What is Synesthesia?
Synesthesia is a neurological disorder that causes a person to experience a combination of the five senses. In other words, a person may smell one thing, but taste something completely different. Or maybe you see a paint color, but your brain tells you that you are feeling something spikey!
Psychology Today better explains this medical phenomenon: “a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (for example, hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway (such as vision).”
People who live with synesthesia will experience an overload of senses in various situations. It has been said that it inspires better memory and creativity in people.
Types of Synesthesia
There isn’t one single type of synesthesia. In fact, there are over 80 types of synesthesia! The two most common forms of synesthesia are Grapheme-Color Synesthesia and Chromesthesia.
Grapheme-Color Synesthesia is when an individual will see or feel colors while looking or thinking about numbers, words, or letters. For example, someone may count to ten and experience red, yellow, and blue with various numbers. A color may be specifically paired with a letter or number; such as the letter Z will always be paired with the color yellow for some people.
Chromesthesia is similar to Grapheme-Color Synesthesia, but instead of seeing color with a letter or number, it comes with sounds. Certain sounds can elicit feelings of color in an individual’s mind. For instance, the sound of shuffling paper can look like the color green, or the sound of a doorbell can look like the color purple.
One of the rarest types of synesthesia is Mirror-Touch Synesthesia. Mirror-Touch is an empathetic ability that some individuals possess. These people can feel or see what other people are experiencing. It is similar to feeling empathic, but it is a much stronger sensation. Those that live with Mirror-Touch Synesthesia are extremely knowledgeable people, and often will experience excessive emotions every day.
If you want to learn more about the various types of synesthesia consider looking into these BetterHelp articles.
Treatments of Synesthesia
There are currently no treatment options available for those living with synesthesia. In many cases, daily lives are not interrupted by synesthesia. Countless people enjoy the various senses and use them for their benefit. For example, many singers and songwriters live with some form of synesthesia. This neurological disorder assists many through their creative process. Having synesthesia can inspire greatness.
For others, synesthesia can be overwhelming and debilitating. Those who are overwhelmed by their sensory abilities may experience a lack of concentration, insomnia, depression, or anxiety. Some individuals may associate a common sight or color with an upsetting smell or sound. If they are exposed to something unpleasant for extended periods, it may feel like a burden.
There are many coping techniques for those living with synesthesia. You can practice calming exercises such as meditation. Meditation is an eyes-closed, deep-breathing practice that effectively calms your body and mind. Also, creating a safe place, such as a calm home, can help you cope with overstimulation. Learning how to cope with synesthesia is the first step to using your brain’s wiring for your advantage!
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.