Migraine Behind the Eyes


Give Loose to Mirth by CM, pastel on Fabriano paper, 12" x 18", 2014

Give Loose to Mirth by CM, pastel on Fabriano paper, 12″ x 18″, 2014

“It’s funny where you end up in a Bodyscapes session. Looking in the dictionary takes you on a trip from disorder to riot to brilliant display. Before, I never would have thought of  my debilitating migraine pain as a brilliant display. My client has migraines 15 times per month. The severe pain lasts between 24-36 hours. It is hard for her to live in the present moment, not anticipating the threat of a future migraine. She feels there is no meaning or purpose gained from living with her migraines. 


CM notes, expressive writing component 2014

CM notes, expressive writing component 2014

CM had a natural ease with navigating around looking up definitions in the dictionary. The words migraine, head and exasperated produced pages with words in columns and arrows pointing from one word to another. She created her own matrix of the pattern each word revealed. “The word aspect of the Bodyscapes Technique  is surprising and unexpected. I came up with words and meaning that we truly surprising.”

CM’s notes finally fell into two categories. One column was labeled, rejoice, the other, suffering. “I never thought of those two states existing at the same time.” rejoice is defined as being made glad again. Glad defines as bright and very willing. 

At the end of the expressive writing component, CM said, “My words do not come together in any poem or writing, Diane. I guess it’s like life with lots of loose ends and contradictions as themes.”

CM’s drawing, Give Loose to Mirth,  shows all the “coming together” of shape, line and color that she felt did not happen during her expressive writing experience. “The worst pain is behind my eyes.” CM drew large eyes taking up most of the paper. The top eye, yellow, looks as if it is pressing down on the other eye. That eye, colored blue, feels precariously placed on the page. We wonder if the idea of CM’s contradictions played into her choice to place the eyes as they are placed. Does her pain feel like her eyes are crossing or one eye is pressing on the other? 

“Black. I need a black pastel. My reality is black and bleak.” 

Perhaps, the writing aspect of the Bodyscapes session uncovered the possibility for CM to be aware of a the possibility of bright, yellow rejoicing amid the watery black suffering. 

The Red & Orange House relies on support from individual donors to maintain our work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Each gift brings another art-making experience to a patient’s bedside, their family sitting in a family surgical waiting room, a private home or a workshop. Donor benefits include a weekly subscription to our upcoming newsletter. You can share the powerful healing moments experienced by program participants and their families. 

The Red & Orange House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. 



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