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blue002My good friend JJ wrote an excellent blog about migraines in May, and it was rather timely because I had been struggling to explain to someone exactly what my migraines were like and had merely settled on the less-than-perfect description of ‘sheet lightening and halos” on the one side of my face.

I have obviously not suffered from them as much as JJ has, but when I do get them, they make it difficult to function as a normal human being. I manage, because I must: a result of my own stiff-upper-lipped British upbringing I’m sure. But there is nothing I’d rather do than just lay down and sleep it out. Doesn’t matter where, I’m sure I’d be happy to lay in the middle of the street if it would stop the march of tiny razor-footed elephants over my skull. I often wonder if it would be less distracting if migraines were not limited to one side at a time. But that isn’t why I’m writing this post. I was very interested in JJ’s last point: the fact that migraines contribute to experiences as much as they can hinder them. I have not had an experience like hers with Red Sorghum, but my attachment to certain music – particularly the album Semantic Spaces by Delerium – could have something to do with this peculiar aspect of migraines.

I remember laying on my bedroom floor; I had four large pillows for sitting on and had one of these under my head, another under my knees. The floor was cool and it was hot outside. I was home alone and had woken with a migraine; the creeping needle-points were probably what had woken me up. I put on the music and lay down to wait for the pain killers to do their work. But it was too little, too late. My sheet lightening had already begun, smearing the colours of my room into randomness in time with my heartbeat – in time with the music. I think it was my first experience with lucid dreaming; because I was there, and not at the same time. The colours and music quite literally transported me. I felt loose inside my skull, which has happened once or twice since. Regardless, it precipitated one of my first outpourings of creativity. It was a tidal wave. Granted it was mostly poetry full of teenage angst (and a few really surprisingly erudite lines) , but it was, in sheer volume, more than I had ever produced before.

Having said this I think migraines can also give a peculiar kind of focus. I have observed this on several occasions recently. It’s almost as if I have to concentrate harder on working around the pain or the obstruction in my vision that whatever task is at hand is barely enough to make it fade into the background. I am not a fan of pain killers and often I won’t take them when I should on the off chance that the ache I feel will not turn into a migraine. Stupid I know. Anyway, after reading JJ’s post and thinking about it some, I can’t seem to decide if this focus is a mechanic of the migraine or a means of coping. Thoughts?

Listening to: Delerium – Flowers Become Screens
Drinking: Lamb’s Black Sheep Spiced Rum and Pepsi
Reading: The Rules of the Tunnel – Ned Zeman
Wrote: 2789 words today, 3218 yesterday.