The most recent conversation on the synaesthesia mailing list has been to do with hiding synaesthesia. A lot of people have reported how they have felt like they had to hide their synaesthesia from everyone including sometimes their families, for fear of ridicule, bullying or reactions from others like ‘you’re lying’.
I didn’t know that my coloured words were different, let alone had a name, until I was 19, so before that I didn’t really talk about it (thinking it was normal) so never felt like I had to hide it.
Until this conversation came up this week I thought that for the last few years I had been open about my synaesthesia. I was lucky enough to find a couple of people like me at university so it was fun to compare colours, so spoke about it occasionally then.
Now I tell people I know and trust, just because sometimes I have to explain why I get their name wrong or why I get certain words and things mixed up, but generally I keep it to myself. I suppose people assume that synaesthetes are just attention-seeking which is why I don’t mention it much.
It’s quite frustrating having to keep quiet though. If something is the ‘wrong’ colour, like for example if a graphic on a webpage doesn’t match the colour I see for the word on it, it bothers me constantly like a mosquito that just won’t fuck off. Or if a person’s name doesn’t match the colour I feel for them that can be really irritating too. And then I have to keep all this stupid annoyance to myself and it’s really distracting!
It’s a shame that some people really have to hide it because I think it’s really interesting, but I understand why. No-one wants to be laughed at (apart from comedians). I guess it’s such a difficult thing to explain that it’s easier to stay quiet.