Have you ever experienced something that you thought was totally and completely normal, but when you’ve asked other people about it they look at you as though you’re crazy?
I have, which is how I found out I have Synesthesia.
Synesthesia, to put it simply, is when the senses somehow become crossed and one sense triggers another. It has multiple forms – there’s at least 80! Some people see colours when they look at numbers, letters or words, some people get a taste in their mouth, some people hear sounds and others physically feel a sense of touch. There’s tons of information on Google if you are interested, but I have three forms; Ordinal Linguistic Personification (OLP), Sequence-space synesthesia (SSS) and Auditory visual synesthesia
It started with an innocent conversation with a friend. I can’t remember the exact dialogue, but it ended with me explaining that I see numbers, letters and even colours as ‘people’, with individual genders and personalities. Of course my friend looked at me like I was a complete and utter nutcase, but up until that point, I assumed this was the same for everyone.
Ordinal Linguistic Personification (OLP),
Ordinal-linguistic personification is when numbers, week-day names, months and alphabetical letters are associated with personalities or genders.
When I think of numbers and letters, they each have something special about them. It’s like a feeling or a sense that they have their own personality. I won’t go into too much detail because it’s hard to explain (an I’m sure you already think I’m crazy) but to me, the letter A is an older female. She’s very relaxed and in control. C is quiet and kind, she’s ‘mumsy’ and everything she does is neat and tidy. T is a strong and stern man, but likeable. I’ve always hated the letters H and G. They’re just mean.
I’ll give you another example. When I was little, I used to enjoy colouring in, but I would never, ever put the colour green next to the colour blue. EVER! It probably sounds completely bonkers, but Blue was married to Red and Green was supposed to be married to Yellow, but Green secretly wanted to be married to Blue, so I wouldn’t let them be next to each other. I know, even as I’m reading that back now, it sounds ridiculous!
Spacial sequence synesthesia (SSS) and
Spatial sequence synesthesia is where the numbers or the alphabet are spatially arranged in your mental space. Some estimates say SSS affects as much as 10-15% of the population. If I think of a date I have a visual image of time, like I’m in my own calendar, but interestingly, if I have a dreaded date looming, like an exam or an event that I’m not looking forward to, my timeline stops at that date.
Auditory visual synesthesia
Not much has been written about this form of synesthesia, but the best way I can describe it from my own experience, is when sounds that you hear trigger a shape or image of an object in your mind. For me personally, names have the strongest effect. For example, when I hear the name Jake I instantly ‘see’ a wooden beer barrel. The name Kelly is someone doing a forward roll. They’re completely unassociated items and it’s not that I’ve associated items with people because you could pluck any name or word out of the air and I would be able to ‘see’ something.