Ugh, okay, I can only see your responses if I’m not logged in so I’m gna try and respond to you via memory here. I hear you on all fronts in your reply, and I agree with you in a broad sense. I believe that all is not terrible with aphantasia, that we could have worse “conditions” or “unforeseen things that happen to us” and that we have to look at the positive side of this…one hundred I agree. There are courses and articles out there with things like workshops of how to start to visualize things…but I am by no means in a position to try and change the handbook of life I’ve been “writing” since infancy. I’m scared to death of what would happen if I could conjure things up in my mind…like I said before, I am not entirely sure I’d ever come back to reality if I had a literal “Happy Place” versus my metaphorical one, right? This place SUCKS a lot of the time, especially as you get older. It compounds past bullshit and then increasingly throws more at you. I mean, ultimately and for real, we should get a free pass at Reality for the rest of our lives from non-aphants because we’re always stuck here and they can go to their Happy Place or have Calgon take them away. We’re always here. And maybe life doesn’t even compound on them or maybe life increasingly sucks less for them because they really do get to escape or do get to free themselves from reality for a little while, from meditation to just remembering a funny story and laughing, who knows. All I know is that I don’t ever escape, I’ve never been able to really escape…even one vacations I’m still on the same wavelength. I mean, space and time mean so little to me conceptually that I’ve said for years that when I go somewhere, whether it be flying to see family or simply driving to the grocery store, it feels like the ground is moving underneath me and I’m always in the same place. I’m never moving or going anywhere, even though I physically know I am (Note: I chalked that one up to self-centered sociopathism, also #eyeroll). Further WHY ARE THERE EVEN FUNERAL HOMES IF PEOPLE CAN RE-ENVISION THAT??? That’s pretty masochistic if you ask me haha.
I think there are 2 or 3 distinct differences between you and I (and this I’ve deduced from our years of knowing one another, lol). First, I think that you have a better understanding what non-aphants can see because you’ve actually seen it (or actually visualized it, twice I think). So you have a better understanding than I do of what “visualizing images” even is. I know you don’t remember it or cannot recall it very well (or at all), but you have previously experienced it. Any attempt by me to “act like I know” or think I can understand their conceptualizations is futile. Secondly, and seemingly somewhat conversely to my first point, it appears that your experience of aphantasia is farther on the dark end of the spectrum than mine…not that there can be much room that way because it’s pitch dark to me…like so dark a photograph apparently cannot develop in there HAHA…but your “being in the present” is stronger than mine. I’m having a hard time with the phrase “being in the present” because that was somewhere I was striving to be, somewhere that I have literally always been working on trying to get to not knowing that the present is really all I have, other than memories I can recall (that may or may not even be accurate). I mean from my therapist to my friends and family to clients even, they always are telling me to not overthink and just “be or live in the now”. So I didn’t know I already was here this whole time, if I even am. I mean, I understand “out of sight out of mind”, and I don’t miss people like other people do, and I have the same experience with death that you do, but I can recall things that I have experienced. They aren’t in images, but I remember them however it is I remember them and I reminisce with people about the same past event and it doesn’t feel like I remember any less than they do. And every time I see a leaf I don’t think of it as the first time I’m seeing a leaf (and I may have desensitized myself to that, because we see so many leaves so many times in our lives), so maybe it is that. I know that I cannot plan and I literally thought “goals” were euphemistic and not something that one really works toward. I am, however, able to somewhat impute myself into a future even IF and only if I have personally experienced that same event in my past…like car crashes…I can foresee me being in a car crash because I have been in car crashes before. The “future” crashes I am foreseeing are almost exactly the same crashes I’ve been in in the past, just set in the future. And if I wanted to climb Mt. Fuji one day, I could probably envision that because I watch so much geography and nature shit that I can impute that to some extent. I cannot, however, picture myself with a family…I was even engaged once and it was never that real to me. So, I just thought and told everyone “I don’t want kids, I don’t SEE myself with kids (shocker #eyerollagain)” but that is because I was unable to see it, and that potential missed opportunity makes me sad. (Side note: I have since apologized to my prior boyfriends because “I must have been emotionally distant” and they all, separately, agreed with me with such amazement that those words were even coming out of my mouth like they had been waiting to hear me say it since the day we broke up. I mean JESUS!)
Lastly, I think that this is new to you and you’re grappling with it and perhaps using positivity to make it tolerable…or you’re really at peace with it (and a far better person than I), or it hasn’t changed your life experience and you’re good with it. However, from where I’m standing and if I understand your story correctly, you were LITERALLY diagnosed with seeing hallucinations because you were telling people that you can SEE shit that isn’t there JUST LIKE THEY CAN!!! If that doesn’t PISS YOU OFF, then teach me whatever it is you got, because that happening to you pisses ME off and I don’t even know you. I know it’s no one’s fault, not even our own, but come on. I can empathize with that so much because had visions came to me suddenly I would be on every rooftop screaming it until they institutionalized me…because I would have thought I was the only one who could do it. Shit, that’s kind of what happened when I found out. Which was because I had one of those half-awake, half-asleep dreams once where I saw a vivid purple smoke AND I could manipulate the way it dissipated in the air. The background was still black but the purple was SO vivid and it had lighter densities as it dissipated. I got up SO FAST and RAN to my sister’s house to tell her and her man about what I had seen and they looked at me like “aaaannnnddd…”and he said “yeah, I’m looking at it right now…so what happens?” and I just stared at him like “what?” “You just pulled that up as I was telling you the story about my dream and are WAITING FOR MORE like it’s ON DEMAND?!?!” And I could see both of their faces and felt their authenticity and how they were seriously waiting for more to that story. I never saw that purple smoke again and nothing that real ever was in my head before or after.
Then I broke down about it, but after a few weeks I thought, “Hey, I’m good, I’ve done well this far, they see shit in their head and I don’t, never stopped me from winning before.”
That was until it did.
I wrote WAY more, but it was double what I’ve already written so I’m going to post it as another discussion and call it “How my Aphantasia made me Delusional and Altered the Course of My Life”, so if you want to read it, it’s there. I hope I didn’t offend you in any way in this response. I’m just so shook about all of this and talking about it helps me work through it, so know that I appreciate you. Good luck with everything.