Famous Migraine Sufferers

Think youre alone in suffering from migraines? When the really bad ones hit, it certainly seems as you alone are the only suffering. As a matter of fact, however, not only are migraines incredibly common, but some of the most famous and well-known people in history have suffered from this debilitating neurological disease.

Not only have famous people suffered migraines, but some of those people have actually left behind artistic records of their pain and suffering. In fact, Lewis Carrolls timeless childrens classics about Alice in Wonderland are thought to have been inspired by Carrolls migraine with auras.

Goodness knows there are precious few, if any, people in this world—whether migraines sufferers or not—who havent gotten at least a figurative headache from the boneheaded decisions of politicians. But several of the most famous and infamous politicians in history suffered migraines themselves.

Among the biggest headache causers and sufferers were Roman dictator and future salad inspiration, Julius Caesar, and French emperor and future pastry inspiration Napoleon Bonaparte.

With all those cannons and muskets going off, is it any wonder than Thomas Jefferson would get a headache while writing the Declaration of Independence.

And talk about your irony, or rather your coincidences: Both the commanding generals on each side of the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee for the Confederacy and Ulysses S. Grant for the Union were both migraine sufferers.

Lewis Carroll wasnt the only writer to suffer from headaches, nor was his the only books to be written in response to effects of migraines. Migraines influenced the work of Virginia Woolf and Miguel de Cervantes. Emily Dickinson even a poem about migraines, utilizing as a metaphor the disease the very apt image of coffin nails.

Even more so than writers, painters have been especially moved to create artwork reflecting their state of mind during the pangs of migraine headaches. Impressionist paintings by Vincent Van Gogh have been variously described as being influenced by cataracts and insanity.

One of the latest theories attributes his unique paint strokes and vivid colors to visual disturbances stemming from migraine auras. The technique of pointillism—large images created by the eye piecing together small dots of color—created by fellow Impression Georges Seurat also bears a resemblance to visual images that people have reported seeing during the aura stage.

If listening to someone drone on about their therapy sessions with a psychoanalyst has ever given you a headache, you may be happy to know that the Father of Psychoanalysis himself, Sigmund Freud, is assumed to have suffered from migraines.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche theorized the concept of the Uberman, a master race. One can only assume that he felt he himself belonged to this elevated plateau. Still, one cant help but think maybe Ubermen should somehow be above such mundane problems as headaches. Unfortunately, Nietzsche was, indeed, plagued by migraines. So much for a master race, I suppose.

Musicians and actors have also been prone to migraines. Among his other maladies, the King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley, was prone to headaches. Other celebrities who have admitted to battling headaches include actress and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg, British royal family member Princess Margaret, and even Cindy Brady herself, actress Susan Olsen.

As an example of just how debilitating migraine headaches can be and of how democratic the disease can be, consider the story of Terrell Davis, migraine sufferer and star American football player in the NFL. The end of the football season in American culminates, of course, with the Super Bowl. During Super Bowl XXXII Davis, the running back for the Denver Broncos and the eventual Most Valuable Player of the game, missed the second quarter of the game because of a migraine. Smack in the middle of the biggest game of his career, Davis found himself unable to continue playing because of the onset of a terrible headache pain along with double vision.

Because Davis had informed himself and educated himself about his disease, however, he was able to return to play after halftime. He had kept a journal and was aware of exactly what triggers were involved, allowing him to overcome the effects of the migraine.

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