Living In “A Quiet Place”
The film “A Quiet Place” revolves around a loving family who has learned to navigate a post-apocalyptic world in silence to avoid being killed. There is something terrifying out there that is keyed into every little noise so that even the smallest sound puts lives at risk. As I ruminated about this film in the days after seeing it, connections began to emerge for me between the movie and the reality of living with chronic migraine.
Migraines hate noise too
There are terrifying creatures in the movie who seem to hate noise. Whenever a sound arises, these creatures appear out of nowhere in an attempt to stamp it out, no matter the source. Migraines, if brought to life as monsters, would similarly hate noises, smells, lights, weather changes, hormones, stress, and more. Just like these creatures in the movie living in the shadows waiting for noise, it often feels that migraines are in the wings, waiting to react to one of many triggers.
Walking barefoot and stepping gingerly
In the movie, the family explores the world in bare feet to avoid making a sound. In the days following a bad migraine, I’ve literally found myself stepping gingerly, to avoid a heavy footstep reverberating and throbbing up into my skull. All of us who must navigate the world in the days following an intense migraine, must tiptoe through the world, hoping not to reawaken the attack. The movie captured this dynamic perfectly: a feeling of claustrophobia, trapped by the imposition of restrictions. Even if we might be able to avoid many, there are a number triggers that are out of our control. A change in the weather, a shift in hormones, no matter how careful we are, an attack can start all over again.
When coming off of an intense attack, we are forced to live in a quiet place. Our “quiet place” is likely also dark and odorless. All of us have experienced that terrible sense that any little movement, noise, stress, bright lights, or strong odor will cause the migraine monster to return and devour us.
The monster within
Unlike the movie, in which these creatures are out and about in the world, the migraine monster lives within us. It is an awful feeling to be carrying around something capable of causing such harm.
The wonder of this film is that it isn’t a classic horror film. The family is beautifully portrayed as a tight-knit, us-against-the-world crew fighting against all odds. This portrayal makes us love them and root for their survival. I’ve never cried before while watching a scary movie. When it comes to migraine, the quality of our lives is at stake. We simply want to live, untethered by pain or the fear of an always lurking migraine.
Do you ever feel as if you are living in a quiet place?