Community, Coping, Mental Health

A Letter to Myself: Replacing Guilt, Shame & Self-Hatred With Love, Compassion

Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge, Day 13: “You Are Beautiful” — Write yourself a love letter. Tell yourself how wonderful you are. Remind yourself of the things you have accomplished despite migraines. There are times when we need to be reminded of the good things about ourselves that others see that we may have missed.

Dear Kerrie,

Today you are hunched over on the couch, weak, nauseated and in pain with a throbbing head and hyper-alert senses. Many days are like this, though fewer than even six months ago. All those things you are worried about — not calling your niece on her birthday, missing physical therapy yesterday, not updating The Daily Headache or Facebook frequently enough, not figuring out Twitter etiquette, not calling your mom or sister or friends… — none of these change who you are fundamentally. You are still bright, caring, loving, ambitious, eager, strong-willed, kindhearted and funny. Migraine may prevent you from engaging in life and with other people as much as you would like, but it doesn’t mean you are selfish, self-centered, lazy or weak. No one loves you any less for your behavior (or lack thereof); your family and friends know who you are and that your illness dims your light. They do not feel slighted, they only wish you felt better. Now it is time for you to embrace their understanding and love yourself with the same compassion.

This is a perfect day to write this letter. Your mental ability is so compromised that you aren’t censoring yourself or even editing this post. Tears are running down your face as you write because you know you are right. You are loved and lovable whether or not you have chronic migraine — perhaps in part because you have chronic migraine. Do not hate or berate yourself for being sick. It is not your fault.

Your lack of connection to the outside world, your lack of accomplishment and productivity are not a reflection of your ineptitude. In fact, the amount you have accomplished, the degree to which you seize the day are remarkable considering how disabled you are. Take some of that overflowing compassion and empathy you have for others and give it to yourself. You deserve it. So very much.

I love you and am amazed by your ability to function with such a debilitating illness. That you maintain such a positive attitude sometimes astonishes me. Release the guilt, shame and self-hatred and you will be amazed by your strength and inner beauty.

All my love,

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by Fighting Headache Disorders.

13 thoughts on “A Letter to Myself: Replacing Guilt, Shame & Self-Hatred With Love, Compassion”

  1. Dear Kerry, thank you sooo very much for the letter to yourself. I just finished a self compassion letter to myself. Thank you so much for all the inspiration! Wishing you all the best for now and always.

    1. Eli, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad the letter was helpful for you. Self-compassion is something I’m still working on, slowly but surely. I wish you the best with it.

      Take care,

  2. This is incredible. I recently wrote a piece for a magazine about the typical chronic migraineur’s day. This could have been the piece. You are a wonderful writer. I cried reading this…reminding myself that I too am loved. Thank you for reminding me of this.


  3. You’re letter was very moving. Sometimes we really do just blame ourselves for not being with our friends or doing basic things because of the disease. Our true friends and loved ones do understand and don’t blame us for our limitations even though we sometimes feel otherwise. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Sorry it’s been a rough week for you. I’m right there with you. I don’t know you personally, but you have touched my life, and so many others. You are the example of what positive those of us with this can bring to the world. And inspiration really.

  5. Thank you, too, for your kind comments. It has been a heavy-duty migraine week — turns out to have been the perfect time to write myself a love letter and to receive your loving support. I’m glad it helped some of you too.

    Take care,

  6. I just came here to say “THANK YOU” thank you for sharing this beautiful letter and inspire me to write about myself and my shadow, the migraine. Thank you.

  7. Hugs and kisses from your other mother. Please post this letter on your fridge or your mirror, somewhere you’ll see it often. It’s all true! You’re an amazing person and your friends and family adore you! (I think your husband’s pretty fabulous, too!)
    Your m.i.l.

  8. I am in tears, alone on my couch in much the position you described, with all those same thoughts running through my head. It’s so hard to keep this all in my heart. Thank you for sharing. We need this reminder.

  9. Beautiful…I cried writing mine too. I think it is good for us to remember that this is not who we are…even though sometimes it feels as if it is the biggest part. As much as we hate this thing, it does make us stronger. Thank you for sharing your post.

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