&rea's Musings on Prosopagnosia

Apr 18, 2018

By: Andrea

Year Condition Began: 1970

I never known a time where I recognized faces. I have a theory as to why. I was born the only child of two only children. This meant no siblings, aunts, uncles, or cousins. My social circle as a baby & toddler was my parents, & mom's parents (mom didn't want me around dad's parents & for good reason!) Play dates weren't a "thing" back then & even if they had been, mom wasn't good with socialization so I doubt she'd have participated anyhow. It is my suspicion that the lack of human interaction prevented that part of my brain from being stimulated & developed. By the time I started school at age 5, it was too late. Honestly, I spent most of my life wondering how humans knew what other humans they really liked & wanted to spend time with!

Once I realized that humans generally recognize other humans, I was aghast! I could not believe that was the norm! I started calling my problem "stick figure syndrome" since it felt to me that everyone looked like a toddler's drawing of people - stick figures. It wasn't until checking on the internet nearly 20 years ago that I discovered prosopagnosia. And I was relieved to learn I wasn't the only one who experienced panic attacks in public places or was apprehensive in social situations.

Now that I know my enemy, I don't mind talking to people about - or even making jokes! But my children generally make the jokes for me!

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