A Guitar Loop – Face the Blue Light Blues!

I can see too much red in the autumn and winter and too much blue in the middle of summer. Spring is only time when I feel I might be seeing the right amount of blue for my brain to be able to relax.

When I see the blue light of spring though, the light is starting to get brighter and my first instinct is to hide myself away. I think I can’t ‘do’ the brightness. But the brightness knocks away on the door of my heart asking to come in. I know really that this particular blue light of spring has enormous energy and power contained in it for me. I feel if I don’t do my best to harness it I might go crazy!

I hope you enjoy my loop. The pictures that I have chosen take you on little journeys we have been on as a family in our endeavour to face the blue light!

 

Autism Mis-diagnosed – Could it be Colour Sensitivity?

snow owl

My son is 11 and has a lot of sensory processing issues, his most challenging ones being visual and sound.  When we go to see doctors, paediatricians and occupational therapists no-one knows how to help us. They don’t seem to have seen this type of sensitivity before (especially the visual processing) and they don’t seem to have seen sensitivity outside of autism.

So . . . where do they refer us? Autism testing.

I told my son about the assessment and he was quite indignant that he didn’t want to be mis-diagnosed as having autism and so he he wrote a letter to the doctor.

Dear Dr,

I am Luca and I am 11. I have an appointment to come and see you and Mum and Dad say it is about behaviour and autism.

I don’t think it will help me to come to be assessed because I think lots of people are being mis-diagnosed with autism when really they are colour sensitive.

I am sensitive to colour and pattern. I see colour and pattern different to other people. And it makes my brain do funny things. I can’t think very straight when I am in a room of a particular colour. And when people show me things on paper or on the screen I might not be able to process them. Or when people ask me questions I might not feel well enough or have enough energy to answer them. I don’t even like looking at people’s faces much or do eye contact because of the colour and patterns on people’s faces.

When I am in a room of the right colour which is really a type of white, I can concentrate much better but I might still struggle if the light outside doesn’t feel right for me or if it is sunny or if there is a blue sky.

When I go for appointments to see doctors I feel like I can’t really be me. My Mum has to speak for me and I feel trapped by the colours in the room and on people’s clothes. I can’t really show people who I am.

I don’t really mind being assessed for behaviour things or autism but I am not happy to be assessed in a place that is not right for me and then get mis-diagnosed. I feel at my best in December when the light is dim, after dark and in my house which is all neutral colours and patterns.

My Mum helped me write this letter because of my processing problem.

I hope you understand and take me seriously,

Luca

 

Colour Sensitivity – Me and My White Kitchen!

Luca Cooking

We have lived in our house for 20 years and in that time we have never had a new kitchen. Our kitchen was a sort of yellowy cream yellowing with age with wood trim, slightly pinky walls and a very geometric patterned floor in reds and browns. I know – it doesn’t sound to good does it?! But you just get used to these things.

When I tried to cook in our kitchen I felt a strange sensation in my legs, a bit like I was being pulled down into a swamp.  And I would feel less and less energy in myself until I would feel like screaming and giving up. Often I wouldn’t finish cooking a meal. My husband would have to come and rescue me! And then I would get very cross if people weren’t appreciative of my efforts because I had suffered so much to do it.

Now I know – I was feeling a sensitivity to the geometric pattern on the floor and the dark brown colour of our gas hob.

When I tried to wash up in our kitchen I would feel a jangly sensation in my body. I would also go very hot, would feel achy and my face would always itch. I tried using washing up liquid without perfume but it didn’t help.

Now I know – I was sensitive to the grey colour of the stainless steel sink and also to the finish of the stainless steel itself. When light falls on stainless steel especially brushed steel it moves in a certain way creating rings and lines that were giving me a feeling of unease.

When I tried to eat in our kitchen I couldn’t taste my food. I would keep saying to my baker husband “Are you sure you put salt in the bread?” because I just couldn’t taste it. I would choose sweet things sometimes just because I could taste them better.

Now I know – Firstly I was sensitive to the blue light in our fridge so even looking for food in the fridge made me feel unwell and much colder than would be normal for a person to feel with the fridge open. Next I was sensitive to the appearance of the colours of some of the packaging under the poor lighting of our kitchen. Next I was sensitive to the orange pine colour of our kitchen table. And finally I was sensitive to the green rim of our Denby pottery plates. No wonder I couldn’t taste my food!

Solution

We finally have our new kitchen. It is not all clinical white as that would be too cold and not good for us at all. We have light ivory cupboard doors that have a certain warmth. We have surf white work surfaces which make every coloured package on the top appear more to their true colour. We have a white composite sink and white tap. We have a white glass splashback and upstand and a white glass hob and white oven.  All the whites are slightly different – a little blue, a little green here and there – but I like this. Our floor will be a polished concrete effect vinyl and our walls F & B All White paint. Our lights are all dimmable.

Yes, it does look cool (!) but more importantly it feels amazing. I fully interact with the kitchen, happily going in the cupboards and drawers, using the sink and the hob etc. Whereas my kitchen used to repel me, now it it draws me in and hugs me. I feel very alive and I tend to do things more slowly than I used to as this feeling of calm overtakes me. I no longer rush to get out of my kitchen. I relish the time I spend in there and look forward to it taking me on many happy cooking journeys.

My son (11) who takes sensitivity to a whole new level and literally would spend no time in our kitchen and not even eat with us now goes in there and dances around happily wanting to learn to cook and do everything himself. It is the most amazing thing to see.

So . . . how do you feel in your kitchen? Is it helping you to nourish yourself or hampering you?

To read more about mine and my son’s experiences of colour sensitivity please see my book:-

I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair – The Relationship Between Sensory Processing Difficulties and Colour Sensitivity

 

 

 

 

Colour Sensitivity – What Does it Feel Like?

blue sky

Colour Sensitivity feels like being a human spectrometer! I pick up every change in the colour, quality and feel of light.

I am not colour blind and I do see colour very clearly but it just changes a lot.

On a November day I may be driving and suddenly notice the sky appears quite turquoise and the grass appears quite bluey green. The seagulls appear whiter than last time I looked and the cattle more reddy brown. I feel as if I am driving though a painting.

My Explanation

Typically in November the red light in the atmosphere is starting to increase. This is fact. So why is the sky turquoise? Because I am seeing less yellow light and so my sky is made up of red, orange, blue, violet and green. The seagulls appear more white and the cattle more reddy brown because I am not picking up yellow. Why am I seeing less yellow light? At certain times of the year when the light is dim compared to mid summer I seem to see from either end of spectrum, picking up more of the blues, indigos and violets from one end and more reds, oranges and greens from the other end.  Yellow appears to be low sometimes.

However . . . just a month previously yellow was bouncing off the walls. I couldn’t bear to go to Bradfords (a local Building Suppliers) because all the yellow lines on the car-park jumped out at me. Why was this? Because the light was that bit brighter (being earlier in the year) and so I was still picking up yellow. But now I wasn’t picking up enough red (as this increases later in the year)  and lacking red makes yellow far too bright for my brain.

And in the Spring, I go through the same pattern in reverse. In February I lack yellow and in March it jumps off the walls again!

Then as the light gets even brighter the colours balance themselves until mid summer when I really start to lack red and feel that I see too much blue. Again it is fact that there are more shorter lightwaves (blue and violet) in the atmosphere in the summer and less longer ones (red and orange). Colours appear drained and/or strange. I can sit in Waitrose car-park and think “Did people really choose these paint colour for their cars?!”

So . . . too much yellow, not enough yellow, not enough red, too much blue. . . This is my daily experience. No colours are constant. Even the grass changes its colour on a daily basis.

The best I can do is live with the change and embrace it. I don’t focus on colours I don’t like or that feel uncomfortable to me. I focus on the ones that make me feel good.

If you would like to know more about my experience of colour sensitivity please check out my book:-

‘I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair!’

 

 

Colour Sensitivity – Christmas Day Cloud Therapy!

IMG_0664

Why did the light change yesterday?!

I have been sailing on through November and December thinking the light is good. I have been able to project manage our home improvements. I have even been able to sort CD’s and books and tolerate the constant chaos of stuff around us.

Then yesterday . . . my mood suddenly changed. And it wasn’t because it was Christmas Eve! I looked around me and realised I wasn’t seeing so much yellow but was seeing more orange in the light.  This usually makes me feel a bit downhearted. I was gutted, realising that is would likely be another struggle of a Christmas Day.

And here we are  . . Christmas Day . . . and lot of black cloud!!  And grumpy wife and mum.

What can I do to cheer myself? 

Sit in the only light there is and do my jigsaw puzzle that is full of whites and neutrals. This is the best Christmas Day Cloud Therapy there is!

Colour Sensitivity – Yellow for the Heart and Green for Good Digestion!

beach

Our home improvements continue . . . the aim being more about feeling better than the house looking better . . . but I am open to both!

My last post was about the wonder of our white walls and how they help me to think clearly and feel brighter.

Well, today, our carpet arrived and the sudden new colour had quite a surprising reaction from me. To describe it . . . it is a sort of beige with a white speck like a highlight . . not an unusual colour for a carpet at all. It was my son who chose the colour. I would have had something a little more gold with a little more red in it. But no . . my son didn’t want to see any red. It had to be this carpet.

When I first went into our sitting-room I noticed the texture and the colour both at once and I felt like I was at the beach! I decided to be open-minded and realised the beach feeling was OK. I somehow felt lighter yet grounded at the same time. Our last carpet was a dark browny red and I realised it had made me feel stodgy and overly grounded. It has contributed to feeling that I work so hard but never get quite to where I want to go. I am staying earth-borne when I want to be air-borne. With out new carpet i feel like I might be able to fly after all!

The other noticeable thing was that I felt initially that the beige took something away from my snow-cave white walls. I felt as if any yellow or green was not allowed in our room. But when I checked out my samples for the slightly goldy beige curtains and settees I could see that yellow and green had something to say to me. They were telling me that I need them. I have noticed over the days of living in my snow cave that although enjoying being so clear thinking I felt a little emotionally detached. Seeing the extra colours come into the room I feel more in my heart and it feels right.

I really struggle with the medium frequencies of orange, yellow and green. They can appear off balance, too bright, too dull, as the season pass by. But I still need them and maybe I can take them in through other colours like beige and gold and this becomes easier within the context of my white snow cave!

If you would like to know more about my experience of colour sensitivity and how to help yourself feel better by gaining a greater understanding of your relationship with colour you might like to have a look at my book.

cover

Buy at Amazon

 

 

 

Colour Sensitivity – Jigsaw Puzzles for Tetrachromats?

IMG_0604

Firstly I don’t do know if I am a tetrachromat or not but I certainly see a lot of colours!

And there is something about doing a jigsaw puzzle with snow that really gets me going! I love working with the different shades of white. I can’t do the puzzle on a cloudy day – when I can’t pick up all the light frequencies – only a day when there is enough blue and violet light around to make the whites ‘sing’.

Colour Sensitivity – Late Autumn – All Laid Bare!

tree laid bare

Hi,

I haven’t blogged much this year as life has been so crazy that I just didn’t know where to start!

In the last year and a half my life has been turned upside down and it all started when I realised I have a very strange experience of seeing colour and seasonal light change.  And just to make things a whole lot more complicated my son, who is 11,  has something similar but even more extreme!

Essentially we don’t seem to be seeing a balanced spectrum and when we don’t see a particular frequency well we can’t enjoy looking at a colour that has that frequency in it. For instance we have blue curtains in our lounge and they look OK to me in the summer when I can see clearly blue and green in the light. However in the winter I see less blue and so they appear more green. This imbalance sets off all sorts of nervous system symptoms that I am just not in control of.

The more I have unraveled this conundrum the more amazed and scared I have been. How do I live in the world when I can’t always engage with colour? ‘I must find solutions’ has been my constant thinking. I can dress according to the light and eat food according to the light. This has helped a lot. Then I have sorted out cupboards and drawers and nearly exhausted Ikea’s supply of Sockerbit white boxes! If I can’t see it, my heart can’t grieve over it! And finally we are neutralising our house and not leaving one stone unturned. I am even replacing 32 sockets (well, someone is!) with sockets that have no red on the switches. Our home isn’t going to be bland though. I still need the colours of wood and a few paintings but I need a lot of white – as long as it is the right white – and I can’t see blue, green or grey in it and my son can’t see red in it!

We don’t yet know how all of this will change our lives but every time something dark leaves our house and this week it was fourteen 60’s brown doors (!) I see my son look a little lighter and I feel a little lighter too. I used to find solace in a lot of colour and pattern. I thought I found it comforting but how wrong was I?

Comfort comes from being in the ‘right’ place with the ‘right’ things and the ‘right’ people. Transforming our home is going to be a big change but I think I am happy to relinquish the clutter and be laid bare!

New Book on Colour Sensitivity “I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair!”

Hi everyone,

I have been investigating the relationship between light/colour sensitivity and sensory processing disorder.

My son and I both have an usual experience of seeing the coloured light waves in the atmosphere and we both have sensory processing disorder.  The way we see light affects our perception of colour and can give us multiple nervous system symptoms. By understanding what we see we are able to minimise unpleasant symptoms and better enjoy our relationship with light.

I have put all our experiences and insights into my new book ” I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair!” I hope you find it helpful.

Red Chair Image

Click to Buy at Amazon – paperback 

Click here to buy for kindle

 

Irlen Syndrome – Too Sensitive to Tint

hiding from glare

How can you be tested to find the right coloured tints for yourself when you have an extreme sensitivity to colour? 

When I was tested by an Irlen diagnostician I had quite an extreme reaction to most of the lenses. Just picking them up in my hands I would feel a change in my nervous system. This could be anything from a knot in my gut to tightness in my arms.

My Irlen Story

In my first diagnostic I felt really fortunate to find one pair of lenses that I didn’t react to – more than that, they felt pretty good – so I purchased them.  I waited 2 weeks for my lenses and when they arrived they still felt good.

A month passed and my glasses started not feel so good . It felt like the light had changed as it was later in the summer now so I went through the process again. And like the last time,  I found one pair of tints that worked for me with the light. 4 months later they didn’t feel so good. We were well into the light of Autumn. I found myself going through the process again. And true to form I found one pair of tints that worked.

So . . . now I had 3 pairs of glasses and I decided to record the days when I could wear them. After charting for a while I was disappointed to see that there were lots of days when they didn’t feel right. It felt as if there was some sort of interference but I didn’t know what.

A Surprising Solution

After a winter of no glasses we arrived in spring and the days started to get brighter. I felt quite defeated,  I started to talk about the blue light and how it was bothering me. This was when my husband suggested I get some glasses to block the blue light. I went on Amazon and looked at the array of blue blocking glasses. I thought ‘How would these ever work with me as I am so super sensitive?’ I chose a random pair in a random style somewhat half-heartedly. They arrived the next day and I was really scared to try them knowing how bad it can feel if I wear the wrong Irlen glasses. but nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I dared to put them on. I was pretty amazed that I actually wanted to keep them on! Things looked very clear and I felt more alive somehow like I was suddenly watching TV in high definition.

I now have 3 pairs of blue blocking glasses – one for more violet days, one for more blue days and one for warmer dimmer lights.  They all eliminate all of the unpleasant symptoms that I have been suffering with for many years. They are all just glasses that I bought off the shelf that I tried and tested myself.

What I have learnt

Whereas the Irlen glasses seemed to warm things up and bring out the reds, the blocking glasses  block the blues. This eliminates my unpleasant symptoms and allows me to take in all the red I need. From my experience I am deducing that I naturally see too much blue and violet. This can happen at any time of the year. Irlen glassses only work occasionally as I am just too sensitive to the changing lightwaves. Blue blockers work in the spring sometimes and are amazing in the snow!

Are you too sensitive to tint?