I have been researching aphantasia since discovering the term and feeling a rush of relief that the way I experience mental visualization, or lack thereof, is a recognized condition. I have always had strong issues with mental visualization… many failed attempts at playing pool, for example. I also have had to look people up and examine their recent photos in order to remember basic features, such as whether they have a mustache, even when I see them daily and for many years.
Dreaming is the only way that I mentally visualize people and things, and although I know what they are “meant to be” in the dream, they are never extremely vivid/detailed, and my tendency to wake up and feel that I have dreamed at all during that sleep cycle is a rarity. I might recall having a dream once every few months?
But after years of amphetamine and cathinone abuse, I can now hallucinate as vividly as real life, albeit against my will. It was a long integration process though; my first hallucinations looked like crude sketches at best. Then after a few episodes of the hallucinations as they were there would be a “graphics package upgrade” as I called it, and they’d be more real than before. After about 20 times they “leveled up,” I now have hallucinations that look as real as any other thing in front of me. And it’s of note…my auditory hallucinations have been 100% realistic from day one of their appearance in my mind.
However I still can’t visualize things in my mind as more than a shell of how they actually are. And my dreams are no more real than before. Does anyone have similar experiences that seem to cause a strange dichotomy with the limits and languages of their imagination through different channels?