Spotlight on: Matt Clifton 💪 @mattclifff

“Hello everyone! My name is Matt and I’m working towards a Masters Degree in Economics. I firmly believe I had a mild case of VSS my entire life but medication made the symptoms worse. When I first discovered the visual snow phenomenon, I was devastated. Hearing how rare and unheard of something you have is really frightening. In fact, my doctor called the symptoms anxiety distractions and said to just focus on other things. I felt alone. The derealization was the worst part about it. I had to drop several courses because words on my laptop couldn’t seem to stay still.

I am a very skeptical person, yet I know that a normal life with VSS is so, so possible. VSS sufferers have so much hope! I have faith in modern innovation. In the meantime, I want to learn to live with it. I’m sorry if it changed your reality, it did for me too. I learned many valuable lessons from my hardships. I learned how fragile my brain/mind is and how much care and protection it needs. I also try to look at it as a unique perception of the world that others won’t have the opportunity to see. This outlook is the only option I have. If I stay miserable, the snow will still be there.

Today, I am happier prior to my diagnosis. I play guitar, chill, lift, listen to music, etc. I also take healthy risks that I wouldn’t have been willing to take. This might be our only life, but just remember that everyone has issues they keep behind closed doors. I also have tinnitus but it fades into the background relatively easily for the most part. I’m much less individualist as I was before and started feeling more empathy for others. I hope you all stay strong. Your future self will thank you.”

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“Ten years ago, in 2012, we presented work at a neurology meeting systematically describing why Visual Snow was not simply migraine aura and was a distinct disease entity. This was not received with universal acclaim, to say the least. In the intervening period, visual snow has come in from the medical ‘cold’ and is being studied actively by a number of groups on three continents. The recognition of the condition, broadening education, and funding research would not have happened were it not for the Visual Snow Initiative. I realize to the many with this often very disabling condition that it seems nothing has or is being done. Progress to treatment is never fast enough nor advances to recognition and understanding. With that said, visual snow research would be idling in a backwater where it not the Initiative. Going forward, we need to double, re-double, and re-double again our efforts for the search for effective treatments and, one day, a cure. Thank you for the Visual Snow Initiative for all you have done and continue to do.”

— Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, DSc, Professor of Neurology, UCLA, Awarded 2021 Brain Prize

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