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.
This was an exploration delivered at the First Universalist Church of Denver on 7/31/16,
I have always led an active life, and love all sorts of outdoor activities. People ask who I am and “A physician,” is part of the answer. That started to change in 2012, when I developed a progressive neurologic condition. Fatigue was one of my first symptoms and I had almost no energy to go out, let alone work. I haven’t lost interest in motorcycles, hiking, skiing, or skydiving, but many of the activities I love take too much energy to enjoy presently. I developed memory problems and was forced to stop practicing medicine because when a doctor forgets something, it’s usually pretty important. The wheelchair I now use due to mobility problems further limits what I can do and where I can go, as our society still has a long way to go with physical accessibility.