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!

How Does it Feel to Have Atypical Spectral Sensitivity?

A person with atypical spectral sensitivity is aware of both their reaction to their visual and non-visual photoreceptors, and highly sensitive to their brain’s interpretation of what they see and feel. They detect the slight rise in red light in autumn, the lowering of blue light in the winter, the change between predominance of red and blue light in the spring, and the lack of red light in the summer. They feel the harmony of colour combinations all around them as soothing, or the discord of colour combinations as jarring, to their systems. They detect the slightest change in luminance, changing all the colours they see and the way they interact with each other, constantly, throughout the day and seasons. They have an extreme experience of contrast. experiencing a dance between colours becoming subtly darker and lighter, altering the way they see and feel line, shape and pattern.

Read more . .

Living by the Colours I See in the Light: The Joys and Challenges of Having Atypical Spectral Sensitivity

The Light Can be Kind, The Light Can Give, The Light Can Take Away!

I was wondering today why our 12 year old son, who has atypical spectral sensitivity, comes to life after dark but only in the middle of June and October to December! Why doesn’t he come to life after dark at other times of the year? I have been so puzzled because after all, even being colour sensitive, in the darkness, colour should no longer be an issue.

Of course, I have realised today, it is because the light has given to him or been kind to him on those days. In June, even though the light is very bright, it feels more balanced to my son and so he has a better day. He feels good and can enjoy doing more things that he is passionate about. The brightness and balance somehow inspires and energises him. So by the evening his energy is actually in credit. He has extra energy to enjoy.

In the winter, the light may not be giving so much but it feels kinder to my son. In the dimmer light, the feeling of imbalance no longer rattles him in every cell of his body, like it does at other times of the year. So by the evening he is keen to find his torch and go walking in the fields in the dark. Or he is up for a badger hunt! Or he wants to go on a late evening picnic! On these sorts of evenings we see our son as he really is – confident, chatty, energetic and full of humour. He suddenly relaxes in the kindness of the light.

How is the light treating you today? Is it being kind, giving or is it taking away?

Being Highly Sensitive – Our Only Constancy is Rhythm and Pattern

I don’t have colour constancy so my brain is always trying to decide what colour something is. Are my pink trousers really pink today or are they red or are they orange? They haven’t changed much from yesterday but there is some subtle change to the hue which alerts my brain that I am now seeing a different colour.

I don’t have sound constancy so my brain is always trying to decide what sound something it. My heater is clicking in the corner of my room. Is it the same click as yesterday? Or is it slightly brighter, duller, louder, quieter? Again, not much change from yesterday but my brain still has this insatiable curiosity about the quality of sound.

I don’t have touch constancy so my brain is always trying to decide how something feels. Every day I touch the cushions on my settee and my brain wonders if they feel the same as yesterday. Are they a little softer, a little too soft, a little harsher? Again not much change from yesterday but my brain cannot help itself but ask the questions.

And then there is smell. Do the chips cooking smell the same as yesterday? And taste? Do my chips taste the same as yesterday? Yes, my brain will not be happy if it hasn’t considered these things.

Exhausting – you must think! Well, yes it is! But I have a solution.

I need to work out what the pattern is. How does my cushion feel in January, February, March . . . ? What does the kitchen tap sound like and how does it make me feel in January, February, March . . . ? What colour is my strawberry jam in January, February, March . . .?

Then when that time of year comes round again, I won’t be shocked. I will be expecting each variation of the stimuli as I move through the year. Constancy, any way you can get it, is comforting. Lack of constancy is disturbing and makes us feel insecure.

I don’t have constancy for any of my sensitivities so the only thing constant in my life is rhythm and pattern.

My Power Comes from Imbalance, not Balance!

I wanted to be balanced – I really did – but that is not my destiny.

I live in a nearly continuous state of imbalance because of my reaction to the light spectrum. In fact, if the light ever feels balanced, I feel quite lost and don’t know what to do with myself!

Today for instance – another cloudy rainy day in the UK. Thankfully I perceive enough yellow light to feel open hearted. However, I don’t feel grounded (low red light), I struggle to feel I belong (low orange light), I struggle to feel support (low green light), and struggle to feel part of a team (low blue light). I always have my friend, the violet light, though, energising, inspiring and pushing me on to higher and greater things.

I can do much with my perception of yellow and violet light. I can get to the heart of things and put on my analytical creative hat. I can work with data and make deductions and build theories. I wouldn’t become the crazy analyst if the light was balanced. I am pretty sure I would be doing something a lot more mundane!

Balance is nice if you can get it but maybe a little ordinary. It is imbalance that leads you into the extra-ordinary and and if you hold its hand, it will take you on the most exciting journey!

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.