Migraine Images

The following photographs have been modified to demonstrate some of the visual disturbances I experience during migraines.

Please note that these might create trigger problems for some people !

Scroll down with caution.

Both original photographs and the resulting conversion effects are my own.  (The images are described for those with impaired vision.)  For other posts describing migraines, read “Passing Out And Going Through” and “Horrid day for a migraine. Could have been worse.” Other posts discussing problems and approaches related to migraines can be found here.

Firstly, a prodromal picture; “prodromal” refers to the symptoms that appear before the full migraine hits.  Although I do not always have the classical migraine “aura”, I sometimes have visual disturbances shortly before the worst hits.  This is the OMG-take meds-crash point.  Sometimes I wake up at this point, and it can take half an hour to roll over and gather enough brain-body coördination to take the medicine, which means that the migraine is steadily getting worse and that the relief is getting further and further distant in time.

This is a street scene in London, with a tiling effect — each of the small tiles is flipped both horizontally and vertically, resulting in an image that is more-or-less discernible overall, but with a loss of functional detail (it’s in perfect focus, but not easily interpreted). There is a queasy sense of dizziness from the tonal staggering.

You can perceive what’s what if you only focus on a small section of the scenery, but trying to navigate such a landscape is treacherous, and you would end up stumbling around, staring at a small section of pavement near your feet.  Which is in fact how lurch my way back to my bedroom …

And then there’s the full-blown migraine.  I’m highly sensitive to light and sound, and my everything hurts, not just my head. I’m fortunate that I don’t usually suffer vomiting, just nausea.

The second image is illustrative of the photophobia (extreme light sensitivity) and pain resulting from migraine.  It was created by taking a fireworks display, doing several color transformations, and then adding halo ripples.

To get the full effect, you would probably need to have this fill your entire visual field and have it brightly back-lit, but then you would end up with a headache.  Just be glad that the average headache is nowhere near as intense as a migraine, nor as intractable as the chronic daily headache!

5 Comments

  1. 24 October 2009 at 4:15

    The second image is very close to what my visual migraines look like – mine are much more static-y and resemble extreme, kaleidoscopic, television “snow”.

    I am fortunate in that I don’t have migraine headaches, merely visual migraines — that is to say, I get the visual distortions without the pain. Basically, I go blind for thirty minutes to a few hours. It really scared me when it first started happening but now it only scares me when one hits while I’m out in public because I feel so vulnerable, not being able to see.

  2. Kathy said,

    19 August 2008 at 18:29

    Very realistic photos, almost too….kind of gave me chills as I get the aura occasionally with mine and have for about 32 years. A couple of days ago I got 2 cycles of aura, meds, feeling better, then aura again. Never happened twice like that before. Wonder if anyone else ever had that? Anyway, I was impressed by the pics, really gives others an idea what we experience.

  3. 17 August 2008 at 21:30

    I love these two photos, Andrea! Visual images of migraine are so effective, and I identify with both of these. Thank you.
    Betsy

  4. Ettina said,

    6 August 2008 at 15:56

    “Sometimes I wake up at this point, and it can take half an hour to roll over and gather enough brain-body coördination to take the medicine, which means that the migraine is steadily getting worse and that the relief is getting further and further distant in time.”

    I can relate to that feeling, even though I don’t have migraines. Instead, I have dysmenorrhea (painful periods). I’m too disorganized to keep track of my cycle, so I just wake up one day with a sore stomach, ignore it until I go to the bathroom and notice bleeding, then panic and rush around trying to get painkillers and a tampon, knowing that the longer I wait for painkillers, the worse it’ll hurt before they kick in.

  5. 1 August 2008 at 2:28

    […] visual disturbances I experience during migraines.  Due to the trigger potential, I put these on a special page.  (The images are described for those with impaired vision.)  Alas, the Kid was laid flat by a […]


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: