I’m not talking about a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object here. I’m talking about the perceptual visual disturbances migraine sufferers get, usually before the pain hits.
One is light and fluffy and lovely. The other is disorienting, anxiety-inducing, and just plain strange.
My mom told me she used to get them a lot, usually as a sign that a particularly nasty migraine was on the way. When I started exhibiting migraine symptoms in my early 20s, I didn’t have any aura. I counted my blessings on that one. Turns out I was just bidding my time.
I’ve had aura three times in the past year and, though it certainly has its downsides, it’s also beautiful for a couple of reasons:
1) It warms me that a migraine is coming. The aura doesn’t hurt. Not really. It’s more awkward and annoying than anything else. The good part about it is that when I see it, I have enough time to take some meds and, hopefully, stave off the worst of the pain. Hopefully.
2) Once you get over the utter weirdness of not being able to see properly out of one eye, the effect is actually quite pretty. Like the spots you get after staring into a bright light, but to a much more intense degree. Mine has a dark grey center with a thick bright yellowy-white edge. The aura starts as small as a pencil tip, eventually becomes as big as a dinner plate, and finishes by working its way out of my periphery. The bright edge is jagged, with lots of think black lines and chunky dark geometric shapes. It’s got a crystal-like quality.
Sounds fancy right? Sadly, once the pretty part of the aura is gone, I’m left with a screaming headache and accompanying symptoms similar to stroke. Not so fancy anymore huh?
I had the aura last night around 9pm. The migraine started at 10, and it’s still there now judging by my inability to type anything properly the first time I try. Oh and I’m still in pain. There’s that too.
But it was beautiful. For a few moments anyway.