, including me. You don’t have to stand alone.

    As someone who has read your blog for years, I am bewildered by your worry that you aren’t trying hard enough. And yet, I understand how such a message can take hold, when you’re accustomed to seeing tangible results of all your other life efforts.

    Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t come with a straight line pointing from the problem(s) to the solution(s). It has a life of its own. So the validation that you’re trying as hard as you can has to come to you differently than any other kind. The payoff isn’t as clear, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. But that’s not your fault.

  6. Keri,

    I know, sometimes we can be on the inside of the snowglobe pounding our fists hard to get out, nobody listening or hearing us at all. Frustrating. What you don’t realize is this; somewhere across the cyberglobe, someone is looking for inspiration or hope or advice or a just a mere word of empathy. Someone knows just what you are experiencing. Someone else is dragging in your shoes, or slippers. Drag on my friend. Keep your chin up, we are all in this together. And WHY is it so hard to ask for help? I find it so easy to give others help, but when I need it myself, I too, am too stubborn. ugh.

    I hope for you a better day today. please know, you inspire me!

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