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Migraine Symptoms, Migraine Support – More than a Headache

Kathy O'Shea, Migraineur
LIVE Wednesday June 16, 2021
12:20pm PST (GMT-8), 3:20pm EST

About 15 percent of the world’s people suffer from migraines, a type of recurring headache marked by moderate to severe pain that is throbbing or pulsing.

But according to Professor Kathy O’Shea (literature and philosophy, Monroe Community College)–a migraineur herself–a migraine is “so much more than just a headache,” as it can:

  • last for hours or several days, and
  • can be preceded and accompanied by
    • visual or auditory auras,
    • nausea,
    • weakness, or
    • sensitivity to light and sound.

While there are many consumer health guides on migraines, O’Shea’s book is unique in that it compiles selections from essays, novels, and short stories, written by well-known authors (many also migraineurs) such as Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, Oliver Sachs, and others lesser known, arranged around basic themes:

  • what it feels like,
  • what people don’t see,
  • and how to describe the indescribable.

Migraines can also be especially debilitating; they are difficult to treat and cannot yet be cured. They can also be frustratingly hard for the sufferer to describe fully.

Come listen as Professor O’Shea helps us understand and communicate about migraines, so that loved ones, health professionals, and work associates better understand the syndrome and how to support the sufferer.

Professor O’Shea can be reached at:


migraine lit logo

Professor O’Shea’s book is a valuable resource to help migraineurs see their sufferings put into words and to help friends and family, bosses and co-workers, and physicians gain more empathy and understanding.

So Much More than a Headache - Migraines - Kathy O'Shea
Click Image to See the Book

About Your Presenter

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Kathleen J. O’Shea is a professor of English and humanities at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY and a 43-year sufferer of migraine. She has been published in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Culture and Opera Magazine and is a regular blogger on Migraine with Psychology Today.

She can be reached at