A world of color and beauty

Many of us are familiar with listening to music, reading, and talking, it seems that it is a normal part of our lives. However, for some people, it is much different, Synesthesia is a condition in which a person is able to smell colours, see flavours, or taste sound. We all have a type of synesthesia, such as when we smell a fruit and know it is going to be sweet, this is most likely because the pathways for taste and smell are so close, but synesthesia is a more prominent version of what many people have.This condition varies in all of the people who have it, for example, one person with synesthesia might see the number 5 as red while the other sees it as blue, it all varies depending on the person. 

The most common type of synesthesia is grapheme-colour synesthesia which is when a person connects number and letters to colours, while another version is where personalities correlate with numbers. Although we do not know a lot about synesthesia, we do know that this occurs when the pathways in someone's brain that correlates stimuli are mixed up. Although this sounds like hallucinations, synesthesia is much different, hallucinations are often random, and hard to predicts, however, with synesthesia the pattern stays consistent all the time, for example, if the number ten was perceived to be green by someone with synesthesia, it would stay green for the rest of their life. Although hallucinations vary depending on the situation at hand, a person with anxiety may have hallucinations of what they are afraid of or is bothering them, but this can change over time, the hallucinations may change based on the fears of that person or it may go away altogether with proper therapy.

Adding to this, unlike hallucinations, synesthesia does come with its advantages, and so many people do not choose to 'treat' it with options that may or may not work. One of these advantages is that many of the research done on synesthesia, it shows that people with this neurological condition have an amazing capacity for memory, which is understandable, as using two senses help remember better than one. If you have ever smelled something, and suddenly you were brought back to one of your memories in your childhood, you have experienced this, studies show it is much easier to remember something once you have engaged two or more senses. The ability to remember easily also contributes to easier and faster learning, as memory and learning are linked. Studies show that these people are more likely be inclined to be more creative and open to other ideas, this is because they have been experiencing many different things, they are more welcoming to different solutions or ideas. The creativity comes from the same fact that they are experiencing many new and beautiful things, and so they are better at thinking outside the box and excel at art. One example of this is Melissa McCracken, who also has synesthesia, however, she sees music as colour, using this ability she is able to paint beautiful artwork for the songs that she hears.

Nevertheless, as there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. Some of the types of synesthesia might be with sound, and sometimes there can be so much sound around one person, that it eventually becomes too much, and it's an overload to their brain and so many people with synesthesia often have to be in less distracting environments. One of the major disadvantages can be that sometimes people with synesthesia might experience 'blackout' moments that might last a long or short time in which their synesthesia might seem to fade out, making it hard, as they were accustomed to this, and may even lead to depression. As I have said before, the type of synesthesia also affects the person, as there are some types in which sounds can be connected with physical touch, and so anything loud or persistent can become aggravating or even cause pain. Furthermore, like any of us, they would try explaining the world they are living in, but to others who have not experienced this, it seems like nonsense, and the people who have synesthesia are often ridiculed and are mocked for 'making things up' or even simply because they are different.

The concept of synesthesia is still very new to us so we may not know how it really is like to live with synesthesia, but the closest we can come to that right now is based on synesthetes experience, listen to the video above to see how it is like to have synesthesia.

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  1. Good post regarding a very rare health condition. Long back I red an article in webmd site on same subject, supprisingly my mind recall the article with phrase //taste like ear wax//
    For days I was hunting for that article, luckily I could trace it, this is the link: https://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20061122/some-can-taste-their-words#1

    1. Thanks! I found this as well a while ago and thought it was pretty interesting as well. Hope you enjoyed it :)