Welcome to June: National Migraine Awareness Month!
You might be asking–why do migraines need awareness? Aren’t they just headaches?
These facts are from migraine.com (a great resource if you are looking for more info):
- 9/10 migraineurs can’t “function normally” during a migraine attack day, and almost 3/10 need bed rest.
- According to a World Health Organization analysis, migraine alone is responsible for at least one percent of the total US medical disability burden, and severe migraine attacks are as disabling as quadriplegia.
- Migraine is the 12th most disabling disorder in the US.
- The stigma that remains attached to Migraine is so strong that participants in a study about Migraine and stigma scored higher on the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness than a mixed panel of patients with chronic neurologic diseases – stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s disease.
Migraines are a genetic, neurological disorder—so not the same thing as a headache. Nausea. Sound and light sensitivity. Mood swings. Dizziness. Auras. And the pain. Oh God, the pain. And that’s only touching the surface.
So why bring this up?
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’d know I have chronic migraine. But, since I love art and writing, I also want to draw attention to some of the many writers and artists who suffer from migraines.
Here’s a couple names you’ll recognize:
- Many speculate Vincent van Gogh had migraines. If you’ve ever had a scintillating scotomoa (the most common form of migraine aura. I mainly get this type), and then studied Starry Night, you can totally see the relationship.
- Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was also supposedly inspired by migraines. I’ve read the book and it’s pretty….um, strange. I don’t believe he could’ve written it during a migraine, but I can see how the pain could’ve driven him to imagine bizzare dreams to keep ahold on reality. I do the same through audiobooks.
- Emily Dickinson also aptly describes a migraine in her poem “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”. I love the first line. It sums a migraine up so well, I’m convinced she had to have one.
- Virginia Wolfe wrote about migraines in her essay On Being Ill:
“English, which can express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear, has no words for the shiver and the headache. It has all grown one way. The merest schoolgirl, when she falls in love, has Shakespeare or Keats to speak her mind for her; but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.”
Sounds pretty accurate to me.
Want to help bring awareness? The American Migraine and Headache Association is spreading word about these hashtags to be used for the Migraine and Headache Awareness Month:
And if someone tells you a migraine is nothing more than a headache, you have my permission to slap them. Well…maybe not really. But you can certainly educate them 😀