Picture of Pain

Digital Painting

Migraine feature


picture of my pain

I suffer greatly from my head, you know.

Alexander Bonaparte Cust, The ABC Murders, Agatha Christie

I do. Now I’m not an epileptic, Great War veteran turned traveling salesman suspected of killing people based on the order of the alphabet, but I do suffer from migraines. I do mean suffer. It’s one of those ‘non-presenting’ conditions. Lights can be too bright, sounds too grating–not always too loud, mind, just really, really aggravating–, no appetite, and the list goes on. I am a Poirot fan, though.

With regard to the light sensitivity, it’s not like it’s too bright. Instead, I can almost feel the light. Seriously, even with my eyes closed and wrapped in a blindfold so my vision is pitch black (no light leaks), I can sense that a light is on… even if didn’t know of the light before the blindfold. Doctors concluded, in basic studies, it’s… weird.


I became paranoid of their regularity in about 2006 or so, having always suffered from them since my youth. My doctor at the time was courteous enough not to dismiss my concerns and sent me for scans (CTs, MRIs, etc.) and they turned up nothing significant. It’s part stress, part kind of everything, but my concern was a tumor or something. No tumor, just a way I’m built… or something. It seems I possess a certain “Je ne sais pas”itis or syndrome.

As of this writing, I’ve had two in the past month’s time. With the help of Generic Imitrex they can be mitigated, but sometimes you have to hit them before the pain starts. I spot the symptoms pretty well, but sometimes not. Anyway, whether it was a condition of the pain, a combination of interacting medicines, and/or other coping mechanisms, this image appeared in my head as I laid in bed and in pain.


It stuck there for weeks, and when I had some down time, I took about 6-8 hours and went nuts on my iPad with my Apple Pencil.  This is the first digital painting I’ve done on that new setup (I’ve had both since earlier this year). It’s also a first Digital Painting I a while. I created the work in Adobe Sketch.

I’ve heard tell of therapies and practices of ‘manifesting’ pain in this way (kind of dislike using manifest inn that way, but oh well).  It’s even possible, I think, to develop a targeted diagnosis based on such visuals from the suffer? I think I’ve heard/read that somewhere, but it might not be valid anymore. Anyway, this is what my migraines look like apparently. It’s the fist time an image ever appeared to me regarding them.

Migraines at the Mayo Clinic

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