Synesthesia

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I have discovered that I may have the rather odd condition of synesthesia. Simply put, it means that one or more sensory perceptions or concepts of things are blended or mixed.

I first was informed of this while eating a lunch of Indian food with my family. I remarked that it was odd for the restaurant to insert a dish of “low flavored” food in with the other “high flavored” food.

Naturally my family wanted to know what I meant… which is when I realized that most people do not, in fact, perceive flavors in three dimensions. Neither do they know that numbers have colors(which is why I often say “as sure as I know that six is green” in speech, and nobody ever asked me what I meant before).

After doing some quick internet research, I determined that it’s due to synesthesia.

For all you non-synesthetics, what’s your experience like? What’s it like to memorize and use strings of numbers without colors to them? Do you imagine them printed on a sheet of paper, or as giant statues, or what?

For all you synesthesics, I understand not everyone’s experience of this is the same. Share your particular quirks of the condition? For me, I perceive numbers and some letters of the alphabet as having colors. I also perceive flavors as high and low, and may(still not sure about this) have a mild form of Mirror Touch, a form of synesthesia in which you experience sensations you see others experiencing. I’m not really sure about this, it often manifests as ghost sensations, and I sometimes feel the need to re-enact these sensations(eg. I see someone rubbing his temples and I feel a mild urge to do the same).

 
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Read a story about about this a few weeks ago, was a guy who had a flavour for every town or city in the UK. This one’s pretty cool too.

Originally posted by Helltank:

For all you non-synesthetics, what’s your experience like? What’s it like to memorize and use strings of numbers without colors to them? Do you imagine them printed on a sheet of paper, or as giant statues, or what?

It’s hard to describe because there’s nothing to describe. Personally, I just remember them, and can recall them, and there’s no skill or trick or anything to it.

The only way I can think of… find something (eg cities, places, people, whatever) that it doesn’t affect your recollection of, and which you have no ‘system’ of remembering. The way you remember and recall those things is the way I remember and recall numbers.

 
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Originally posted by Helltank:

For all you non-synesthetics, what’s your experience like? What’s it like to memorize and use strings of numbers without colors to them? Do you imagine them printed on a sheet of paper, or as giant statues, or what?

A coworker pointed out to me that when I memorize a number at work by reading it out, I actually read it out wrong, but I then write it down correct. I will say the 4 or 6 digit code in any random order, yet when I write it down again, it is the correct order.

It is hard to explain how us “non-synesthetics” remember things because we are all different to each other too

 
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Sounds like something else to talk about with your shrink.

 
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Originally posted by Helltank:

I have discovered that I may have the rather odd condition of synesthesia. Simply put, it means that one or more sensory perceptions or concepts of things are blended or mixed.

Far out, man.

Originally posted by Jantonaitis

Sounds like something else to talk about with your shrink.

Yep.

 
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there’s nothing to describe

Life must be boring for you.

Sounds like something else to talk about with your shrink

She isn’t qualified to diagnose synesthesia.

Isn’t it pretty dull to have numbers and words as they are. No colors or pictures? Like being trapped in a black-and-white TV show.

 
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Originally posted by Helltank:

Isn’t it pretty dull to have numbers and words as they are. No colors or pictures? Like being trapped in a black-and-white TV show.

Nope. Try to imagine what life would be like with an extra sense you have never experienced and don’t know how to adequately describe. Do you now feel trapped because you don’t actually have this sense you have never experienced and can barely imagine?

 
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Originally posted by Helltank:
there’s nothing to describe

Life must be boring for you.

Yes, our lives are empty because we can’t smell numbers

 
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Originally posted by dd790:
Originally posted by Helltank:
there’s nothing to describe

Life must be boring for you.

Yes, our lives are empty because we can’t smell numbers

My life is an odd form of empty.
This stems from not being able to interact on a large scale w/ those lowly non-synesthesia ppl.
My isolation is pure hell.

I even suffer from a separation from a really huge percentage of other synesthesia ppl.
I “see” words & number in all of the 5 BASIC senses. Take the number 18…it looks a blended purple paisley, it smells like pumpkin pie, it sounds (as in not orally enouncing it; but just looking at it) like a kitten purring, touching it feels like 800-grit sandpaper, upon licking it—it tastes tart like a lemon. And, don’t get me started on how it affects all of those minor senses.

Sometimes, I will just blather on & on (talking to myself) flipping through TV channels while on the computer & listening to classical music because of the “sensory-orgasms” I get from doing it.

It is kinda like what might happen if LSD itself were to drop acid.
I pity the fool that doesn’t have synesthesia.

 
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She isn’t qualified to diagnose synesthesia.

Ah, because her expertise pales in comparison to internet self-diagnosis. Of course.

 
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Sounds like she’s a psychologist rather than a psychiatrist. If so, then no she’s not qualified to diagnose sensory abnormalities. A psychiatrist would be.

The difference between the two basically being that a psychiatrist is a medical doctor with psychological training, whilst a psychologist has a doctorate in psychology and nothing in medicine.

Generally speaking if your thought process is abnormal, then a psychiatrist is absolutely the better choice – albeit rather more expensive. They have an understanding of what is actually going on in your innards, whereas a psychologist can only deal with your thoughts.

Of course if you’re just seeing a therapist, you’re likely not seeing either of the above, and I’d recommend getting better help.

 
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Originally posted by Jantonaitis:

Sounds like something else to talk about with your shrink.

Isn’t that something like: If you are your own doctor; then you have a fool for a patient.
 
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Doctors make the worst patients. Primarilly because they know how horrifically things can go wrong and what the symptoms of disaster X are. So they diagnose the problem as condition X ftrom a subjective point of view and self medicate. Then of course, they’re a doctor. They can’t be wrong…

In a way unqualified persons are just as bad. They don’t really understand how anything works, but they read up on horrific condition X on the internet, and believing themselves to now be experts (despite never actually having studied all the secondary effects of ailments and related breakdowns, or having actually seen those really suffering from X) so they conclude they must have X, and any doctor who tells them different, cannot be right. The internet said so!

(Admittedly I’m a pain with doctors myself, especially for biomechanical problems or PNS ‘hiccups’. I know more than they do, more often than not, and unfortunately I tend to show it. Doctors tend to become uncooperative when they think you’re telling them their jobs)

 
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Synethisia sounds like a lot more fun than the parathesia I have the pleasure of living with (Imagine having the feeling of dozens of creepy crawlies climbing over your arms and legs at random, or the sensation of burning, or… well, you get the idea).

And I’ve never upset my cardiologist like that Vika! (honest)

 
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Ironically if we could replicate the sensations inherent in parathesia, there’s a market for them. Recent research has shown that there’s something strange going on with the receptors in such cases. In chronic itching which is a similar sensation-based condition, the itch sensing nerves (a sub-type of nociceptor) actually coopt every other type of nociceptor in the area for a signal boost. This is what makes normally just annoying sensations actually painful.

If we could replicate the process, there is a real market for that type of sensation in military training simulations.

Not to mention empathy training for mental health personnel, who often don’t understand how physical disabilities affect a person’s situation.

 
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Originally posted by vikaTae:
Originally posted by Helltank:

Isn’t it pretty dull to have numbers and words as they are. No colors or pictures? Like being trapped in a black-and-white TV show.

Nope. Try to imagine what life would be like with an extra sense you have never experienced and don’t know how to adequately describe. Do you now feel trapped because you don’t actually have this sense you have never experienced and can barely imagine?

… Well, I can’t really imagine what that extra sense would be like. I sorta see what you mean… a tribal Aborigine wouldn’t be unhappy that he doesn’t have, say, a smartphone, because he has been smartphone-less all his life. Still, we can agree that having a smartphone would be better, huh?

our lives are empty because we can’t smell numbers

Neither can I. I can only see colors in numbers. But I’m not saying your lives are empty, just. Uh. Duller, I’d say.

the number 18….

Interesting. To me it’s purplish green(I suspect the green derives from the fact that it’s a multiple of six, and six is very strongly green). Its personality is cool-haughty, one of those guys with caps, trendy clothes and sunglasses that just lean on brick walls and do nothing but stare at you with a smile. 17 and 19 are similar, but 17 is more predatory(not pedophile-predatory, hungry mugger-predatory) while 19 is more shady(wanna buy drugs, kid?)

her expertise pales in comparison to internet self-diagnosis

I said “may”. Also, she didn’t even study synesthesia or anything related, so I’m now looking for someone who can properly diagnose it. Until then, my synesthesia is a maybe. Strong maybe, and one that I hope turns out to be yes, but still maybe.

parasthesia

Normal humans get a mild form of this when looking at stuff like black dots clustered in certain ways, or so I’ve heard.

market for them

I know that if I lived in a world where numbers were just plain old numbers, colors were just plain old colors and so on, I’d definitely want to explore how the other 5% lives.

 
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Originally posted by Helltank:

I have discovered that I may have the rather odd condition of synesthesia. Simply put, it means that one or more sensory perceptions or concepts of things are blended or mixed.

I first was informed of this while eating a lunch of Indian food with my family. I remarked that it was odd for the restaurant to insert a dish of “low flavored” food in with the other “high flavored” food.

Naturally my family wanted to know what I meant… which is when I realized that most people do not, in fact, perceive flavors in three dimensions. Neither do they know that numbers have colors(which is why I often say “as sure as I know that six is green” in speech, and nobody ever asked me what I meant before).

After doing some quick internet research, I determined that it’s due to synesthesia.

For all you non-synesthetics, what’s your experience like? What’s it like to memorize and use strings of numbers without colors to them? Do you imagine them printed on a sheet of paper, or as giant statues, or what?

For all you synesthesics, I understand not everyone’s experience of this is the same. Share your particular quirks of the condition? For me, I perceive numbers and some letters of the alphabet as having colors. I also perceive flavors as high and low, and may(still not sure about this) have a mild form of Mirror Touch, a form of synesthesia in which you experience sensations you see others experiencing. I’m not really sure about this, it often manifests as ghost sensations, and I sometimes feel the need to re-enact these sensations(eg. I see someone rubbing his temples and I feel a mild urge to do the same).

Does it make you any more effecient than normal humans?

 
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Originally posted by thepunisher52:
Originally posted by Helltank:

I have discovered that I may have the rather odd condition of synesthesia. Simply put, it means that one or more sensory perceptions or concepts of things are blended or mixed.

Does it make you any more effecient than normal humans?

From Helltank’s tone in this thread he certainly believes so, though I have my doubts.

 
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Does it make you any more efficient

No, why?

Originally posted by dd790:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:
Originally posted by Helltank:

I have discovered that I may have the rather odd condition of synesthesia. Simply put, it means that one or more sensory perceptions or concepts of things are blended or mixed.

Does it make you any more effecient than normal humans?

From Helltank’s tone in this thread he certainly believes so, though I have my doubts.

Do not presume to know what I think.

 
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I said “may”. Also, she didn’t even study synesthesia or anything related, so I’m now looking for someone who can properly diagnose it. Until then, my synesthesia is a maybe. Strong maybe, and one that I hope turns out to be yes, but still maybe.

Oh? You seem pretty convinced.

Now, I’m no psychoanalyst, and dislike posters trying to read my mind as much as you do, but there’s a term that does spring to mind for this situation: projection. Or to riff off of dd790, you WANT it to be true so it BECOMES true, but only in a figurative sense. Why would anyone want this? Because it’s a relatively harmless disorder that fascinates other people (like aspergers, but with fewer negative connotations).

 
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Originally posted by Helltank:
Originally posted by vikaTae:

Nope. Try to imagine what life would be like with an extra sense you have never experienced and don’t know how to adequately describe. Do you now feel trapped because you don’t actually have this sense you have never experienced and can barely imagine?

… Well, I can’t really imagine what that extra sense would be like. I sorta see what you mean… a tribal Aborigine wouldn’t be unhappy that he doesn’t have, say, a smartphone, because he has been smartphone-less all his life. Still, we can agree that having a smartphone would be better, huh?

Not necessarily. Having a smartphone in the Australian outback will do you no good. Who are you going to call? What good is it once the power runs out?

A smartphone is also a poor analogy. It’s not an extra sense. It is not connected to your nervous system and gives you no additional sensations. It is in fact just a computing and communications accessory which uses your existing senses to work.

An extra sense would be something like heat vision, where you are able to see with your eyes closed, and envisage the world around you by reading the heat eminations from your environment as they hit sensors all over your skin.

Now that I have described heat vision to you, doesn’t your life in all seriousness feel absolutely cold, empty and meaningless now? Don’t you now feel trapped, knowing you don’t have this ability?

 
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Now that I have described heat vision to you, doesn’t your life in all seriousness feel absolutely cold, empty and meaningless now? Don’t you now feel trapped, knowing you don’t have this ability?

Given all you’ve said about mechanic sensory prosthetics, I wouldn’t be all that surprised to learn you had first-hand experience of heat vision.

 
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I haven’t actually. Although, yes I did choose that example because I’m aware it did exist once. An orange-tape-wrapped heatsensor connected to a control computer that relayed the temperature sensation back to the user via a headband designed to heat and let cool the human forehead.

Unlike normal heat vision systems, it bypassed the eyes completely. Simply didn’t use them, and so would have been an option for those without eyes, to give them a form of sight.

I haven’t seen or heard from it in many years, but the memory stayed with me. Not healthy to use for any period of time, it was still one of the first truly extra sensory perception via wearable device ideas I encountered.

 
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Originally posted by vikaTae:

Doctors make the worst patients. Primarilly because they know how horrifically things can go wrong and what the symptoms of disaster X are. So they diagnose the problem as condition X ftrom a subjective point of view and self medicate. Then of course, they’re a doctor. They can’t be wrong…

Well, sometimes. I would say nurses make the worst/most obnoxious patients, but I’m biased. My last doctor (who I have nothing but respect for) went into the hospital for pains, and insisted they run an additional test on him even though the attending said it was “not indicated”. At his behest they ran the test and found profound calcification around his heart. He had to leave this practice and I haven’t heard from him since, but I certainly hope he’s OK and gave him some internal atta-boys for advocating for himself. A lot of people, understandably, blindly accept what their doctors say because they are the “experts”. Granted, they’re right most of the time, but they are still human. It’s occupational arrogance like this, coupled with non-advocacy, that took my grandmother’s life once.

 
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I can cite from my own experiences….AND, a large amount of agreement from many differing sources: NEVER go to a hospital bed w/o an “advocate”….preferably ‘round-the-clock.
I don’t care if ya are able to be completely lucid,,,
sometimes even two against one (the doc…AND, his “God-complex” & hospital-“fort”) isn’t enough to ensure proper care.

My cardiac surgeon was about to throw my wife out of the hospital because she kept at him while I was delirious for several days from massive staff infection in my sternum & over the heart. She insisted that my condition wasn’t “normal” for me. She finally MADE him pull off the dressing and when he pressed on the chest….puss literally shot out of the incision.

I would be dead were it not for her strength.

At another hospital stay, my doc wanted to know why a test result wasn’t in my record.
It turns out they took my roommate for the test instead of me.
He said he wondered why he was getting such a test.
Patients all too often become “disengaged” from even a modest amount of self-interest when it comes to being a patient.

ALWAYS seek a “second opinion” (for anything of any real consequence),,,,
even if it is from someone that isn’t in the medical field; but really knows ya well.
I’ve had numerous fuckups by the medical community…a couple of dentists, too.
I know of many other ppl who either have or know of similar situations.