A Personal and Cultural History of Migraines

Andrew Levy's personal and cultural history of migraines finds the poetry in debilitating pain

I have only once in my life had a headache that might qualify as a migraine. It was in Palm Beach, Fla., in 2005. I was interviewing the writer James Patterson and simultaneously withdrawing cold turkey from a prescription antidepressant when suddenly I had the sensation of an airbag trying to inflate inside the tight confines of my cranium. Light sources started to leave smeary trails across my field of vision. I finished the interview, went back to my hotel, mixed and drank the contents of two bottles randomly chosen from the minibar, and went to bed. The next morning, I...

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