The Blurred Mind

A Migraine Perspective

As some of you may know, both my spouse and myself are teetotalers, in a day and age when just about everyone we know drinks alcohol socially. There are others who smoke pot to numb their senses. Even as followers of Christ, my position or conviction on alcohol and recreational drugs is not necessarily based on the notions of the early Temperance Movement and/or some form of legalistic interpretation of the Scriptures. Yes, drunkenness and being stoned out of our minds on some sort of recreational or prescription drug (with a few exceptions) is considered morally and ethically wrong in the Scripture. Just do a simple word search on fools and foolishness in the Book of Proverbs.

Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. Proverbs 20:1

Abuse of anything mind altering often leads to personal and societal tragedy in both the short term and the long run.

Although both my wife and myself have drank wine at social dinner occasions and wine at Communion services, our general outlook and practice is still the same – we abstain from alcohol, recreational drugs, etc., as a general rule.

I cannot speak for my spouse and her reason(s) for abstinence. My reason(s) are pretty basic. I grew up in a home where my father abused alcohol to the point of rage and violence. I still have emotional and physical scars from those early years. For me, to consume alcohol on a regular basis is like playing with unstable explosives. My siblings and I are walking time bombs that could go off at any time. Most of my siblings have learned their lessons well after our rather disruptive and rebellious teenage years. Those who have not, managed to ruin their lives in whole or in part. The string of broken relationships, and the failure to establish a meaningful and sustaining work life and/or career are clear signs of the familial effects of alcoholism and/or alcohol dependency and drug addiction doing its insidious and destructive work.

My second, and more pressing reason for NOT consuming alcohol is because I take prescription medication(s) to alleviate an ongoing medical problem. Have you ever suffered from migraine headaches, especially the painless kind where you experience a loss of vision? You may know what I mean – the lack of depth and colour perception, and the annoying jagged or electrical fuzzies around your peripheral vision that increase to the point of developing tunnel vision. The solution is rather simple – go into a dark room, close your eyes, and rest for about thirty minutes. Simple right? Well, not really. When this happens at work, at a social occasion, or even driving – at best, it is a huge inconvenience. Neurologists are still puzzled by the inner workings of migraines and the diverse visual and other disruptive sensory distortions people experience. In my particular case it is probably related to six minor concussions (mostly related to sports) over my lifetime – the jury is still out on this one.

As you can see from the above picture, that is more or less what I see when a migraine comes on. The loss of colour perception, blurring (usually jagged and lightening bolt-like), and tunnel vision seems to be the norm during painless migraines.

As a visual artist, the gradual loss of sight due to the ageing process, and the intermittent migraines are a pain-in-the-butt. The hindered ability to do fine detailed work of any kind without reading glasses and some sort of magnification is a little disheartening. As one who had super vision (20/15) most of my life, this is a hard pill to swallow. You know you are getting older when you use a MacBook or iPad over some sort of cell phone to post your status on FaceBook or write an article on WordPress 😉


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