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Elna Gabriella Jönsson Elna Gabriella Jönsson
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Author: Klaus Podoll 04. March 2007
Edited by: Klaus Podoll

Elna Gabriella Jönsson

Artist's Website

Elna Gabriella Jönsson, 2003. © 2003 Elna Gabriella Jönsson (see here)

"I also have what is classified as 'severe migraine', i.e. recurrent attacks as often as once a week. This means my life is divided up in 'black holes' and 'painfree days'. It makes leading what people call a normal life hard, but with the flexibility of my job and of distance-learning courses, I am able to puzzle things together."

(Elna Gabriella Jönsson, An Introduction to Gabriella, January 27, 2003)

Elna Gabriella Jönsson, Self-portrait with Migraine, Graphite and coloured pencils, red felt-tip pen, 2004. © 2004 Elna Gabriella Jönsson (see here)

"On the way back I thought of pain. Well, not really but it's been a migrainy day. So I figured in a super world my super hero name would be Ms Migraine (seeing I have attacks every other week that last for days). Super powers are usually both good or bad, right? So the fact that my migraine makes me suffer so means that it should also give me powers. Super migraine rays. Giant intellect. Or such. But having considered it a while longer I figured I'd probably be a super monster like the Hulk. Maybe my brain would expand during attacks and start throbbing in a visual, nasty way. And my auras would start electric hurricanes that would wreck havoc on the city. And then some geek in spandex would proclaim himself the hero of the city and start fighting me on top of it all. Just my luck, I guess. And yes, I'm going to bed now."

(From the artist's blog, August 16, 2004)

"So, I went down to the pharmacy today to get my migraine pills, and was completely mortified in the process because I couldn't pay for them. I already get them at a reduced price because I'm such a 'frequent costumer', but I was still lacking 15 kronor. That's really not much, but if you don't have it, it matters. And since I don't get any student grant during the summer I seriously don't have money. Which sucks. There's no reason to euphemise it. Anyway, after having stood around flustered while the cashier was explaining to me how I needed to go back to the help desk and sign some form to pay in instalments (which was really quite ludicrous considering the sum), the man behind me payed the 15 kronor that was lacking. Which was very, very nice of him, but he was looking at me as if I was some lower form of life because I couldn't pay my own medication, and since I'm so easily influenced by such attitudes I was flooded by guilt and shame. I'm a bad, useless person. All because of 15 kronor. Oh, when will the autumn term start?"

(From the artist's blog, August 16, 2004)

"In other news, I've got my period coming this week, so migraine and tiredness will follow in its tracks. Actually it's already started, but this is nothing in comparison to the crescendo at the end of the week. I can live with nothing.

Notice how being a woman makes you a kind of fortune-teller? No, that week won't be good for me, that week I'll be ill (I can actually, if I bothered, almost tell exactly when I will have migraines since they are linked mainly to menstruation and ovulation). What does she mean? How can she know? Burn her as a witch!

... What would I be without my pain?"

(From the artist's blog, August 31, 2004)

"And it's got me. The thing that disturbs me more than anything though, is that the migraine seems to disrupt some of my language links - simple, everyday words that just won't come out, as though I've become a dyslectic to my own mind. There's a code in there I can't quite decipher, though I know, I know, what I want to say. So instead of anything incoherent, I'm just going to scribble down two notes to myself: Norse Goddesses and Edith Södergran. And now I'm going to go throw up."

(From the artist's blog, September 1, 2004)

"Numbed by sumatriptan and acetylsalicylic acid. Yet the ache continues."

(From the artist's blog, September 2, 2004)

Elna Gabriella Jönsson, Aura vision, 2004. © 2004 Elna Gabriella Jönsson (see here)

"Today my migraine has repeatedly shut off my hearing to the outside world [decreased hearing, an aura symptom of basilar-type migraine] and started playing sounds (like the sounds they use to test your hearing with) in my head [tinnitus, another aura symptom of basilar-type migraine]. I think it's been iTunes-infected*). The auras**) could have fooled anyone.

... On the train ride home I chatted with J on amongst other things ulcerative stomatitis. Perhaps I shouldn't talk too much to people when I have a migraine. I seem to have a bad influence."

(From the artist's blog, September 3, 2004; additions in square brackets by Klaus Podoll)

*) "iTunes is the Macintosh equivalent of the Windows Media Player. If you put on a cd, and push a little swirly button, it shows a psychedelic screensaver that moves along with your music. Some of it is quite aura-like. That's what I was referring to. It was a joke. – Very internal, I realise now."

(Email to Klaus Podoll, October 9, 2004)

**) "It was more than a month ago, but if I remember it correctly my vision - I think it was only on the left side, I'm not sure, but that is my most common experience - started to get blotted out by 'difference clouds', sort of like the things you get when you close your eyes and rub against them with your finger tips quite hard. You see them full-fledged while your lids are closed, but as you open your eyes they seem to jump and skip across your eyes, blinking and finally fading. It can take quite a while for them to disappear. These algae-like clouds often alert me that a migraine is coming, or sometimes the ache has just started. They usually make me feel disoriented and faint, as though a fast train is swishing through my head, leaving me off balance. This particular time I knew that a migraine was coming, but the ache had not started yet. I was feeling slightly nauseated, but not much, as I was lying in bed at the time. I tend to loose track of time during migraines, but I don't think it lasted very long. Maybe a couple of minutes, maybe more, I really can't say. It was followed by headache later that night."

(Email to Klaus Podoll, October 9-11, 2004)

Elna Gabriella Jönsson, Covered in bedclothes, 2004. © 2004 Elna Gabriella Jönsson (see here)

"Down under (sumatriptan-depleted)."

(From the artist's blog, September 4, 2004)

"During the 14th I had a pre-migraine depression, which was during the night followed by... migraine. Most of today I've spent in bed, trying to will the ache away so that I could get going with deadline work, but my migraine had a mind of its own (mine, incidentally). At about half past three in the afternoon I hauled myself off to the hospital and got a new prescription for sumatriptan (which I was out of). Of course, I was also lectured about not having got myself a family doctor since last time (why do they call it a family doctor when you live in a one person household? Me and my sister I? The doctors never offer to take a look at my cats, although I count them as my only household family members). But their telephone hours just never agree with me. And I don't have a proper phone either, just a cell phone. Oh well. After having been to the pharmacy I got home at about half past seven, went to bed and took my second pill at about a quarter past eight. Now I'm starting to feel like a person again. Slowly. But that Frankenstein analysis will just have to wait until tomorrow."

(From the artist's blog, September 14-15, 2004)

"I have taken a time-out the last days not to bore you with the same dirge: depression, migraine, migraine, depression."

(From the artist's blog, September 18, 2004)

"Red week = migraine week."

(From the artist's blog, September 30, 2004)

"I'd be delighted to let you use my images and texts... I also have two or three 'migraine poems' that are not yet up at my site, but will be so within the next week. If you'd like, I can send you the links when I update, and you can use them at your own discretion."

(Email to Klaus Podoll, October 9, 2004)

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