Sunday, 1 September 2013

Phantom of the Opera: “Masquerade” - Behind the Mask, What does a Migraine look like?

Migraine Awareness Week is HERE! Rally the troops, sound the trumpets and make some noise. 
Over this coming week I'll be doing a series of incredibly exciting and life changed blog posts. The first of which is this! It's not too late to join in.

What does a migraine look like? Migraine is often called an 'invisible' illness and, to a large extent, this is probably true. It is part of the blessing and curse of life with migraine. No one can see that giant dagger sticking out of the back of your head, the iron vice slowly crunching your skull; to the outside world you look perfectly normal.

Or do you? Close friends and family can often look at migraineurs and tell when an attack is about to strike. I had no idea my left eye shut slightly and that I'd subconsciously start rubbing my left forehead, until Mum pointed it out. In other words, if you look closely, you can 'see' a migraine. I like to think I can pick out a chronic migraineur in a crowd, there is a certain purple shadow under the eyes, a paleness, a pinched look and other tell tale signs that may not be visible to all. So, to kick off this years Migraine Awareness Week I asked some brave fellow migraineurs if they would take a picture of themselves when they had a migraine. As you will see below, the migraine displays itself loud and clear.

Claire, 29, Chronic Migraine without Aura
Fiona, 32, with her Migracap!

Fiona, 32, with 4Head cooling strips

Rachel, 24
Rachel, 24, diagnosed with chronic migraine at the age of 13

Daisy, 33, Chronic Migraine without Aura

Jen, 39, Chronic Migraine without Aura
Her cat, Spike, is a great comfort!

Emma, 26, chronic & episodic migraines since age 17

Me! Victoria, 32&3/4 with ice pack and TENS unit

Amanda, 40, Chronic Migraines, diagnosed aged 21

Bucket at the ready!

As you can see from Amanda's pictures, head pain is only one part of the umbrella condition that is migraine. Vomitting, dizziness, trouble finding words are just a few example of the other delights that go with migraine.

Now can you match the photos below, of everyone without a migraine, to the pictures above? What a difference!!!

Thank you so much to the brave ladies who took part. You're all beautiful.


Carousel: “You’ll never walk alone”. Where and from whom do you get most support? Your GP? Friends? Migraine Charities? How do you find comfort in knowing you’re not alone?


  1. Hello - the migracap looks great. Is it helpful and where do you get one? I also like the look of the blue thing - is it a bean bag and is it chilled or heated? I was glad to see that I'm not the only one who looks significantly worse with a migraine!

  2. Hey there! The blue thing is actually an ice pack. It's got a kind of gel in it. My mother gets terrible migraines as well, so we pretty much always have at least two of them in the freezer at all times. They may be the kind of thing that you can heat as well, I'm not totally sure. We only ever use them as cold compresses though. They're super convenient though, because they can always be in the freezer, waiting to go when a migraine strikes!

  3. Fantastic. I'm going to get one as it looks great! I've already ordered a Migracap. I'm sure it won't alleviate the pain, but I imagine that it's pretty soothing. My Dad has terrible migraines too, but his are a lot better nowadays so that's hope for your mother!


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