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Explaining migraines can be tricky. This comic helps.

A personal account of a migraine attack, plus why they happen and what you should know.

At first, Summer Pierre thought they were just really bad headaches.

"Until one day, I got one of the bad headaches, and Tylenol didn't do anything, and I started throwing up," Pierre told Upworthy in an email. "I mentioned it to my therapist at the time and she said, 'That's not a headache, that's a migraine.'"

Pierre is a comic artist, writer, and teacher. In 2013, she captured a particular experience with a migraine in this comic:



Comic by Summer Pierre, used with permission, adapted for mobile use. Original can be found here.

It turns out that Pierre has been experiencing migraines for more than 20 years.

"I'm pretty prone to them, so I can wake up with the symptoms coming on a couple times a week, but they can be curbed with medication for the most part," she said. "The really bad ones that can't be stopped with medication happen about once a month."

If you're one of the about 13% of our population who experiences migraines, you know what Pierre is talking about.

Migraines can be debilitating. They can last for hours, sometimes days. They usually come in distinct phases and can include more than just pain: Fatigue, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and seeing auras are just some of the symptoms.

They can be so bad that it pretty much keeps you from doing anything but wishing they'd go away, an experience Pierre called "pretty damn frustrating."

There's even a weird migraine hangover phase, where people often feel very tired (although some people, like Pierre, also get a kind of migraine-induced euphoria after).

Some things can help, including medication and avoiding triggers.

Certain things like alcohol or medications might bring on migraines. But the triggers are usually highly variable and unique to each person.

And as a final kick in the teeth, stress can be a trigger, too, because migraines are soooo relaxing already.

Luckily, we're getting closer to figuring out what causes migraines, which could be a game-changer.

Researchers think migraines happen when there's abnormal blood flow to parts of the brain. And while migraines appear to be partly environmental, we're also starting to identify genes that may be responsible too. This is pretty cool because it could lead to more personalized, targeted migraine treatments in the future.

If you're having a migraine, take care of yourself.

And if you know someone who is having one, think of Pierre and summon as much empathy as you can.

"Unless you suffer from migraines or know someone intimately who does, people just don't seem to understand them. Migraines aren't just headaches — they are a full body system that has many parts to it," Pierre said.

"They are not to be ignored, powered through, or taken lightly."

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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