Life With Synesthesia
When I’m talking to you in person, about eighty-five percent of the time, I see the words I’m saying typed out in front of me. In my mind. Kind of like closed captioning, if you can imagine it. It’s almost like an invisible screen is in front of my regular scope of vision. It’s like I’m constantly viewing a karaoke scene. Certain words are in a different font, and some are always in the same color.
That’s weird, right? I’d say the majority of you reading this right now can’t identify with that, but it’s okay! Growing up with a lot of weird stuff like tics, OCD rituals, and seeing words in front of me as I speak made it difficult for me to love myself. I had a hard time feeling like I was as cool as other people at my school, and lots of things didn’t even have labels or explanations till I was an adult. These days, my quirks make me love myself more, not fear that it will hinder leading a fabulous life in some way.
Synesthesia is a condition where some of your senses basically link up, joining your perceptions. Sometimes two or more senses occur simultaneously, and sometimes letters, numbers, or names get paired with colors, scents, or flavors. You know when you hear people talking about acid trips where they say they could “smell colors”? It’s similar, just in every day life! And it’s a part of my every day life.
My visual senses are heightened in general because of synesthesia, and it links over to my sense of sound most of the time. Concerts, especially ones with light shows, become incredibly overwhelming to me. Certain sounds are associated with colors, as well as physical feelings. I get a dark navy blue color when I listen to any jazz music, and hearing a symphony of violins feels like someone is softly stroking their fingers down my forearm. There are many different types of synesthesia, and ones I experience are Grapheme-Color, Chromesthesia, Auditory-Tactile.
I also have some psychic abilities like clairvoyancy and claircognizance, which should probably be a post of its own, but having all these things in my head does make it difficult to draw a line and distinguish what sensory experience comes from which condition inside myself. For a while, I didn’t have names for any of it, and it was actually easier because I didn’t have to label anything or talk about it with anyone, I just kept it all to myself. Now I feel the need to understand the root of each experience, and I don’t always get a clear answer. I learn more every day, though.
For example, I can see auras, and my close friends are all associated with a certain color in my mind. Some of them match their auras, but lots of them don’t. What creates this distinction? I have no idea.
As far as I know, science doesn’t know terribly much about synesthesia. They think it might be caused by some “cross-wiring” in the brain, but don’t really know what what parts of the brain. It’s not exactly something that can be officially diagnosed, either. Women are much more likely to have it, but they don’t know why. It always seems like the things I’m diagnosed with have very little research or understanding in the medical community. I wonder if that theme means anything!
Anyway, I just wanted to share that part of my life with you today. I experience colors very vividly, so now you might have a little more insight as to why I’m so obsessed with it! It’s important to accept all parts of yourself, even the not-so-common ones, and sometimes sharing your experience make it easier to accept them!
Do you have synesthesia or know someone who does? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
If you think you might have it, there’s a few questions you can answer here that might give you a better idea!