When I get a migraine (which thankfully doesn’t happen often) the very first symptom I get is that I stop being able to read. Quite literally!
I never used to get migraines with auras, it’s something that started around 2009. My first visual migraine scared the sweet holy crap out of me. Suddenly, these pinwheels of flashing light crept into my view, starting in the lower right side of my vision. Slowly the pulsating thing filled my vision, like some bizarre, flashing LED flower. It moved across my field of vision until it filled it, allowing me to only be able to see around the edges of it. I cried and wondered if I was going blind. Blind or perhaps insane. Or both? But it was over after half an hour or so and a quick google helped me to figure out the phenomenon and give it a name. (By the way, that name is awesome: Scintillating Scotoma.)
Seeing as I am often reading, I’ve noticed that shortly before the visual migraine begins, I stop being able to see words on a page. It’s extremely hard to describe, but it’s like I can see the words and focus on them, but at the same time, I also can’t and I am totally unable to understand what I’m seeing. The words sort of skitter about the page while also seeming to stay still. All these contradictions add up to me being completely unable to read. Now that I know what all this strangeness means, I usually take some preventative painkillers at this point and wait for the auras to start. I don’t always get a headachey migraine after a visual migraine, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I don’t think I would have found out about this specific symptom if I didn’t spend such a large amount of time with my nose buried in a book. I had an attack of visual and painful migraines in 2010 that lasted two weeks (caused by what was most likely a pinched nerve) and during that entire time I was unable to read a single word. I was halfway through Hello America by JG Ballard and I never finished it, nor have I ever been able to get into it again. I think it may have been the longest I’ve ever gone without reading in my entire life! It was indescribably frustrating not to be able to absorb a single word, and when I was finally able to read again, it was with relief and stupid joy that I curled up in my bed with a book, glad to be free of the pain but even gladder that I could finally take in what was written on the page.
If you want to know exactly what my visual migraines look like, this youtube video is almost EXACTLY what they look like.
Ever had a migraine? Do you get auras as well?