I has been bothering me for a whole. I’ve felt like I couldn’t grasp what colour it was, calling it icy blue because it could have been but I wasn’t sure, and then I just figured it out. It’s black. Everything makes so much more sense now.
Synaesthesia is weird.
Following the discussion that resulted from me saying that west was green, I have decided to point out just how wrong you all are by making this.
So after two year of struggling to explain how my brain works, I realised today that we’ve come to a sort of acceptance in our house with, as they call it, my “thing about colour”. Gone are the times when they laugh at me for smelling yellow triangles (well, they probably would) or just outright ignore it (like my method of remembering which way the leg rotates in a hip fracture is that it rotates laterally, and F and L are both orange letters). So I bought some new lunchboxes, there were three in the packet, one had a blue lid, one purple and the other green. My housemate used the purple one, so I took blue and then another ended up with green.
Anyway, she doesn’t really like green apparently, and this led to me saying how she should have the purple one, because she’s always been kind of purple in my mind. Her traditional/regal first name and the fact that her surname starts with a K brings out the purpleness. And the housemate that had the purple one should really have had the blue one because her name begins with a B. And this left me with the green one. However my name is most definitely red. Then the fourth housemate, who hadn’t started making her lunch yet and so didn’t get in on the coloured lunch boxes, asked what colour she was and I told her she was yellow (her name begins with an E). This made her happy because yellow is her favourite colour.
And thus proving that none of us wanted to do any work and that lunch boxes can lead to discussions about synaesthesia. Who’da thought it?
It’s always been blue. Now I sometimes see it as baby pink. This is unsettling - I thought colours are supposed to be fixed?
Sometimes associating colours with things is useful. It helps me remember how to spell, allows me to make associations that to other people would make no sense.
But then, sometimes, it doesn’t help at all. And when there are too many things of the same colour in something that I don’t really understand anyway it’s just really stressful.
I’m trying to learn the fascial layers of the anterolateral abdominal wall. Because that’s the sort of thing I do on a Thursday evening apparently. And I’ve drawn it out to help with memory and all that, and it’s come to the colouring in stage and I’m forced to accept what I’ve been aware of for a while but not wanted to admit. It’s all the same colour.
And the word “Scarpas” is coming off kind of blue for some reason, when it should be orange as every colour in it is red/orange/yellow (and it starts with orange) except the P which is the blue scuppering it all. So it’s coming off as both colours, which is fine until I need to colour it in and I don’t know which colour to choose.
And then for the three investing layers, do I do them all blue for investing (and infer the superficial/middle/deep from common sense), or do I colour each of the layers individually (making them orange, yellow and dark blue/brown/whatever the weird colour that D is is called).
Then do I colour muscles in by synaesthetic association or just make them all pink for muscle cos there’s quite a few layers and they have the same colours as everything else in the picture (the lack of red and green makes it feel really off balance).
This is why I don’t revise anatomy very often. It gives me headaches.
Just now I was revising G proteins, and came across the little nugget of information (and my med school loves throwing them into exams) that pertussis toxin acts on Gi GPCRs while cholera toxin acts on Gs.
‘I’ and ‘P’ are both blue letters. C is yellow while S is orange but they’re both sort or warm fiery colours so it fits.
Woo for not having to remember something.
(I’m reflecting. They’re big on reflecting.)
MORE WORDS THAT I CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN.
This is actually starting to get ridiculous.
Vestibuli and Tympani?
It’s dark DVT-colour, yellow, yellow/orange, a blue letter in the middle (b/p), a bit more bright (ul/an) ending in a light blue i.
Why can’t I catch a break?
khole94 asked: Hey there! I just read your post about your problems with your syntesthesia in med school. Same problem here! I try to concentrate on the D and the T in ectoderm/endogerm. To me some letters have a gender.. D appears very female (all round etc) and T is masculin. So I kinda trained my syntesthetic "eye" to enhance the letter D or T. This way endoderm feels/is female. Anatomy-wise this is bullshit but helps me to seperate these alike words. Not sure if this might help you though...
For anyone wondering what we’re talking about, this is endoderm, mesonderm and ectoderm. Something that looks like that will become a baby one day.
Anyhoo, back to synaesthesia.
I’ve never really been able to associate personalities/genders or anything like that with letters or numbers. Which made me sad because I always thought that sounded like the most fun form of synaesthesia (not only is two blue, he’s also a businessman who wears a monacle, three is a small, hyperactive, green child). I can come up with transient personalities, but tomorrow 2 might seem like a cool young female, the sort with nice hair and designer clothes and does lots of charity work, while juggling her three children, and 3 a stroppy teenager.
I think I’m just going to have to go back to bare bones. I’m quite visual so I always know that the yellow layer is on the inside, forming the gut tube, while the blue layer goes round the outside.
Ectoderm = external = ectsternal?
Endoderm = the other one.
It’s not like they print our exams in colour, so learning it that way was always going to be confusing (especially as the slightly more blue endoderm is always depicted as yellow, while the brighter yellow C in ectoderm always blue).
Realised that in the description of my blog I mention synaesthesia, and yet I haven’t actually mentioned it since my lecturer decided to throw it in the other week (note to self: you still need to email her and tell her so that she can update her statistics for the next cohort).
Anyway, one of the weird things about my letters is that D, T and V are all sort of the same, but I’m not entirely sure what colour they are. It’s a sort of bluey brown, quite dark. I can’t seem to justify the colour, but it’s the one you get when you mix all the paints together and you get that purply brown, just a bit more blue tinged.
And sometimes it shifts slightly. Like, I think D is slightly more blue, T more brown and V more grey, but the colours are so close to each other that it’s very hard to distinguish.
Usually it’s not too much of a problem. While my primary use for synaesthesia is spelling/word recognition, generally the other letters around it will help me. Then I started med school, and they started teaching us something called embryology, which is the study of the developing foetus. How one cell becomes a person. And there are three layers of cells that are important, endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm. Here is my problem:
They look the same. Almost exactly the same. I can’t tell them apart. To my brain, which subconsciously relies on my synaesthesia every day, these words are indistinguishable. One of them is all the cells that make up the inside tubes of your body, so the lining of your GI tract etc. The other makes up all the external surfaces of your body.
Mesoderm is everything inbetween, things like muscles and bones and stuff.
These two words are embryological opposites. And even now, I have no idea which one is which. I’m scared that one day it’ll fuck me over in an exam, because it seems unfair that I’m being disadvantaged for something that I can’t control.
If it does come up, it’ll only be a shitty one marker anyway. And I might explain the the little box that due to my synaesthesia I can’t tell the two apart. Might give the markers a chuckle anyway.
so close your eyes
and feel the world
if you're not lost
i guess that makes you found
Hey. I'm a UK medical student, currently intercalating between 3rd and 4th year.
Any patient names are anonymised for purposes of confidentiality.
Always happy to give advice about, well, anything. Mostly applying to med school stuff.
Current status: having some minor issues with depression...