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How do you cope with Aphantasia?

DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsHow do you cope with Aphantasia?
Kaleb GolemKaleb Golem asked 3 months ago

I recently learned through a friend about "aphantasia"

"You can’t be serious, people can actually literally see as if they had their eyes open when their eyes are shut instead of just seeing a blue, red, and black static?!" I exclaimed in utter disbelief, and because I’m limited to a blue, red, and black prison I still have a hard time accepting that peope can see so vividly without seeing. As I’m sure anyone reading this would know though, it’s real, and I can’t deny that.

Here comes a bit of a sob story but stay with me, I’m not seeking empathy.

My whole life I’ve lived inside my head. I’ve never had many friends, none at certain points, so I had to make my own fun and the best place to do it was in my imagination. I use "imagination" with a pinch of salt because I never really "imagined" anything, I could only provide a description of varying detail. It was enough though because it was my escape; It didn’t have to be perfect it just had to be better. As I got older though things became so bad that it just wasn’t cutting it anymore… No… It isn’t cutting it anymore. Now I know though that this whole time I’ve been essentially running MS-DOS while the majority of people are using Windows 10.

So, why have I come here eh? A few reasons. I needed to get it off my chest, the knowledge that I’m missing out on so much while the real world takes it toll on me… well, let’s just say that I started crying while I typed that and move on before I hate myself for admitting that. I also want to know if there’s anything bleeding edge, fringe, or tried and proven that can help me update my firmware (I couldn’t resist :P)? This last one is for anyone who can understand how nessecary it is to have that kind of an escape, How do you cope with not having such vivid imagery?

1 Answers
Rachel CicconeRachel C answered 3 months ago

Hi Kaleb. Welcome to the community!

Image streaming is one way to “improve” mental imagery. Usually you rub your eyes really hard and make out shapes from the splotches that appear in your vision. There are better descriptions online, but that’s the gist. I’ve tried it before, but didn’t find it very useful. It might be useful to you, though.

I don’t really know how I cope without having mental imagery. I’ve talked about this a few times on this site, but I’m an artist and writer. Both typically need mental imagery to be effective, but I’ve done both without a lot of issues. So it’s not completely impossible to do things that require mental imagery, but it might be more difficult. For a long time I felt like a sham for being a writer but not having mental imagery, but I feel like it’s made my writing stronger in a way. I can instantly translate thought into words no problem. I’ve heard other people who just think in images and just can’t translate it into words. So we do have our strengths.

I think the best way to ‘cope’ is to learn to accept it. It might take a while, but I totally understand feeling bitter about it.

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