An anonymous American woman has told her rare story of how a ski accident left her with incredible mental abilities.
She revealed to readers of xoJane.com that she has acquired savant syndrome after she suffered a fall on the slopes during a family holiday.
An individual with savant syndrome has "remarkable, and sometimes spectacular, [musical, mathematical, artistic, etc] talents", David Hiles, De Montfort university lecturer, explained online.
Dr J. Langdon Down, (the doctor who recognised Down's syndrome) first "properly recognised" the ability in 1887, the psychologist added.
The anonymous author of the piece said that she has the "rare mental phenomenon" which has given her the ability to remember incredibly well. She explained how she can draw diagrams of "thousands of places, with thousands of rooms, [and] branches". doorways.
She realised her abilities soon after the accident which happened during her final year of university. The author said when she was "halfway down the hill, at a speed that was definitely too fast, on a hill that was turning icy quick, I caught an edge and went flying".
She hit something "fierce" and lost consciousness. Initially she assumed she was "OK" because she could feel her fingers and toes, still had her vision and there was no blood.
She admitted she felt pain in her left arm but ignored it to continue her holiday - she kept skiing and ignored an injury which she believed would be an "easy fix" dislocation.
It was only after a night of "hell", drinking alcohol to take the pain away and driving herself back to university the next day that the author went to hospital.
She was diagnosed with moderate concussion, a badly dislocated shoulder and a broken collarbone, then sent home.
But over the next few weeks, she said she felt the "weirdest thing" relating to her memory.
"It was like I could see, though not in a literal sense because I was still having issues with vertigo, as well as this weird disconnect between what I was seeing and what my brain was processing.
"I could remember everywhere, like flicking through the pages of a book. Every place I had ever been, but specifically the buildings," she added.
A complex migraine led to the diagnosis of the syndrome when she returned to hospital and was "the most interesting thing the hospital's neurology department had seen in quite some time.
"I was rescanned and had to suffer some very long talks about my memory, my cognitive abilities, and whether or not I could feel my toes."
A year later, after meeting with several experts, she was finally diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome believed to affect 50 people worldwide.
Such is the dramatic impact of the accident on her abilities, the author said she would consider a different career.
"No lie though, I’m definitely, constantly mulling over the idea of quitting and going into drafting and design. At least I know I’d be good at it!"
source - telegraph.co.uk