Migraine and Art

 

As I wrote in a previous column, I am a migraine sufferer. I have been since age 24.. I attribute to  having a spinal when my first daughter was born ( Yes I am a doctor or I play one on the internet).

So recently I joined a FB group called “My Migraine Support Group” we are 2.2K strong and this group of men and women help me every day. Within this group I have learned that I am not alone, and my battle is not as bad as others. It has made me more tolerant, more compassionate and more understanding.

Years ago, as I was struggling to find some understanding of this condition and of course a solution that allowed me to conquer it, living with it was never an option, I just needed it to eradicate it. I was searching for knowledge and I found Oliver Sacks, or should I say he found me. While trolling through the thrift store one day, I came upon a book simply entitled “Migraine”, it opened my eyes and changed my world.

I was relieved to know that while my symptoms were frightening they weren’t a death sentence. The times I thought I was having stroke and lay in my bed resigning myself to death only to awake the next morning, this was normal. Feeling the tingling down my arms wasn’t odd but normal was oddly comforting. The icepick headaches, normal. Wanting to drill a hole through my head, normal and an actual procedure at some treatment centers. Extreme but real.

As I worked my way through the book, I was most intrigued by the section of the book that showcased the artwork created by patients under duress of a migraine. Some the work showcased in the book was scary, some was comforting.

Since joining the migraine group, several of the members have shared their own migraine art, I have included with permission, some of their work. As I look at the art, I wonder if it is a fractured mind at the moment of deepest pain that allows them to create such free flowing work. Or maybe it ‘s because many migraine suffers experience auras or visual disturbances before it hits, and the art captures those moments in art.

Every migraine is different and every piece of art captures those variances and yes even the beauty. It is my personal opinion that migraines definitely stink, but to think that the power of the pain can create magnificent artwork is worth embracing and celebrating.

So this column celebrates that art and the artists who share it with us. it may even be a way to release the toxic pain. Transferring it from your head and body to a canvas.

For those of you who want to experience the beautiful artwork further, please check out the links below. This is an original from one my group members. It is amazing to me, the colors pale and washed out, like I feel after a migraine, the concentrated lines broken, how my vision feels  prior to  an episode. She has captured it perfectly for me.. I hope you see the same.

migraine-art

This is a link to the Migraine art gallery in the UK, over 500 pieces. Check it out!

http://www.migraineart.org.uk/#modal

Until next time,

Lj