Seeing auras

Adel Gabot



I just had another visual aura episode.

It usually lasts for ten to 15 minutes. It starts at a small spot in my field of vision, anywhere there, and it slowly develops and expands, a shimmering ring or aura that soon covers my entire field of sight. It obscures my vision, and I usually have trouble seeing clearly when it starts covering a significant portion of what I can see. And I can’t do anything about it—I can’t see people’s faces, can’t read, can’t drive.

Mercifully, the episode is usually short. about a quarter of an hour, before it disappears completely and my sight is restored.

Then follows a bad migraine attack.

A visual aura is what precedes a migraine, so I know an attack is coming.

Anyone who experiences migraines report some sort of visual aura phenomenon. Some are weak, some really bad, but they’re there. The aura announces the arrival of his boss, the bad headache. They come as a matching pair, an aura and a migraine, a diabolical duet concocted by whatever force creates these debilitating headaches.

This is what an aura looks like:


It used to happen once a week or so, ever since I can remember, and I got kinda used to it. There is no real trigger as far as I could see, it would happen at any time, in any situation, whether I was stressed or not, even when I was resting and completely at ease. The aura would come, and soon after, the inevitable migraine.

It became routine to me, although the migraines really, truly sucked balls. It was hell on earth. The slightest movement, the slightest noise would send me into paroxysms of pain, and I’d bang my head against the wall if it wouldn’t make it worse.

I would have to retire to a cool, quiet, dark room and wait it out, and it would usually last several hours or so, sometimes a day if I was really unlucky. One time a really bad one lasted three whole days, and I thought I was going to die.

The migraines began back when I was a teen, around 14 or 15, and lasted well into my adulthood, into my late 40s. An average of a migraine a week, for 30 years or so. I tried all sorts of remedies and medicines, but none really worked.

I learned to live with it. You learn to live with anything, if there’s nothing else you can do.

But the migraines disappeared after I had my stroke.

That was what, six years ago? At least some good came out of it. The migraines just… stopped, and I haven’t had one since November 2009, knock on wood.

But the visual auras are still here.

It comes usually every week or two, at random intervals, and last for ten to 15 minutes, visually incapacitating me as it usually did. I would feel like my head was stuffed full of cotton, that I was on the verge of getting a bad headache again. But it wouldn’t ever get that far.

No accompanying migraines.

After half an hour, I’d go back to normal and become my usual self.

I just had an aura episode, and now everything’s fine again.

It’s still a nuisance, but I’d gladly take it over a migraine any day.

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