For Dr. Joel Salinas, music creates colors, numbers have personalities and another person's pain feels almost like his own. Before studying medicine he thought that was how everyone experienced the world, with a whole spectrum of emotions, including all "shades" of physical pain.
He recollected one of the first instances when he experienced what felt like synaesthetic bouts:
"Someone had a cardiac arrest and it completely caught me off guard," media cited him as saying.
"I saw them getting chest compressions and I could feel my back on the linoleum floor and the compressions on my own chest. I felt the breathing tube scraping down the back of my throat."
However, he honestly thinks that synaesthesia should not be viewed as a disorder.
"I don't see it as a blessing or a curse as it can be both," said Salinas, who works as a neurologist in one of Massachusetts’ hospitals and a lecturer at Harvard medical school.
"I couldn't imagine my life without synaesthesia. I wouldn't be who I am now without it," Salinas enthusiactically remarked.
The story echoes the one depicted in the latest episode of the Black Mirror sci-fi series. But in it, the main character’s synaesthetic condition led to pretty adverse consequences. Just to remind, unlike Dr. Salinas, Dr. Peter Dawson had an experimental neuro-implant installed in his brain, which allowed him to feel the physical sensations of others. And yes, it even brightened up his sex life with the girlfriend. However, it all got out of hand at the point when Dawson remained connected to one of his patients who was dying from poison. He himself suffered a side effect: from now on he started experiencing someone else’s pain as a personal pleasure, which infamously resulted in a brutal murder.