If you think aura is just seeing funny stuff – think again…..

The aura is the complex of neurological or neuropsychological symptoms. It is the second stage of a migraine attack. However, not all migraine sufferers experience aura.

Aura can be broken down into 4 groups:

1 Sensory disturbances
2 Motor disturbances
3 Verbal disturbances
4 Visual disturbances
1 Sensory

Somatosensory symptoms

Numbness, prickling sensations, things crawling on you – these are often just one sided.

Body image disturbances
Macro and microsomatognosia (feeling larger or smaller, known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome), facial metamorphosis, out-of-body experiences and felt presences.

Near-death experiences
A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light.

This is a malfunction or anomaly of the individuals self-awareness. It is a feeling of watching oneself act, while having no control over a situation. Sufferers feel they have changed, and the world has become less real, vague, dreamlike, or lacking in significance. It can be a disturbing experience, since many feel that, indeed, they are living in a “dream”.

This is where you feel separated from the outside world, such as a sensory fog, a pane of glass, or a veil. Individuals may complain that what they see lacks vividness and emotional coloring. Emotional response to visual recognition of loved ones may be significantly reduced. Feelings of déjà vu or jamais vu are common. Familiar places may look alien, bizarre, and surreal.

Auditory symptoms
Problems with hearing – This can include tinnitus (buzzing sounds, ringing in ears) mild hearing loss, difficulty understand speech

Gustatory symptoms
This is illusions or hallucinations of taste.

Olfactory symptoms
Hallucinations of odours and smells not actually present.

Déjà vu – the experience of feeling sure that you have already witnessed or experienced a current situation.

Jamais vu – a sense of eeriness, you get the impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before.

Forced reminiscence
Uprush of long-forgotten memories or dreams – dream-like state

Dreaming disturbance
Unusual powerful, vivid or weird dreams, nightmares, recurring dreams and other migraine aura symptoms experienced whilst dreaming.

from the ancient Greek σύν (syn), “together,” and αἴσθησις (aisthēsis), “sensation,” is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported. One common form is known as grapheme – colour synesthesia – letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colour. In another form numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. Or visual motion → sound synesthesia, involves hearing sounds in response to visual motion and flicker.

Time perception disturbances
“time flys abnormally fast” — opposite of marijuana’s affect on sense of time.
2 Motor

  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Painless sensation [tactile hallucination] of coldness
  • Tactile hallucinations of movement
  • Impaired coordination
  • Involuntary movements

3 Verbal disturbances

Dysphasic aura
Speech and/or language symptoms:

  • Stuttering
  • Involuntary vocalisations
  • Paralysis of speech muscles
  • Global aphasia – Language disorder involving severe impairments in both comprehension and production.
  • Anomic aphasia – ‘loss of a word’ often the sufferer knowns the word and may even be able to see it – but can not actually say it.
  • Reading disturbances
  • – Writing disturbances

4 Visual disturbances

Visual aura is the most common of auras. A visual aura is like an electrical or chemical wave that moves across the visual cortex of your brain. It is possible to see this via a MRI. As the activation spreads during an aura, a person loses normal visual function.

The best known visual aura is called a fortification spectrum because its pattern resembles the walls of a medieval fort. It may start as a small hole of light or sometimes as bright geometrical lines and shapes in your visual field.This visual aura may expand into a sickle- or C-shaped object, with zigzag lines on the leading edge.

Illusion of apparent movement of stationary objects

Cinematographic vision
Visual illusion whereby the normal perception of moving objects is replaced by seeing a series of “stills” as in a film run too slowly

Corona phenomenon
Light or colour round an object.

Commonly known as double vision, it is the perception of two images of a single object beginning seen at the same time.

Visual illusions involving an alteration in the size or separation of visual objects.

  • Macropsia – objects are perceived larger than normal, causing you to feel smaller.
  • Micropsia – objects are perceived to be smaller than they actually are, causing you to feel larger.
  • Pelopsia – objects appear nearer than they actually are.
  • Teleopsia – objects appear much further away than they actually are.

Illusory visual splitting, tilted vision, inverted vision
Illusions whereby the entire visual environment or objects are rotated by less than 90°, by 90° or by 180°, respectively, so that the visual targets appear tilted, turned to a right angle or turned upside down.

Where objects appear to be distorted

Mosaic illusion
Fracture of the visual image into pieces dovetailed together as in a mosaic

Polyopia /Palinopsia
Vision of multiple images. (Greek: palin for “again” and opsia for “seeing”) is a visual disturbance that causes images to persist to some extent even after their corresponding stimulus has left. These images are known as afterimages and occur in persons with normal vision.

Visual loss
Also known as scotoma, this can range from partial lost to complete loss.

Visual hallucinations

  • Random form dimension
  • Line form dimension
  • Curve form dimension
  • Web form dimension
  • Lattice form dimension
  • Tunnel form dimension
  • Spiral form dimension
  • Kaleidoscope form dimension
  • Floaters
  • Soft focus
  • Snow

9 thoughts on “If you think aura is just seeing funny stuff – think again…..

  1. Thank you for posting this Tee. I have a lot of aura symptoms; more than I knew until I read this. My doctors tend to blame many of my aura symptoms on Topamax, but now I see that I have other symptoms that I never attributed to the migraines. I really appreciate your efforts to inform us. Thanks!!!

  2. Hi I have suffered with migraines for years now although only got a proper diagnosis 5years ago because of how weird they were. I only get them once a month but the symptoms can last upto 2weeks n I have suffer from severe exhaustion for a week before I get one so it pretty much rules quite alot of my life. when I get a migraine its like the whole world has changed and looks so different. I dont know where I am n dnt regognise people, I actualy asked my husband if he was that famous guy off the tv.lol. Scary stuff!

    1. The first few migraines can be a very scary experience…. I get the aura depersonzlized which always makes the world seem a very odd surreal place…… also have a look at Alice in Wonderland syndrome – that can make the world look very different……..

  3. I just awoke about 25 minutes ago with my infamous morning headache (note sleep studies etc have been done; no apnea or night terrors) AND although usually I dont dream or recall dreaming as it is shown I skip REM, I did have a “dream” partial and clear in memory. So clear even with my pain after taking medicine I used the voice command on my smart phone to search the what I would call phenomen. You see I think my headache which surely had I not awoke would have been migraine (lifelong and genetic hx of) may actually have began out of actual life struggles as time and place/people changed but then I was in a store which seemed disheveled, a associate was looking for a tupperware lid to fit my container and I felt a tap pn my shoulder. I turned to see two young women one blonde one with raven hair. The raven faded away and the blonde kept insisting i “read her, look in my eyes and read me” she had one crystal-like blue eye and one dark” I recall seeing mass confusion, scenes of sorrow, shame, control, just plain fn weird. I heard “you are a seer, certain prople know what you can do” Then i was standing next to a black elderly couple and the man asked what did you see. I believe i tried to explain but the woman said “what do you see coming from him child?” I recall him opening his mouth as if to sing but there were no sounds, just lights that formed words teaveling through the air and skies in the form of words. Bright psychedelic iranges, yellows and blues. Jaw dropping and breath taking and I called out every word I saw “you must believe what you see, the power to control is in your sight, dream, do not fear, beauty (and so on). Im replying to your blog because NEVER EVER HAVE I HAD AN AURA OR DREAM such as this. My auras are usually visual pain, i.e. photophobia to light, auditory and olfactory auras often with sweat. Has ANYONE EVER HAD A DREAM AURA LIKE THIS migraine sufferer or not? I certainly hope someone really replies because it was like nothing i recall having in 42 years of migraine (though i do often see what many may call Armageddon in dreams).

    1. Gosh you poor thing – I have not heard to aura in dreams before – although migraine coming out of sleep or during sleep is quite common – too much sleep, lack of sleep, sleep positions, even the pillow you use can all trigger one……. I have once had a weird experience similar to what you describe when I was in and out of sleep and seeing aura at the same time – it was very confusing and I just put it down yet another aura……

  4. I have a theory and possible treatment on the deja vu trigger of migraine. Evolutionarily we would normally see and experience a variety of situations.If life is extremely predictable it may be extremely worrying to the brain. It may go into a kind of fit. The answer I believe is to add variety to life by doing activities and visiting new places. This removes the sense of tedium and prevents deja vu hence preventing migraine attacks.

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