Paddy Considine 'gripped by despair' before diagnosis of rare medical condition


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The Independent Culture

Actor Paddy Considine has told how he was gripped by despair before doctors found out he was suffering from a rare condition that made it difficult for him to cope with light.

The Bourne Ultimatum actor and Tyrannosaur director was told he had Asperger's syndrome in 2010.

But he sought further help last year over his symptoms, which included thinking he had to stare intently at someone to make eye contact and being obsessed with stripes.

He told the magazine that he felt like he was "closing down...for years...and I just couldn't live my life.

"People would knock on the front door and I would literally hide under the table. I thought: this is not the way I need to live my life."

The specialist said that Considine, 39, may show traces of Asperger's, but he also has Irlen syndrome, a condition in which the brain cannot properly process light and "visual information".

The actor told the magazine: "It was causing all this anger and aggravation of my brain. It was a nightmare. My brain was telling me to shut down as a result of it. From the minute I opened my eyes, light would hit my eyes and I'd already want to go back to sleep again."

The Hot Fuzz star sought help in California from the psychologist and therapist who had "discovered" the syndrome in 1980.

He said: "She dims the lights and I look at a black blanket and little by little she holds these circular, framed, coloured filtrations up to me. And as we're doing it, we're finding the right combination. And we get to a certain point and all of a sudden this knot I've had in the back of my head for years, just goes. Gone.

"It was quite overwhelming, because I say to her, 'Is this how people see the world?' And she says, 'Yes'. And that, was it."

Considine, who stars in ITV drama The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, now wears special, tinted contact lenses which arrived while shooting the end of the movie The World's End.

"By the end of The World's End, I felt like I'd come alive. I felt like, 'I'm back'," he said.

"The only negative thing I've had was a couple of people have gone, 'What if you lose it now? It's like, dude, what am I gonna lose? Wanting to kill myself every other day of the week? Ha ha. If they'd have said to me, 'The only way you're gonna feel well is if you chop both your legs off,' I'd have done it."