I Visualized Once and Discovered I couldn’t Anymore?..


I discovered that I might have/had aphantasia, a little over a year ago. I was going to sleep a lot later than usual and I felt peculiar and I was thinking of a drawn face and somehow the image appeared in my mind’s eye, then I pictured another object and it worked as well. Here’s the catch it was colorless (blank and white) and unclear. I haven’t been able to do anything like this since and I’m very confused about what this means, do you have any answers?

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Hi! This sounds like it might be hypnagogic imagery, which occurs during the period between sleep and wakefulness, and is linked to the sleep deprivation you described (this article sums it up pretty well). Though the imagery experienced during this period is labelled a hallucination, people are often able to manipulate at least a bit of what they see, explaining why you were able to control what images you were seeing.

Some people with aphantasia (including myself) have reported experiences of hypnagogic imagery, suggesting that it is likely linked to different parts of the brain than typical visual imagery! This old discussion post has a lot more information about this phenomenon (as well as some anecdotes of aphantasiacs experiencing it), as does this Reddit post and this article from the World of Lucid Dreaming.