It is hard to explain with words the experience of a migraine. People associate the name with extreme pain, but the other symptoms can be disorientating and surreal. Here are the visual stages of migraine as I experience them.
I had my first migraine at 22. My parents both had debilitating migraines, so I was prepared for pain. However, I was not prepared for the collection of other strange symptoms that started well before the pain and lasted well after it was over. I was at work when the first one visited me, a busy theatre with crowds of loud people. As I struggled to talk to people over the noise I realized that I was losing my sight, slowly at first and then all at once I could only see glistening lights. I managed to struggle through my shift with mounting anxiety as to what was happening to me. What followed was two days of pain and sludge. For the next 22 years I have worked hard to understand them, make friends with them, prevent them and respect them. I hope to learn more about the history of this powerful disorder and the tools that other people are using to navigate these life changing episodes.
Here are the way I experience the visual beginnings of a migraine. The aura usually lasts for about an hour and then progresses into intense light sensitivity.
Migraine Stage 1
Migraine Stage 2
Migraine Stage 3
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All images © Emma Jones 2012-2017