Thursday, 28 May 2015

Geek - Epilepsy & My Fear of 3D

Doctors have never been able to work out what's wrong with me.  When I'm tested, the "usual" seizure triggers don't cause my brain to react.  A well known seizure trigger is being photosensitive; light or flashing light causing a fit.  For as long as I've known, I've never been photosensitive.  In my teenage / university years I would party in strobe lighting and I've never had to turn off a tv show due to flashing lights.  So several years ago, I thought nothing of popping on a pair of special glasses and looking at a 3D TV.  My reaction to it was... interesting.  It didn't feel right.  Nothing happened as a consequence, but my seizure senses were well and truly set off.  

This has meant that 3D has pretty much passed me by.  I watch everything in normal 2D and I've been fine with that.  But recently, I've been starting to feel as if I may have been missing out.  I've heard that 3D has been getting better and better; that now it's less about making the audience think something is going to hit them and more about adding the depth and vibrancy that is lost when committing to a 2D screen.  But at the back of my mind I've always had that niggling feeling; could my brain sit through 2 hours of 3D if one little encounter had made me feel so strange?

On my birthday Mad Max: Fury Road was released.  I was desperate to see it, so R kindly offered to arrange going to see it as a birthday treat.  We could go and see it exactly when we wanted and where we wanted, but there was a catch.  It was in IMAX 3D.  So not just 3D but super-surround-3D.  I wanted to see it so much, but that was quite a risk, so I had some thinking to do.

I've been lucky enough that despite my brain keeping secret what's wrong with it, it's kindly always let me know when it's going to throw a seizure my way and, usually, I'm able to fend it off with sleep as soon as physically possible.  I know that feeling.  It's utterly unmistakable.  The world goes very very quiet.  Things seem to slow down. I become hyper-focussed on everything around me.  I struggle to understand the familiar.  When that feeling strikes my instincts are reliable enough to get me somewhere safe.  I trust my body to know what to do to keep me as safe as possible.  So, I thought, if I put myself in this situation I would most likely be able to escape it.  Plus, R would be there and he's always looked after me.  

It was a risk.  Some people may say it was irresponsible.  But conquering anxiety around doing things other people count as normal is a large point of feeling that I am normal too.  I may take a lot longer, and take to things with way more caution, but I always try.

So, the Sunday after my birthday, off I went to see Mad Max in IMAX 3D.  I sat there, rather anxiously gripping my slushie drink and my pick n mix.  The Jurassic World trailer came on.  It was in 3D and I won't lie, I felt a little panicky.  It felt weird.  I didn't know what my eyes were trying to do.  I didn't know if my brain would be able to interpret what I was seeing.  I was having to think to see.  The advert ended and 2D returned.  I began to think that this idea was a massive mistake.  But I was determined; I just needed to relax and let my brain figure out how to take it in.  Mad Max started.

It was bloody amazing.

It was so amazing, I forgot to eat my pick n mix.  Within a minute of it starting I wasn't even noticing my brain or my eyes anymore and when the film was over it suddenly hit me; everything was fine. I was fine.  My strange brain had stuck with it and it had learned 3D.  I've had no after effect, no seizures attacking a few days later, no periods of staring into space.  Nothing.  Every day has just been a normal day.

I'm happy to say, I've conquered my fear of 3D.

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