I am an artist, university professor and one of the more than 38 million Americans and an estimated 1 billion worldwide who suffer from migraines, an invisible affliction. The migraines began when I was eight years old. I grew up at a time when migraines were not considered a medical condition, as they are now, but an emotional one. For most of my life, I tried to ignore my migraines and pretend that they had no real consequences. It was not until my thirties when I read Joan Didion’s essay "In Bed," in which she gives voice to her migraine suffering through words, that I acknowledged the effect they have on me. It was a life-changing moment, and the start of a continuing struggle to accept that I have a chronic illness.
In 2009, almost twenty-five years after reading "In Bed," I began to photograph myself with my webcam or phone every time I had a migraine, which can be 10-15 times a month. When I have a migraine, all I want to do is leave my body so I won't feel the pain. My laptop is my escape—it allows me to ignore my body and, by photographing myself, see myself. I can express what I can't articulate and make the pain visible.
100migraines.net launched in 2014 and is the first iteration of my bigger Migraine Register project.
Please feel free to contact me for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.