Do You Syffer From Prosopagnosia???

@LadyMarissa (12165)
United States
November 11, 2010 6:22pm CST
http://www.faceblind.org/research Prosopagnosia is also called "Face Blindness". It is the inability to recognize faces. We all have a touch of this in our lives. However, about 1 out of 5 babies born have a severe case of it. Heather Sellers was interviewed a few days back. She has suffered with this undiagnosed diorder since she was a child. She was 40 before anybody gave her a name for her problem. When she was in grammar school, she would walk past her own Mother & not recognize her. In high school, she did the same to her best friends. She said she got a reputation for being aloof & conceited because she failed to speak to her classmates. She was lucky when she married a man that realized she had a definite disorder even though the doctors couldn't tell her what it was. Every morning when she woke up, he'd tell her who he was. She'd remember him, but she just couldn't recognize his face. She said they were at the grocery store one day, standing at the checkout. Her husband kissed her. She turned around to look at something on the end of the aisle. When she turned back around, she grabbed the guy in front of her & gave him a passionate kiss. You guess it, it wasn't her husband. She said her husband walked over & took her arm guiding her back over to their buggy. Some days she can't even recognize herself. Now that she has a diagnosis, she tells any new friends that she makes, "I know you now, but may not know you the next time I see you. Please tell me your name when you see me". She said she was frustrated for years, feeling somewhat stupid. She said it was really fun back when she was dating. She'd have dinner with her date, he'd leave & go to the bathroom & when he returned, she couldn't recognize him. She said most guys found it amusing. One guy just sat there saying "I'm not freaking out. I'm not freaking out. I'm not freaking out." Needless to say they never dated again. Her story is heartbreaking, but she has a really healthy attitude!!! If I remember correct, she said 1 out of every 5 children born have this disorder. That made me think as I've never known anyone with it. So, I have to ask...do you suffer from face blindness; & if yes, how do you deal with it???
1 person likes this
7 responses
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
12 Nov 10
I had never heard of this before so I had to look it up. (This happened a LOT when I was a medical proofreader. LOL) What I read, from http://rarediseases.about.com/od/rarediseasesp/a/prosopagnosia.htm was, "...in 2006 reported that after testing 1,600 individuals they suspect that 2 percent of the general public may have prosopagnosia." That's a far cry from 1 in 5! Maybe 1 in 5 people have had a temporary problem in recognizing someone but true prosopagnosia is not nearly that common, thank goodness! It also said that people with this disorder learn other ways to recognize people, like hearing their voice, any specific body shape/size, or certain characteristics of their personality. Still, whether it's 1 in 5 or 1 in a million, to have this must be awful, especially as a child, learning that it is not normal and having to develop other ways of recognizing people they know. Personally, I have a problem remembering anything at all, not just faces.
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
12 Nov 10
Two percent is not as bad as 20%, but it's still a lot of people!!! Heather said she had NO idea what was wrong with her until she was 40. She did learn some coping mechanisms, but can you imagine what it was like in high school to not recognize your friends??? I can't imagine walking down the street & seeing a reflection in a door & not know it was me. That could take the fun out of primping!!! I frequently have days that I see people & know that I know them, but just can't put a name with the face. I find that extremely frustrating. To look at a face & see a blank wall would drive me nuts!!!!
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
12 Nov 10
Thanks for the link. It was very informative!!! She did mention that it was virtually impossible for her to watch cops shows or war movies because everybody was dressed alike. She has one friend who is patient enough to help her watch television shows by explaining who is who as she watches.
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
12 Nov 10
Hey LadyM! I have honestly never heard of this disease, but I am sure it must be extremely frustrating and very upsetting. I can't imagine not being able to recognize people that I know. This woman is very lucky that she found a man who loves her and understands this unique situation and can deal with it! I just not sure how a person with this "disorder" could possibly go through life having to "explain" herself all the time to people that she meets and have them understand. I'm just happy that she has been able to find someone who can help her~
2 people like this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
12 Nov 10
That was the most amazing thing about her story!!! For years she just let people think her rude for fear they wouldn't want to be her friend if they knew. Now that she's telling people in advance what her problem is, she says her faith has been renewed in mankind!!! Her new friends walk up to her & say "hello Heather, it's Mary here. How are you today?" She says she can recognize clothes & hairdos. So, if people never changed clothes nor cut their hair, she'd be just fine. She's a teacher & her class has made name tags for their desks so she can call them by name. Assuming the 1 in 5 is a correct representation, that means 20% of the world's population has this disorder. I just wonder how many people we meet every day hide this from us out of fear & how many have come up with coping mechanisms??? It for sure makes me thankful for the little tics I have!!! It also reminds me of the saying "don't judge anyone until you've walked a mile in their shoes." Doctors say that most of us have a mild case of this manifesting as just not seeing someone occasionally. We're just lucky it doesn't happen every time we look at someone!!!
1 person likes this
@lumenmom (1997)
• United States
12 Nov 10
I have nevr heard of this disorder, but it does now lend credence to the movie 50 1st Dates, where the girl has a wonderful time with the gentleman she met at cafe, but by the next day she did not recall ever meeting him (or anything else that happened that day). Who would have thought there could be such a disorder. It must be very frustrating to have that especially if it is not diagnosed for years!!
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@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
12 Nov 10
Yes, this immediately reminded me of that movie; except this woman remembers everything but faces.
@dragon54u (31184)
• United States
12 Nov 10
I've never heard of such a thing but I'm glad it's been named and hopefully something can be developed to help people like that. That must be awful! I'm not very good with names and faces but I'm nothing like that, thank God. I'm glad Mrs. Sellers found a husband who is understanding and takes things in stride. There aren't that many people who could deal so calmly with a problem like that.
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
12 Nov 10
Heather said it was such a relief to finally know she had a true medical condition & a reason for her failure to be able to recognize faces!!! This disorder is so far incurable, but she said it validated to her that she wasn't crazy. I think it would be a horrible way to have to live. I think it would probably negate any of her self preservation instincts also. She says it is really hard for her to watch television & almost impossible to watch a movie as she can't keep up with the characters. Mentalward provided a better link than the one I found. It says that this disorder may run in families linked by their genetics. I'm feeling a little better as no one has responded that yes, they actually have this disorder. Barbara & I have both experienced a mild form of it, but no one has described a full blown case of it!!! The realization that the stats are more like 2% instead of 20% was quite a comfort too!!!
@BarBaraPrz (16370)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
12 Nov 10
I seem to have a very mild version of it: If I see someone where I'm used to seeing them, I'll definitely recognize them, but if I'm not expecting to see them somewhere else, I most likely won't. I walked past my neice and her friend once because I didn't expect to see her on my street. Another time, I didn't recognize my mother and sister across the road from me because I didn't expect to see them there.
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
12 Nov 10
If I understood correctly, we all have these tendencies on occasion. It's just that the people who truly have the disorder do it all the time. I was injured in a wreck a good number of years back & I remember going through a period where people were complaining that I hadn't spoken to them...instead, just walking by them without even acknowledging their existence. At first, I thought my friend was just messing with me. Then as the number of complaints grew, I wondered why I had become so absent minded. I wrote it off to being way too busy & just not paying attention. I never thought of telling my doctor about it as I felt just fine!!! I remember one particular day when a guy I had been dating & was particularly fond of pulled up next to my car at a red light. I looked at him & thought I should know who that is, but I just couldn't figure it out. Finally, he smiled & waved at me. Realizing I knew him well but not knowing who he was, I smiled & waved back. The next time we met I recognized him & gave him a big hug. He laughed & said "this is much better. I feared I was easy to forget". I can't imagine what it would be like to do this every day. Also, there is NO cure for the problem!!!
@stanley777 (7173)
• Philippines
12 Nov 10
Have'nt heard of this disorder before.You mean she has been having this disorder since childhood and took 40 years before the doctors found a term for it.Its good she found a partner that is always at her side and understanding.
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
12 Nov 10
I don't know how old you are; however, if you go back a little over 40 years ago, disorders weren't given names until the masses suffered from it. Plus, as I commented just above this one, I went through a short period of time where I experienced a mild form of this problem. I never thought of mentioning it to my doctor as I felt just fine. I feared it was early onset of Alzheimer & didn't really want to know I had it!!!
@2004cqui (2823)
• United States
12 Nov 10
Wow! Now I have a name for it! I don't suffer from it as bad as you describe here but- I can recall people I know and see all the time but it is a handicap when I'm out in public. I've had friends and neighbors have to catch my attention because I don't recognize them when I'm out shopping, etc. An old boyfriend was disappointed that I didn't remember him until he introduced himself. Face to face customer service, which I love, is impossible. I've gotten too many complaints to my boss that "I'm rude"! My sister suffers from the same thing. Thank you