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