ith more than one in ten Americans—and more than one in five families—affected, the phenomenon of migraine is widely prevalent yet often ignored or misdiagnosed. For Andrew Levy, his migraines were occasional reminders of a persistent illness that he’d wrestled with half his life. Then in 2006 Levy was struck almost daily by a series of debilitating migraines that kept him essentially bedridden for months, imprisoned by pain and nausea that retreated only briefly in gentler afternoon light. When possible, he kept careful track of what triggered an onset and in luminous prose recounts his struggle to live with migraines, his meticulous attempts at calibrating his lifestyle to combat and avoid them, and most tellingly, the personal relationship a migraineur develops—an almost Stockholm syndrome–like attachment—with the indescribable pain, delirium, and hallucinations. Levy researched how personalities and artists throughout history—Alexander Pope, Freud, Virginia Woolf, even Elvis—dealt with their migraines and candidly describes his rehabilitation with the aid of prescription drugs and his eventual reemergence into the world, back to work and writing.
An enthralling blend of memoir and provocative analysis, A Brain Wider Than the Sky offers rich insights into an illness whose effects are too often discounted and whose sufferers are too often overlooked