Three more questions for Celia Svedim, psychologist and literary critic at Psykologtidningen, who wrote a book on migraines called The Dark Room.
How did you get the idea?
—I began signing attacks as a way of convincing myself that I still existed—and that I hadn’t become one with the darkened room into which migraines often forced me to retreat. I also had difficulty communicating with those around me, as there were very few words and expressions about pain.
You can try a variety of treatments in the book. Why did it take you, psychiatrist, so long to find effective psychological treatment?
– Since I’m trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, I know different ways of learning how to live with pain. Within psychodynamics, there was talk of physical pain therapy, which I was very suspicious of. It was hard to imagine that such a physical thing could be resolved psychologically. Additionally, there was resistance in me to exploring whether migraine could be psychologically conditioned, as if it would be less valid. Thirdly, the neurologist confirmed that migraine is a neurological disease, and not something else. Finally, after, among other things, interviewing the researcher and the psychiatrist Daniel MarottiAfter all, I was ready to give EAET and ISTDP a chance.
Are you still looking for new treatments?
– My migraines have improved significantly now. If I was offered to try a new treatment, I would definitely consider it. But my focus is no longer on finding new treatments.