Colour Sensitivity – This is Me!

This is me on 1st February this year on a trip to the seaside to play Crazy Golf. Because of my unusual way of processing the light, in February the only colours that resonate with my colour sensitive brain are pink, pinkish purple and pinkish red!

I usually really dislike photos of myself but not this one because this is Me!

Expression is a Joy When You Can Connect

My son and I experience the spectrum differently to most people which affects the way we connect.

From January to the end of March I am struggling to see and feel enough blue light. I find it hard to process my own thoughts and what other people are saying. My 12 year old son keeps talking to me about his programming projects but unless I really focus and try super hard to understand by asking questions, the information feels like a blur to me. It struggles to get into my brain!

Then suddenly at the end of March, it as if the fog lifts. I can see and hear more clearly. However, rather ironically, when I see enough blue, my son stops seeing it. I ‘see’ this as a strained vacant expression in his eyes. He also becomes less hands on with things and appears less connected in his feet. I know he wants to take an interest in other people but he really finds it impossible to listen to any of my ramblings or suggestions! He is better playing with his friends online where the fun, humour and creativity manage to jump the gap between his desire and ability to connect.

At first when my son starts to struggle to connect, I feel all sorts of feelings – annoyance, anger and disappointment. But when I ‘get’ it, I realise these feelings are misplaced. My son is already in pain – feeling the pain of struggling to connect. He doesn’t need me adding to that. I have to accept him as he is, be patient and wait to hear his bright voice and see his quirky smile again. This will only happen when the light is more favourable for him. And lets hope that by then, it hasn’t become less favourable for me!

Help! I Over-see Contrast!

I have been trying to get to the bottom of my issues with processing pattern for three years now. First I thought it was astigmatism, then I thought it was my binocolular vision. But something didn’t feel right about those ideas. It isn’t just lines or grids that I can’t process. It is the pattern of blades of grass and branches on a tree. Or looking at the shelf above our fireplace, the sharp edge of my desk, or the food on my plate.

Some days the problem is there and some days it isn’t. It all depends on my perception of the spectrum. If the spectrum feels more balanced, then pattern feels more integrated. If the spectrum feels unbalanced, then lines and patterns seem to stand out.

My experience of the spectrum is that if I perceive a little too less of one or more colours, then I have an unbalanced perception of colours around me. For instance, if I perceive a little too less red, then all colours will be affected and some of them , especially white, will lack warmth. A sky, for instance may appear more stark than it would do with more red light. This stark feeling is hard enough, but if I then look at a pattern of brown branches on a tree against the stark white, the contrast becomes too great and I feel disturbed by what I see.

My difficulty with pattern is more pronounced between the brighter months of February and October, although it drops off and things appear visually softer from around July. I can only describe the feeling like watching the television on a setting beyond high definition. It is not comfortable and confuses my brain.

If you relate to any of my experiences, I would love to hear your story.

Help! I Have No Colour Constancy!

Colour constancy is learnt when we see things again and again. If we see a red apple, our brain files that piece of of information. Next time we see a red apple, we recognise it. We don’t usually mind if it is a little more pink than the last one, or a little more crimson . We don’t usually mind if the light we are seeing the apple in, is a little more blue or a little more yellow. To most people, it is still a red apple because most people learn colour constancy.

But what happens if you don’t learn colour constancy? What happens if every time you look at an apple that someone else says is red, your brain challenges that suggestion. What if your brain says “Is that really red, or is that orange or even slightly green ?” What if your brain says “I know that apple is red but in that light it really looks yellow and in yesterday’s light, it looked orange.”?

Well, that wouldn’t be too bad if your brain was happy to just flick through all these colour possibilities, but it isn’t good if your brain just can’t process all the confusing information. And this is what it is like for me and my son. When we look at a colour, our brains tell us whether it does or doesn’t doesn’t match the light-waves. If there is red in a colour, but we don’t perceive enough red light, then our brain gets confused and we get all sorts of nervous system symptoms. These could be going hot or cold, getting a headache, a sore throat, feeling tight in our chest, getting indigestion or feeling knocked out of ourselves.

It is easy to think that these symptoms are just stress or some other health condition but we have tested this over and over again and they are always caused by the light.

Might you have symptoms you don’t understand? Could you have Atypical Spectral Sensitivity too?

We would love to hear your story.

I Don’t Get to Choose How I Connect Each Day

Having studied all the emotional psychological connections with what I feel in my body, that I can, plus all my reactions to the way I see the spectrum, I am now convinced that I don’t get to choose how I connect each day.

I thought I could heal and become all things I wanted – to be open- hearted, enjoy intimacy, give my gifts to world, have a strong powerful voice, follow my vision, be happy to be vulnerable, work with my cycles and rhythms and find where I belong.

And I have achieved all these things to a point. But it wasn’t the point I was dreaming of! I thought if I could become whole, I could just get on with things!

But wholeness isn’t all about me. I can’t be whole by myself. It isn’t possible. So God made me really sensitive to the light spectrum just to make sure I knew that!

But, ever ambitious, I have had a similar attitude with the light spectrum, almost expecting to be able to outsmart my reaction to it. After all, if I don’t perceive enough yellow light, then I just need to be a bit more open-hearted. If I don’t perceive enough green light, then I just need to ask for a bit more support.

But how far can this new insight take me, I wondered?

If I just open my heart, could I get on the next plane to the Middle East and help refugees?

If I just let in trillions of support, could I foster a houseful of children?

If I do everything I can to make myself feel really secure, could I jump out of a plane?

Aaaargghhh!! NO, I CAN’T

I can heal myself, which I have done, but now I have to be part of the world. I don’t perceive enough red light in February so I don’t even feel grounded enough to bake a batch of biscuits, let alone jump out of a plane! I can’t make myself feel grounded. I can only do things that help to give me a greater feeling of security.

I can’t make myself feel anything. I can only be open to feeling. I don’t get to choose how I can connect each day!

Light-watcher Story February 22nd – Not Enough Green Light!

I wake up every morning and sense in myself what is happening with my relationship with the light, and how it is likely to affect me that day.

I have made a discovery this year about the green light. I can often find green hard to look at, and so assumed I had a tendency to see too much green light. However, I have come to realise that sometimes I don’t see enough. Just now in February as the light is not at its brightest, and I perceive a lot of blue and violet light, I don’t see enough green.

As I feel green light in my shoulder, neck and jaw, seeing too little green light can leave me feeling pretty crabby! I feel that I can’t relax my neck and shoulders and I have pain under my occiput. And worse than that, my sensitivities are heightened through the roof. I particularly can’t tolerate the sound of the taps in our house and today listening to my husband take a shower, felt like torture. I tried putting music on, moving somewhere else in the house, but nothing worked. I felt the sound like a drill in my head, sending a jangled feeling all through my body.

Even writing this post, I feel jangled by the sound of my keys and the light from the screen.

The good thing is though that I know now that my most jangled days are when I see less green light. And knowledge is power.

The hard thing is asking for help on a day when I struggle to feel support. And my day feels all about survival. How do you live in a house where there are everyday noises when you feel so sensitive?

I don’t like dragging people down into my problems. I like my family to be happy and to have a calm home. But on days when my sensitivities are extreme, the most I can hope for is that we support each other and help each other through our feelings of helplessness.

It is not my sensitivities that nearly break me on the low green light days. It is having to let go of my pride and my need to make everything OK and everyone happy all the time. I have to feel enough in my broken state.

Anxiety – Does it all Really Come from Within?

If you had asked me the question – “Does all anxiety come from within?” a few years ago I would have said “Yes” without hesitation. And as a result of thinking this, I have had a lot of therapy and worked long and hard with my self development, expecting to resolve my insecure anxious feelings and thoughts.

A Story

Today I woke up feeling bright and breezy and decided it would be a good day to go with my family to a small seaside town and play mini-golf. Now, for our complicated family, it is amazing to just get out of the door, let alone make it down to the beach and participate in an activity! But I felt the light was good, my energy felt good and it was worth giving it a try.

As soon as I decided to go out, I felt my anxiety levels raise. I started thinking about all the things we needed – rucksacks, juice, chocolate, tissues, paracetemol . . .! I then told myself that this was just like any trip for us. We would take the same things for an appointment at the hairdressers! So I relaxed a bit. But I noticed I still didn’t feel as grounded as I had felt when I first got up. My legs were a bit achy and physical tasks like carrying things around the house were starting to feel difficult. I then realised the light had changed – I was perceiving less red light than when I first woke up. I wondered if I still really felt like going out. But of course, with a 12 year old who is excited about the prospect of mini-golf by the seaside, you don’t really get a choice. With the suggestion comes a commitment!

So . . I committed and off we went! When we arrived, I felt the same as I had done at home – happy, pleased to be alive but ungrounded. How does this feel? Well . . it feels like my legs aren’t as substantial as the rest of me. This feeling used to make me feel insecure but it doesn’t any more because I recognise it and understand it. At the seaside today, I knew I was safe and all was well and it was this knowing that I depended on. The real give away with how my perception of the light affected me, was just how much my legs ached when I had to climb lots of steps to get to the golf course. I felt as if I had run a marathon in the last 3 days, it was so painful. Also, when the energy is low in my legs, I have a tendency to pull muscles in my knees so I have to be super careful how I I use my legs and the rest of my body.

At the mini-golf I felt just OK. When you don’t feel grounded, it is harder to feel more than OK sometimes. it takes a distraction like seeing an amazing gull or getting a hole in one to feel more than OK. This feeling of just being OK can raise the alarm that something isn’t right but I am used to the feeling now and just stay calm and go with it. As I say, I know I am safe and that all is well.

My son, who is 12, has a similar experience to me. As he is a child and not always thinking rationally, small things can knock him off balance emotionally, and have massive impact on him physically. After the game of golf, we decided to go to the fish shop which was at the bottom of a very steep hill. I could see the pain on my son’s face as he walked down the hill, and the fear in his eyes that he might not make it back to the car. I remember this feeling so well from when I was a child. I would sometimes feel that I could not walk another step. But there is nothing wrong with our legs. Having rested a little on the drive home, my son got out the car and ran to check on his pet doves. I just got on with life as normal.

Not being grounded and having low energy in our legs does affect our daily life but it affects us much more when we try to go out and have some fun!

Anxiety definitely doesn’t always come from within. Sometimes we don’t know what is affecting us. We just know we don’t feel right. If that is how you feel, maybe it is time you start examining your relationship with the light!