calling all people with chronic pain/invisible illness: the #spoonieselfie challenge

Stock headache photographers need to widen their scope.

Maybe some migraineurs or cluster headache sufferers look like perfectly made-up young women with perfectly symmetrical features and perfectly styled hair, holding their pore-less, freshly powdered faces while in the throes of pain, but I’m willing to bet it usually looks more like this:

 photo 1 (6)

or this

photo 5 (2)

or even this

photo 2 (8)

(Why would I eat the corn when I can smoosh it against my eyeball? It goes right through you anyway.)

In reality, pain is not always pretty. Bras are off, crying is on, and makeup and hairstyles go every which way. Features are crumpled, made-up yoga poses ensue, and there is usually a fair bit of snot, right?

Other times, we might look fine while feeling awful, and this can be confusing for the chronically well among us.

Here’s the challenge spoonies:

Help me set the record straight by submitting your most gorgeous and/or scrunched-up, messed up, real honest-to-God pain face to

Please include your name, condition(s), where you are from and your website if applicable. Also, if you like, include a little write up describing the pain you felt in that moment, and perhaps what coping strategies you were able to use.

If you are feeling really brave, post your selfie on twitter @brainstorm83 with the tag #spoonieselfie.

I want all bodies and experiences to be reflected in the images we are bombarded with daily. I hope this project will help to include people with chronic pain, making our worlds just a bit more visible.



  1. K Wilkinson · · Reply

    This is a great project – thx for doing it! Invisible illness is hard enough; ridiculous ads and the media make it even harder. I had a migraine last night at 3am. Another will come along shortly and I’ll try to remember to get a pick!

    1. Awesome! (That you want to participate, not that another migraine will come along shortly.) And yeah- ads for migraine meds and the like ARE ridiculous. Thanks K Wilkinson!

  2. […] any of this resonates with you or someone you know, why not check out the #spoonieselfie challenge at Brainstorm’s most excellent blog – I’ll be posting my picture […]

    1. Thanks for sharing! I’m eager to receive more pics via email ( Include your best description of the pain in that moment, and ways you cope! Thanks 🙂 🙂

  3. […] on social media with the above hashtag, and a linkback to Brainstorm’s original blogpost: When you are done, send your pictures to BrainStorm’s email ( so she post […]

  4. […] #spoonieselfie challenge continues. Please continue to boldly take your gorgeous and/or not-so-flattering selfies […]

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