Aphantasia and sensory overload in the outside world


I am a self-diagnosed multisensory aphantasic with a very clear case of SDAM.

So let´s consider my mind at rest. No images, no sounds. The only thing in there is my internal monolog. I know it is not really auditory because there is no volume control.  If i want music it is me singing and me humming  – nothing else.

It is nice and cozy in here. calm. peaceful. much better than those beaches they say you should think about when meditating. all those wave noises, no thank you. If i want total peace i just tell myself to stop talking.

what happens, however, when i step out into the world? Images, noise, bussle. too much, too much, I want to go home!

I am exagerating. Typically this only happens in places like street markets or other very transited places. I have to leave and find somewhere peaceful.

This latter condition is called Agoraphobia and i have been clinically diagnosed with this condition. So no suspect self-diagnosis.

The Agoraphobia diagnosis was very helpful for me personally and socially. i could explain my panic attacks. however, with my discovery of Aphantasia i realized it was not a phobia (irrational fear) but a sensory overload. In the Aphantasic womb that is my house things are calm. Probably a 1 on the stimulation scale. Outside in a busy, populated, noisy place it changes to a 10.

So my Agoraphobia seems to be no more than a consequence of my Aphantasia.

Are there others out there than have both conditions?






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I learn this very evening that I have severe multi symptom aphantasia. I’m completely blown away. I seriously didn’t know I was this different. I wanted to say that I feel for you and your condition. I have the opposite issue in that when I’m alone I have nothing, except for that constant loud verbal monologue, which send my anxiety through the roof. I have a nervous twitch where I can set still and the rocking brings more anxiety. So although opposite, I feel the pain. And on a side note I now know why typing and spelling are so hard for me. Does anyone else have a horrible time remembering which one is the b and which is the d. I get them switched all the time.  

I haven’t been diagnosed with anything. I have aphantasia and can relate to what you said.

I get sensory overload when its a sudden change from quiet to loud. When I’m stressed or tired sound tends to easily overwhelm me, lights sometimes too.

I have never been diagnosed with agrophobia but I very much prefer my own company and life as a recluse has been and remains a benefit during COVID. Crowds are my idea of hell and I would never put myself in a situation – so I have never marched, rallied, been caught up in a mob. Has to be something really special to think of going to the theatre.
Tinitus is a pain which I manage to mask by accepting enjoyable/encouraging earworms