2/366: Feeling blue, seeing gray.

I am colorblind. I have been diagnosed with red-green blindness since 10th grade, according to my family as soon as kindergarten (nobody thought it’s necessary to tell me until the second diagnosis, apparently). The other colors aren’t as bad, but I experience problems telling apart all kinds of shades. This always struck me as strange, since it doesn’t really conform to the scientific descriptions of monochromacy or dichromacy. Today I might have learned why.

I am not the most cheerful person. My therapist would agree, we are trying to treat my depression for over a year now. A lot of people have made similar comments to me lately.

„No wonder you are depressed when you can’t see the blue sky. You are missing most beauty in the world.“

Well, like the grumpy and depressed old man that I am, I dismissed that as hippy talk. I might have been wrong. There are studies that are linking color perception with depression:

Although the association between depression and colour is largely metaphorical, there is actually some evidence that they are closely linked. The most recent comes from a new study by German researchers published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The study shows that depressed people have reduced sensitivity to contrast, and therefore that they may perceive the world differently from others. It also suggests that depression can be diagnosed by objective measurements of electrical activity in the eye.

The study has not shown if the subjects were suffering from changes to their retinas or to the areas of the brain processing visual information. The link seems to be backwards from what my hippy friends have been suggesting, too. The color blindness is not making people depressed, but rather that depressed people can suffer from a certain kind of color blindness.

Good news, really. If I ever cheer the fuck up, my colorblindness might get better, too.