Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Colors of Dysautonomia

Purple, purple, purple.

Purple, purple's what that spells.

Purple grapes on the vine.

Purple Kool-ade's fine.

Purple, purple's what that spells.

The color songs we sing in my classroom are the most requested songs in my room, they sing with as much gusto as a pub full of men singing their favorite beer song. There is a passion for color that begins at an early age, one of my favorite childhood memories was when I opened up my first box of Crayola crayons in the 64 count box. I remember the waxy smell, the sharp poiny tips with the sharpener in the back of the box (Crayola was ingenious to insert that sharpener in the back, it meant that their young enthusiastic customers would quickly sharpen their way to another new box of crayons in no time),and the endless possibilities those crayons represented, made me believe I could create anything my heart desired.

I have always been intrigued by color. As a design major I took several university courses on color, how it affects mood and emotion. I studied how to use color in marketing and interior design. Color has a huge impact on our mood and feelings. Cool colors calm, and warm colors excite us. If you don't think you're affected that much by color, see how you feel when your next door neighbor paints their house orange or pink.

I discovered later in life that my association with color is a bit different than many of you. I have always seen color in the things I taste and smell. I discovered this quite by accident one day when a friend asked me if I would like an avacodo she had picked from her tree. I responded by saying "No thank you, I don't like avacodo's , they tastes brown," she questioned me further, and this sense of taste and color that I have had all my life and assumed everyone else had as well was to be something unusual and unheard of. Several years later I discovered that there are others with this unique ability, called synesthesia.

It figures that dysautonomia is not blind to color, and has displayed itself in various ways throughout my body.

Purple: My favorite color. Hands and feet turn various shades of this color with a dash of black and blue to highlight my eyes.

Green: The color my students say I turn when I'm feeling extremely nauseated.

Blue: The color I feel when the air is thin and wishing I had a portable airtank.

Gray: The color of brainfog, that lovely inability not to finish a thought or find a word or name.

Yellow: I see this happy color dancing before my eyes just as I'm ready to pass out.

Red: The color that represents the strange tingling all over my body when my body can't handle heat or an unexpected activity. This feeling compares to the scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Harry, Hermoine and Ron take polyjuice potion. The cameras focus in on Harry's hand that is bubbling through his veins. Every time I go through this I feel as if I'm in a sci-fi movie and I'm going to turn into some outlandish beast.

Silver: The tingle and sharp feeling I have on the tips of my fingers and toes.

Black: The dark thoughts I experience when the doctor ups my meds.

Color still fills a unique perspective in my life, but dysautonomia has given it a new way to look at it.

Still inspired,

P.S. I struggled for a couple of weeks posting this blog. I had fun pics I downloaded to go with the colors I see and feel. But this blog application doesn't allow for pics to be placed in various places in the blog. Having my creativity squashed, and the frustrating hours of trying creative ways to make this my way made me less inspired to finish this blog. I had even considered changing blog sites, but didn't want to make that change. A new topic came into mind, and I knew I had to get this one out, even if it didn't give me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I hope everyone is having a good day.


  1. Brilliant Michelle. I think I'm going to start rephrasing how I see myself. It's nice to think of us as a rainbow, shining bright after the rain. Great post.

  2. Hi Michele. I happened to run across this old blog entry when I used a search engine to see if there was any correlation between POTS and synesthesia. I have both! I love having synesthesia but really do not enjoy POTS.

  3. P.S. I am also a follower of Christ <3