I am inhabited by an invisible demon called Migraine.
I am one of more than 39 million Americans and 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from this disabling neurological disease. I was given the diagnosis of migraine at age 8, and I have spent most of my life ignoring how it really affects me.
All my attempts at record keeping failed. That changed in 2009 when I started to photograph myself each time that I had a migraine attack. The cameras in my laptop and phone have become the mirrors in which I can witness my pain. I visualize the unseen in order to reverse the invisibility of an invisible illness.
I am at war. My migraine demon is always there.
But this project is not just about me. I am a member of what the writer Meghan O’Rourke calls the “Invisible Kingdom” of chronic illness. I think about the long history of women who suffered in silence from migraine, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses and were not believed, were told they were too emotional, who were committed to institutions, or in the worst cases killed themselves. For way too many women, unacknowledged illnesses have stopped them from leading full lives.