I've Lost My Synesthesia

I have lost my synesthesia. At some point between my going to bed on December 12th and waking up December 13th it just stopped. It wasn’t until I told my children on December 22nd that I found out it was a condition with a name.

Since the end of the Christmas rush (December 28th)I have been researching and finding out all I can about this condition. I’ve simple always had it and thought (until high school) that everyone else saw the world this way. Since I discovered that others didn’t see music I’ve kept it to myself . But now that I’ve lost it, it has consumed my days. I wanted to write a description of what it was like so I could explain to others what it is I’ve lost. This has been a terrifying experience but I think I can now tell what my synesthesia is/was:

I see music (sound>vision). Windows Media Player gives a selection of visuals that mimic what I see when I listen to music but my visual (when it is a waveform) always has both a top and bottom in motion. The blue waveform on Media Player is most like what I usually see but it’s missing the bottom portion (if you flipped the top portion to mirror it on the bottom that would be close to what I see most of the time.

Media Player gives a single waveform, like a graphic equalizer, for the whole song but I see separate wave tracks for each instrument and vocal line. Some songs I see are more like some of the other visuals available in Media Player there is one that is a series of waveforms spiraling from a central point that comes close to what some of my music looks like (when I listen to ‘Kiva’ throat sing). But the most common experience for me is the multiple waveforms on a background of black or dark blue.

The tracks themselves can (usually do) have colours that correspond to the timber, intensity and pitch of each portion of the music. And I can see them all at once, laid out like a map of the song or focus on any one of the tracks moving it closer to the front and pushing the others behind, as I chose. I can also blend tracks together by will (which I often do with the vocal tracks) or bring up two or three; one under the other, to see the harmony or dissidence .

Most songs have an overall colour and the tracks come in a pallet of colours associated with the main colour.
I see this when people speak as well, but not nearly as intensely .

I also feel music physically (sound>touch). That’s harder for me to explain. There is an emotional component to the physical experience. When I sing in a choir; I know I’m matching what those around me are singing when it feels ‘right’. The closest I can come up with to explain it is that it is like pressure from a warm blanket But it’s not just that, it exerts pressure out from my body too. (I’m frustrated I can’t explain this better but how does one put into words what the feel when they touch something as intangible as music?)

I also experience emotions as a combination of colour and sound, specifically music, (emotions> sound and colour). I feel my emotions in a range of colours red and blue being on the positive side of the spectrum and green, yellow and brown on the negative . Any neon and pastel versions of colours is a negative but a neon red is still better than a green. Jewel tones of colours are a positive. Each colour is paired with music to complete the emotion. With ‘Burgundy/Schubert’s Mass in G’ being the most positive feeling ever. And I suppose ‘puke green/any song by Nickelback’ being the worst. I never really pinned down the‘worst experience’ as my choice of song for each experience (either good or bad) varies from day to day or from moment to moment.

p.s A few days ago I recovered a flat, monochromatic version of my seeing music; a single track, light blue on black; enough that I am no longer in despair. I live in hope it may come back one day.
Duvessa2 Duvessa2
41-45, F
Jan 9, 2013