Scientists, philosophers, artists, leaders…
Charles Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, Caesar, Napoleon, van Gogh, Picasso, Chiricco, Munch, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley…
And there are a lot more in the history. Most people who left their mark on the history were suffering migraine. Because it triggers creativity. Also, it is a privilege.
1 – Charles Darwin
He was an English naturalist. The book he published in 1859, On the Origin of Species explains his theory of evolution. Modern evolution theory forms the basics of biology and is the binding element.
He had bizarre symptoms for that time. He was losing the ability to study due to days long visual disabilities and headache. Probably he was suffering from migraine with aura.
2 – Julius Caesar
He was a soldier, a political leader, a goof preacher and a powerful writer of Roman descent. Caesar had severe headaches and alongside, dizziness, visual disabilities, limb weaknesses and loss of consciousness.
Some say that he might had epileptic attacks or a stroke but a complicated migraine or migraine with aura should come to mind before them. Having political and literary abilities at the same time is only possible this way.
3 – Hildegard von Bingen
She was a German nun, spiritual leader, writer, composer and scientist. Most herbal medicines she introduced the world is still being used.
She is one of the numbered women who made the world talk about her musical talents.
Von Bingen, both writing and drawing everything she experienced, describes her migraine with aura in detail in those.
4 – Napoleon Bonaparte
He was a French commander and politician. Victories he won until the Waterloo fiasco and his domination over Europe, he was of the most important men of his era and earned the right to being remembered as a great commander in history.
As a young soldier, during Italy expedition, a major success of his, he had severe migraine attacks condemning him to bed. However this was assumed as a result of “stress, anger and concerns about his wife Josephine’s loyalty”.
5 – Thomas Jefferson
He was of the founders of USA, writer of “Declaration of Independence” and third president of the USA. As an all-rounder, Jefferson was good in science, art and philosophy, alongside politics.
Thomas Jefferson complained about severe headaches on major incidents of his life. According to his own descriptions in his letters these headaches are classified as migraine by the majority but some thinks that it also might be cluster headache.
6 – Friedrich Nietzsche
He was a German philosopher. His critics about his era and its values were enlightening for the evaluation and understanding of the following years. The essence of his thoughts finds its meaning in the phrase “übermensch” i.e. superman.
Nietzsche, lecturing as a classical philology professor in Basel University at the age of 25, had to quit this job because of his headaches becoming unbearable. His pain was at the center of his life and determinant.
7 – Sigmund Freud
Founder of psychanalysis. With studies on subconscious and his theory of Oedipus Complex, he brought a new perspective to studies on explaining human nature and caused a lot of debates.
Many sources about him suggests that he was suffering from migraine. His theoretical works on the nature of pain and the origin of migraine are still being discussed to this day.
8 – Miguel de Cervantes
Spanish writer and poet. His major work is Don Quijote, a western classical. He emphasized humanitarian values via a comic portrait of the tragedy hero with this work.
“When the head aches, all the members partake of the pain,” is not only a philosophical metaphor but also an indication of his own experiences.
9 – Lewis Carroll
The author of literary nonsense books like Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. In addition to his penmanship, he also did some works in the fields of mathematics and logic and he was interested in photography, a new art branch of his era.
A rare but interesting type of migraine with aura, “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome” was named after his migraine experiences and their reflection on his works.
10 – Virginia Woolf
English writer. She was of the prominent ones of the intellectual environment of her era. She became an important agent of modernist and feminist act with her works.
She complained about migraine throughout her life, alongside psychiatric problems. Her comment on pain as “English, which can express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear, has no words for the shiver and the headache. Let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry,” proves her experiences.
11 – Georges Seurat
French artist representing post-impressionism. One major work of the artist, using Pointillism technique, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” has caused the modern art to change its direction.
“Seurat Effect”, gets its name from the artist’s perception, caused by his condition and affected his works. Seurat Effect describes the point loss of visuality during migraine auras very well.
12 – Claude Monet
Founder of French impressionism. He made his mark on art history as a pioneer on reflecting the nature of movement and human impressions.
In his work named “Having a Migraine”, he put his experiences on the canvas.
13 – Giorgio de Chirico
Italian artist and founder of “Scuola Metafisica”. He affected surrealism with his style combining traditional technique with metaphysical themes.
It was thought that his inspirations shaping his style were caused by migraine attacks. Interestingly, he was impressed by another migraineur Friedrich Nietzsche.
14 – Edvard Munch
Norwegian artist. His most famous work is “The Scream”. Scandinavian artist interpreted the “anxiety” and “existential crisis” of modern people in a striking way.
There are some comments stating that this was a description of his pain and describes “Cluster Headache” in the best possible way.
15 – Vincent van Gogh
Dutch artist. As a representative of post impressionism he impressed art history majorly. Van Gogh, a prolific artist created 2100 works in total.
At his era, migraine was considered as some kind of mild insanity and because of that, he completed his famous work “Starry Night” in St. Remy Mental Hospital where he was being treated for migraine.
16 – Pablo Picasso
He, a great artist of 20th century, was a representative of avant-garde movements as cubism and surrealism. “Guernica” in which he depicted the village of Guernica bombed by Germans and Italians during civil war of Spain, is kind of a monument where the artist revealed his position against wars.
The relation between his style of reflecting images on canvas and his pain is the subject of researches of art interpreters.
17 – Elizabeth Taylor
Famous American actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Alongside her acting in classical works, she made her mark in acting history with her activism in the 1960s and her works on AIDS in her final years.
It is known that she fought with health problems including migraine throughout her career but never let the pain put her career behind.
18 – Elvis Presley
American song writer and singer. Elvis Presley, the first great member of Rock’n Roll era, changed the course of popular music history with his looks and songs completely. He became an important actor in introducing the whites of America with Afro-American music and culture.
It is known that he was suffering from chronical headaches and using high amounts of drugs consequently. “I’d rather feel nothing than feel the pain I’m feeling,” made history as a revelation of his pain.