Hi everyone,

I can’t believe I’ve only just found this network and honestly, I only learnt about Asphantasia about a year ago and blew it off probably because putting an actual name to something which has annoyed me for as long as I can remember made it all feel a bit too real.

About me:

I’m a 32-year-old male from England
I am a creative director/agency owner for branding
I have a twin brother who has no problems with imagination
I have a very good memory of past events but only the factual sides of what happened I have no ability to see colours, smells, textures, images etc.

My rant:

So I have been healthy my entire life I’ve never had any major hospital visits or problems and I’ve lived with Aphantasia for as long as I can remember. Like many others, I always thought the concept of “imagine this” was just metaphorical and it was just a chance for someone to build an image in your mind based on the information given. I understand that a sunrise behind some mountains should look a certain way but hell, to me that is almost like binary code I hear your command and pop it into my thoughts but I don’t paint a picture based on what you tell me.

I think my main annoyance is sleep? I work a lot and I have never enjoyed sleeping I’m usually not sleepy enough and just have to hang around with my eyes closed in complete darkness and I spend that time thinking about things, work, ideas of projects etc. I have however started to challenge myself to imagine a circle or just follow any response my brain tries to make while my eyes are shut but to this day (6months on) still nothing.

A benefit I suppose was any traumatic events for the family I recall the sadness but it doesn’t bother me? It’s like a filing cabinet of life lessons that I can tap into but not be upset by but I’ve learnt ways that experience should make you feel. 

Something that has made me wonder from time to time is my recollection of my childhood from a very early age pre 5’s the level of detail from room layouts, sofa choices, activities done on some random day have always been very very clear to me and last year I learnt that I did once let go of some roundabout handles and get struck to the side of my head pretty hard around the age of 7. Would love to one day know if that ever had anything to do with my visual blackout. 

I have tried drugs to try to stimulate my mind’s eye mainly cannabis and mushrooms but I’ve never seen any pink elephants. 

Overall I’m sure this is quite a boring read but I’ve had very little luck with having anyone believe or understand Aphantasia that at this point I just ignore it and carry on as usual. No one really stops and discusses their mind’s eye all that often so it’s mainly a personal annoyance that I will live with and writing my general experience about this has lifted a weight and hopefully someone else will read this and realise sleep is pretty annoying too haha. Plus at this point, I’m worried that my idea of what being able to visualise in my mind would be like actually wouldn’t be all that groundbreaking from how well I can mentally compose the facts into an idea (if that makes sense) 

Thank you for checking in and until our next visually blind meeting that was my Ted talk 

(Also sorry if this is not what a discussion board is for moderators can delete if needed)

Discussion Answer #30115
on

I love this thread of conversation.  I first learned about Aphanatasia in 2015, the BBC had done a report on it and my mind was blown.  I had spent a good deal of my 20’s involved in meditation groups and was always torn between being irritated at what other people were describing as multi-sensory experiences (because I really thought they were just full of b.s.) and worried that perhaps I had some horribly traumatic experience as a child that was causing this complete lack of that same experience.  I was SO relieved when I learned that it is generally a hereditary condition, and that my dad also has the same condition (we are both multi-sensory aphants).  However, I was also a little pissed off and feeling like I got the short end of the stick somehow.  It wasn’t fair that the rest of the world had this super power to create worlds in their minds.  But, as time has gone on and I’ve been able to really examine my experience I’ve realized that a whole lot of people spend a lot of time, money, and energy to try and quiet their minds.  In other words, they are trying to have the experience that we were lucky enough to be born with.

Discussion Answer #29965
on

Bang on Lewis,

For the longest time I thought guided mediation was the biggest scam “imagine you are walking on a mountain, follow the river down to the ocean as the sun begins to set behind the waves” watching people “pretend” to do this always made me chuckle – until I realised that they could!

Not to mention counting sheep to help people sleep – I think its a double edged sword on the sleep front, like you there are plenty of nights where its just staring off into the nothingness but other nights its incredibly easy to doze off as when I shut my eyes everything else can just kind of switch off.

Always wondered about the psychedelics side of things and to be honest was not keen on trying it incase of a imagery overload, interesting that your self and Eva both tried with no success.

 

Like most things in life it has pros and cons

Discussion Answer #29867
on

Oh my gosh! I also have tried mushrooms, mostly to see if it would help since people claim its visuals are “trippy”. I was high out of my mind, but everything stayed the same visually. Do you think that maybe psychedelics rely on taking memories of images and recombining them in order to create an external visual experience? Because maybe that’s why it doesn’t work?

I always hoped that it was like a muscle that if I worked out enough, I could eventually start seeing things. My partner nearly cried the first time I told them I don’t see movies in my head if I read a book (as they can, and really find books enjoyable for that specific reason). Unfortunately, no luck. BUT I’ve found that a lot of my life that they rely on visualizations for, I often kind of code the experiences into information that I could pull up again? But if I’m not confronted by whatever requires the information, it doesn’t really exist.

Discussion Answer #29858
on

Anything but a boring read for me. This was a very interesting read, as i can relate to what you wrote 100%.

The way i feel i remember things or store information is somewhat binary or in script form. For sure no images, senses or emotions are linked to memories for me.

I have talked to friends, family and colleagues about this, but it’s almost always brushed off quite fast as i can tell they don’t really understand or can’t comprehend the concept of aphantasia. After saying i can’t conjure mental images, they still ask me to try and imagine things, and like you said it results in me just going on with my life as usual but i still have so many questions about this.

The biggest issue i feel this presents for me is sleep. I need to be exhausted to be able to fall asleep, the moment i close my eyes it’s total darkness and silence and there i am just thinking about stuff (in text ofcourse), which can keep me awake even longer sometimes.

I don’t feel limited in life at all, i have a succesful job, i am a home owner, i’m in an 8year relationship, but i can’t help but wonder what it would have been like for me to have mental imagery. I’m also stuck with questions if this could have been caused at a young age by trauma or some accident, but my parents and siblings aren’t very helpfull in this department, i think partially because there were several potentially traumatic experiences for all of us and we don’t talk about that. With this i have always dealt with emotions myself. Whenever i felt sad, angry, confused, .. i think my brain found a way of coping with this and storing it as a binary experience.

The past few weeks i have also found myself thinking “for these specific reasons i might be lucky in a way to not have mental imagery” such as the recovery of traumatic events, but i’m just so darn curious as to what different experience it would have given to life for me.

If you ever want to talk about your aphantasia experience, don’t hesitate reaching out!