I visited a neurologist yesterday, the last part of my visual hallucinogenic journey. We were following up on a recent EEG, to see if there were any faulty electrical impulses in my brain. Nope. None at all. Like the rest of my tests, the EEG was completely normal.
At this point, we’ve decided that the visual distortions are tied to my migraines. The neurologist said something about neurons depolarizing, and then went into a rather fascinating description of how the brain processes visual information. Turns out there’s quite a bit of activity in movement, from the back of the brain where the visual signal is first received, towards the front of the brain where it’s assembled and interpreted. It comes in stages. One stage is the recognition of angles, like the corners of tables and doors. From there the brain adds additional visual interpretation, like shape and color, and then figures out what it is. The eyes themselves have very little to do with it.
The theory is that migraines happen during the “angles” part of this process. Neurons depolarize (sorry, I have no idea what that means), leading to a series of misfires (I guess you could call them that) that go on to confuse the interpretive part of the process. That’s what causes the wavy visual aura that often precedes the actual headache. That’s why the visual distortions are geometric in shape – it’s all angles. My hallucinations were similarly angular and geometric, kind of like an aura on steroids.
That makes sense to me, more sense than seizures or any other neurological malady. For now, we’re not doing anything. If I start having these experiences more frequently, then we’ll consider options for medication.
Kinda’ Like That, But Not Really
Phew. I’m sick of running around to doctors and having endless, expensive tests that have nothing but “normal” results. It’s time to get on with life.
Oh – and happy first day of May!