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.