Not Tonight examines how migraine can simultaneously disrupt so many lives and continue to be questioned and trivialized by the culture at large. Why do some kinds of pain generate deep sympathy and hefty economic investment, while other kinds are ignored? Why do we privilege and even praise some sorts of pain, while others are perceived as unimportant? Why does some people’s pain matter more than others? Why, for example, are endurance athletes who suffer for their successes celebrated as heroes (even as they choose and train for such pain), while people who live in chronic pain (also a feat of endurance, and one for which there is no finish line) are dismissed as “whiny” or weak willed? Sometimes, a particularly severe headache attracts attention (and sympathy) as a symptom of something more serious, like an aneurysm or a stroke. But much of the time, migraine is seen as a “silly excuse.” That the medical recasting of migraine as a neurobiological disorder has not altered this cultural configuration highlights the social contests that surround migraine’s legitimacy and
Not Tonight is SO GOOD. I’m probably going to quote half the book on here by the time I’m done with it. If you have migraine, especially chronic migraine, I highly recommend getting a copy.