From our case studies page you can learn a little about Megan, a synesthete in the St. Louis area, who contacted us this summer after discovering our research. Here, in her own words, Megan tells us a little more about her life as a synesthete.Can you describe when and how it was that you realized there was something remarkable about the way you perceive the world? What were your first expressions of synesthesia that you remember? I only realized that I had synesthesia because my grandpa told me. I remember once being upset in kindergarten because colored letters on blocks there weren’t “right.” I told the teacher that an A [on a block] wasn’t an A. I don’t remember what color it was in, but it wasn’t yellow. Therefore, it was not an A. My mom was frustrated because she didn’t understand why I wouldn’t say it was an A, since she knew I knew the alphabet. I only learned recently of some of my other forms of synesthesia. It took me thinking about it a lot and writing down my thoughts as I went about my day. I didn’t realize just how different I was until then.Describe the history of synesthesia in your family. You have mentioned that your grandfather was a synesthete. What is the story with that? My mother’s father was a synesthete. I asked his mother, my great grandma, about it, and she doesn’t like to talk about it—I guess it’s a generational thing. At least two of my cousins have it as well. My grandpa knew he was different growing up from what I understand. He was a computer programmer and mentioned his colored letters, etc. to one of his co-workers in the navy. His co-worker recognized it as synesthesia, and that’s when my grandpa had a name for it. He never mentioned it to anyone else until he read that it was genetic, on the internet some 30 years later. That’s when he asked all of his grandkids, “What is 3?” He and I shared colored letters. However, he also had colored hearing and perfect pitch. He could name any song by just hearing one note from it. We used to play that game a lot. You are a nurse. Are there ways that synesthesia affects your work, which makes being a nurse a different experience for you as opposed to non-synesthetes whom you know? Yes. I am exceptionally good at picking up on others’ feelings. I can anticipate their needs more because of it. Sometimes it’s good, but sometimes not. It’s easy to help put a family at ease when they are stressed, but it’s very difficult to feel their emotions when they are losing a loved...Read More
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