Yesterday, prolific journalist Eva Wiseman wrote a somewhat surreal piece about her experiences with migraine. Specifically she described how her aura manifested and depicted something known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome which, as you may have guessed, is named after that famous work of fiction. Lewis Carroll suffered from migraines and many believe his visual auras influenced his work.
For migraineurs, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS) is a specific type of aura where body parts usually seem distorted, becoming either much larger or smaller, hence the name given to the condition. While Wiseman's article is, I believe, beautifully written it has created something of a stir amongst the migraine community. Why? Because it appears to be glorifying migraine. One reader commenting on the article wrote: "I've never had a migraine. After reading this article I'd like to have it at least once. :-)"
As you can imagine, this was not well received. I waded into the debate when people started to question the decision of NICE to give BOTOX to chronic migraine patients on the NHS. I'm under the username Britred if you want to read my various comments. I tried to be as neutral as possible and direct people to The Migraine Trust and the National Migraine Centre, I'm actually quite proud of myself for not getting too heated...
Personally, I'm pleased that a young, popular figure like Wiseman is even writing about migraine at all. I hope she continues to do so. I think it's a vivid, pleasing description of what her migraines feel like - to her. Some people do feel euphoric before or after a migraine - oh that I was one of them! But I can completely relate to the Angel perfume and putrid rain smell parts of her piece. I actually want to slap anyone wearing Angel perfume (bizarrely it's the only perfume which makes me feel like tiny daggers are being hurled down my nostrils causing my throat to swell and soon I won't be able to breathe) so watch out. My view is that all publicity is good publicity, and I think it's great that it provoked such a heated debate and allowed a lot of us to share information and resources. So far there are 139 comments and counting...
And maybe now someone who doesn't find migraines quite so visually intriguing or creatively stimulating will get to write a counter argument? Guardian editors if you're reading, I'm currently available!
What do you think? Where you enraged or enlighten?
Here is the link to the piece:
Information on AIWS: