Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lincoln: (Day 25)

Who's your favorite historical character that lived with Migraine or another Headache Disorder?

   I think that at the moment, one of the historical people who suffered from migraines I identify most with the author, Lewis Carroll.

   This is not only because of the migraines, including the somewhat less well known, yet aptly named, "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome", but because he also lost consciousness on occasion. (Source) And while at the time, this was thought to be a rare form of epilepsy, something I fortunately do not suffer, I used to lose consciousness due to my migraines, and the lack of control over one's surroundings that happens in such a situation is something I understand quite well. Having three conditions in common with the great man, plus a shared interest/profession makes me interested in Carroll's migraine history.

   In addition, the way that Carroll thought, most likely while suffering a migraine, is very familiar and comforting to me. I remember reading his complete works when I was eleven or twelve and my migraines beginning to majorly impede on my life. Poems like "You are Old Father William", or the more famous "Jabberwocky" seemed to make perfect sense to me. It didn't really hit me that the words were made up and supposed to be nonsensical any more than, say, Dr. Seuss's books. It was really all one and the same to me. I could create my own ideas of what the mome raths from "Jabberwocky" were like.

    I didn't know that micro/macropsia was called "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome" until long after I'd begun to experience the sensations. I thought it was just my brain being odd, which, in a way, it is. But at least it's not being uniquely odd for a change. The sudden shrinking/growing sensations are some of the most disconcerting things I've ever had to deal with. It's about a million times worse than going quickly down in an elevator with your eyes closed.

As for the loss of consciousness, mine has been diagnosed as vasovagal syncope, which is an almost meaningless diagnosis. "You pass out when your veins dilate" said in Latin is much more impressive, however, so they went with that. There was a question of my having epilepsy long before they considered the problem being my heart, however, and I had a multitude of tests to prove that I wasn't an epileptic. These tests, naturally, weren't around in Carroll's time, so the rudimentary diagnosis is all that we'll ever really have. But still, it's an interesting similarity.

Quantum in me fuit,

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