I’m seeing things

No really, I’m seeing things.

My entire life my mom has talked about these “lights” and “shapes” that she would see. They would come and go, usually for about 30 minutes, they would strobe…move around…and sometimes when she talked to them they would pulsate. Yeah, sounds loony, huh? I never doubted her visions, which she thought was the other world trying to communicate with her. I’m sure I would have thought the same thing.

For 55 years she never told a doctor, or asked why. They just were spirits, obviously. Then about 5 years ago Google changed everything.

Ocular migraines. That’s what came up when she searched seeing strobing triangles. Ocular migraines are very different from normal migraines. I’ve never had a normal migraine. Ocular migraines aren’t painful, just annoying. The best way to describe it is like someone has just taken your pictures with the flash on and the lights are in your eyes. Except this time they don’t go away…

Mine started when I was in the shower on Friday. I leaned down to get my loufa all souped up with some cupcake inspired soap (side note: I feel like soap choice is really important to the shower experience…never be afraid to try something different; shower time is some of the best time in the world). I thought that the leaning forward had made me lightheaded. I wasn’t sure at first, but then the blinking moon of neon triangles didn’t stop. I assessed the situation to make sure I wasn’t passing out. But I didn’t feel weird. And then I knew.

mom's painting

My mom painted what she sees; this is just a piece of the whole.

My mom has painted these before…

I knew pretty quickly that this what was happening. It was very disorienting and mostly annoying. When I tried to look into the triangles, they would move with my eyes. I couldn’t look straight into them.

I remember once after my aunt had passed away, my mom said the lights came to her and she spoke to them. When she said her name they would get brighter and more vibrant. She knew without a doubt that Paula was communicating with her. And (for reasons unknown) I never questioned it.

But it wasn’t Paula. It was a visual disturbance that Google, the Mayo Clinic, and Web MD all have “Guides” to understanding.

And the treatment…well there really is none. The process that triggers these sinister spirits isn’t really understood. On allaboutvision.com they say, “The vision symptoms accompanying painless ocular migraines are not related directly to the eyes. Instead, these visual symptoms occur as a result of the migraine “activity” in the visual cortex of the brain located in the back of the skull.” FREAKY.

I always knew that things my mom has are things that I could have. Or do have. And there are some things about my mother that I would love to embody. Like her dark sense of humor, her ability to connect with kids, her watercolor skills. But I’d like to maybe opt out of some stuff, too. Like the varicose veins, latex allergy, and anti-social tendencies. But I guess it doesn’t work like that…the good always comes with the bad. It’s that dang ying of a yang. Gets ya every time.

Yours fortunately not talking to the lights (thanks Google),



2 thoughts on “I’m seeing things

  1. I have those once a year now! They only started when I moved down here. There isn’t really any pain, but the fact that it doesn’t go away kind of makes me sick & anxious every time. If I pop some Advil early enough it’s cool, but I’m with ya, it sucks! Love your mom’s painting of them, I almost prefer her diagnosis 🙂

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