As I’ve mentioned before, I have sensitivity to light due to my autism and probably my traumatic brain injury. I’ve only learned about my light sensitivity recently, though looking back over my life I’m sure it’s been a longstanding problem. As it turns out, light sensitivity can be pretty common in neurodiverse folks and after brain injury. Light brightness can be a big problem, as can high contrast and certain wavelengths (colors). For me, my light sensitivity means I get sent into overload: my brain shuts down, I can’t think, and all I want to do is curl up in a ball in a dark room.
I am a family practice physician, and I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was 4. I’m fairly intelligent, but I struggled in school and was never in the gifted program. Growing up, people would say to me, “You’re smart, why can’t you just ____.” I felt the same way, and had a low self-esteem and was hard on myself. I never felt like I fit in. I always wanted to, but I could never figure out what I was supposed to do.