Migraine Fears

Following on from my personal blog post last week, Katherine Foxhall writes a very well researched post regarding migraine.


“experiencing chronic pain… can be a complicated, isolating, self-blaming, guilt-ridden process”

“…as well as those who cannot fathom a man not pushing through the pain of an illness that predominantly afflicts women..”

“Guilt. Isolation. Disbelief. Let us come back to fear…”

Animated migraine aura video [WARNING to migraine sufferers to be wary of watching this] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo139jYAFzA

“migraine blogs and contributions to the Migraine Trust’s Travelling Diary, for example, are overwhelmingly written by women, and have provided an important arena in which to speak openly about experiences of dealing with chronic illness, often in the face of disbelief, apathy, and misunderstanding from employers, loved ones and the medical profession”


By Katherine Foxhall

All the fascinating discussions of emotion on REMEDIA – particularly Danielle Ofri’s recent reflection ‘On the Raw Fear of Being a Patient’ – made me think about the role of fear in the history of illness. It occurred to me that I’ve come across fear in a number of contexts while researching the history of migraine – fear as a cause, as a symptom and as a consequence of this condition.

In 1870, Hubert Airy wrote about seeing a person afflicted by attacks of ‘hemiopsy’ – zigzag patterns affecting eyesight, now commonly known as migraine aura – ‘turn away in horror from a drawing of the ugly sight, quite content to bear serious illness “if only the ‘half-blindness’ would keep away”.’[i]

In 1873, the Cambridge physician, Edward Liveing, published On Megrim, Sick Headache and Some Allied Disorders.[ii] Liveing’s book has become a foundational text in…

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