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.
Click to Buy at Amazon – paperback
Click here to buy for kindle
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?
I have been trying to understand my sensitivity to light and colour from many different angles (most of them scientific) but recently something has led me to think about it all from a more spiritual angle.
As I have been observing my colour sensitivity symptoms over the last 7 months I have noticed that they correlate with me seeing a predominance of one coloured light in the atmosphere. And also I seem to be experiencing symptoms in a specific area of my body – different for each coloured light. So . . . in the summer when the light felt more blue to me, the symptoms were around my head and chest. But if it got stormy and there was a lot of cloud I would see the light as yellow and my symptoms would drop lower in my body and affect my mood. I have continued to study my reaction to coloured light and these are my findings:-
Red Light – I feel this in my lower abdomen. It feels like intimacy and makes me feel stronger in my legs. I feel more secure and grounded.
Orange Light – I feel this in my upper abdomen. It feels like strength and causes me to be more outspoken but I can feel a bit separate from other people. I enjoy collaboration
Green Light – I feel this around my stomach. It feels like life but I need more time to digest the things of the day than usual.
Yellow Light – I feel this around my heart. It feels like warmth. I am more acepting of myself and others. I am more affectionate and like more affection. I can sometimes feel overly vulnerable.
Blue – I feel this around my chest and throat. It feels like independence of thought. I can feel very strong in my own ideas and find it easy to speak my truth. I can sometimes feel a bit lonely
Indigo – I feel this around my shoulders and neck . It feels like belief in the greater plan. I feel strong and resolute. I am looking for the light in the darkness. I can feel a bit overwhelmed by the work I have to do.
Violet – I feel this around my head. It feels like clarity of thought and I find it easier to let go to my intuition. I can be impatient and don’t have much time for anything that doesn’t feel really meaningful.
We all have our story to unfold. I just wanted to share my story. What is your story?
For me colours are changing all the time. Sometimes they have life and sometimes they don’t. And this is obviously a big problem at Christmas. This is my story this year . . .
I sorted through our Christmas decorations today and was shocked to realise that I struggle with the colour of most of them! With the orange light of this time of year, the reds all look funny to me and most of the golds look too orange and sort of heavy and dull. I always struggle with green so this year we are making a buff willow tree. I will post a picture if we ever get it together! I am keeping my shell decorations. I like the way the light shines through them. And I am keeping some baubles that are the right shade of gold and a bit glittery and to me have life in them. I’m keeping our buff coloured porcelain birds in hats and scarves that sit on the mantlepiece and I am keeping 2 white fluffy doves for our new willow tree! I am happy with my minimalist Christmas collection. I will be adding more things I truly love (and not just those I think I should like) over the years!!
My husband is amazed that I have never identified my problem with colour until now. To be honest, so am I! I have always wondered why I got so hot and stressed at Christmas when we decorated the house and opened the presents. I always couldn’t wait to clear all the boxes and wrapping away and then I tried to make sense of all the colour and clutter that was left behind. I would look at it and know that something was wrong but until this year I never knew what it was!
I am trying to learn all I can about my experience of colour and light.
Yesterday was a hot sunny day. My son who is 9 and also colour sensitive decided he wanted to go to the beach. I thought ‘Well, this is the first time we have been to the beach since I have started my investigation so it might be interesting!’
We arrived at the bustling seaside town of Lyme Regis (our nearest coastal town) and I had worn a fleece and a summer beany because I am always cold and feel shivery in the sun. As soon as I got out of the car I realised that in my effort to stay warm I had forgotten to bring a hat with a brim to shelter me from the sunlight so our first stop was the hat shop! From a small collection of hats on a stand outside a little seaside store I chose a hat. I wouldn’t usually choose anything so quickly but the light from the sun felt unbearable and the buzz on the prom and the nearby icecream store was beginning to jangle me. There was no mirror, it was slightly too large but my husband said it looked good and I had no intention of taking it off so we bought it!
Under the refuge of my hat I still needed to find shade so we went up into the park that rises steeply and looks out over the sea. It is a considerable slope and there were many steps to climb. My legs felt like lead. Strange – they were fine when I got up that morning. Ah, it must have been the light. When we reached our shady spot I felt relieved. I looked out over the bay and thought about the colours. The blue sky was ok to me through my sunglasses that have a brown tint. The sea I could tell was a gorgeous combination of blues and deep turquoises but my reaction did not match my perception. I felt unmoved by the colours. They were ok to me probably because of their luminescence – otherwise I may I felt repelled by them. I then thought about how I felt in other ways. I felt very ungrounded and pretty disconnected with myself and my family. I felt like everything was too big – the sea, the sky – and I asked myself the question ‘What am I doing here if it doesn’t make me happy?’
By this time I wanted to go home but my son reminded me that we had to go to the beach. Oh no, I looked down at the beach and all the buzz and colours and the walk in the bright sunlight to get there . . . and then I conceded that I would give it a try.
When we had climbed down the slope and reached the streets running adjacent to the beach I felt ok but when we arrived at the beach itself I was amazed to find that the sand looked glary to me – sandy coloured and glary! Why had I never noticed this before? So many times I haven’t been happy on a beach but I hadn’t realised that it was the colour. It looked miles down to the sea and the blue didn’t look so good now as it had looked from up high in our shady spot. How was I ever going to make it? I felt upset that I couldn’t bear to go to the sea with my son. And I didn’t want to wait while my husband took my son to the sea. Why would I? I was hot and shivery and all the colours were looking wrong to me. I didn’t feel safe to just be left by myself. The beach didn’t feel like a friendly local little beach. To me under the glare of the sunlight and with the subtle visual distortion I was experiencing it felt more like the Sahara Desert!
A Revelatory Moment!
What if had glasses to balance the colours? At the moment I feel that I am not picking up enough red and as red is a grounding colour I am not able to feel grounded. Colours that make me feel more expanded (blues and greens) look wrong because of the absence of red. Therefore I can’t enjoy feeling expansive either. Colours that make me feel safe – the earthy colours some way between grounded and expansive – yellows, browns and oranges – also look wrong because of the absence of red. So I feel I have no grounded place, no safe place and no exciting place to go. I am STUCK and all because of my perception of colour!
Is colour affecting your experience of enjoying the wonder of intimacy and the excitement of expansiveness? Maybe you are colour sensitive. If my article resonates with you please check out the following
~Blue blocking glasses if your symptoms are more pronounced in the summer and if blues and violets can seem too intense to you. You can buy these off the shelf at Amazon and other shops or opticians. Try different ones at different times and you may find they block out different percentages of blue and violet. I have 3 pairs.
~Turquoise glasses if your symptoms are more pronounced in the Autumn and reds and pinks can seem to intense to you. You can get these via Irlen or Colourimetry.