Curious what aphantasia means? Ask questions, share perspectives. Connect with many minds.
Has there been any studies regarding mental illness that manifests in hallucinations being experienced by Aphantasics? In my nursing training during psych rotations, there were a number of people that experienced hallucinations. It occurs to me now that I understand my aphantasia (total), that a hallucination would be extremely disturbing.
It would be interesting to me to find out if Aphantasics are either less likely, or incapable of hallucinations from mental illness.
So this just popped into my mind but do you think that aphantasia can affect disorders, for example how someone experiences ADHD or Autism? I have suspected or about a year now that I have a form of ADHD but haven’t done anything about it as I can’t fully relate to the whole being distracted by a daydream type thing. I’ve been suspected of having autism but I don’t feel it fits but having inattentive ADHD would make sense and clear up many issues that I’ve struggled with in the past but I just can’t get as distracted by things in my mind as, well, there’s almost nothing distracting in my mind; no visual distractions, no physical distractions, no sensory imaginations there to distract me (except sound, I’m almost fully aphantasic except sound). I can still get distracted by a crow outside the window or just find it more compelling to look outside the window and be lost in my own thoughts rather than listen to a teacher drone on about a topic I find dis-interesting or I have to force myself to read something over and over again just so I can comprehend it as my mind just doesn’t want to focus (which ends up not working anyway but I found a way around it thankfully). So yeah that’s my question; Does aphantasia affect the way we experience disorders?
Hi, I’m Ducky and I have multi-sensory aphantasia ^^
I can only imagine sounds or voices or music or songs in my mind, sometimes with control over it but mostly I can’t control it and I also can’t imagine a sound I have never heard before.
When I was in secondary school (aka Highschool) I had a hard time in maths and sometimes english because I was just slower than everyone else – I couldn’t focus on reading the books we were assigned to read without watching a movie adaptation first as all of the details describing things would bore me and were seen as unnecessary to me as I didn’t understand that people could actually world build in their heads – Or with maths, I was slower as I couldn’t visualise a 3D shape and then tell you how many points it had or I had to physically write down all of my equations as I couldn’t do too much mental maths as I would get lost and needed the numbers there physically to figure out where I was in the equation. Little did I know throughout the first couple years of highschool, I had aphantasia and others could actually SEE the equations in their head and do the mental maths fully as they could see the numbers or just calculate it quicker as their brains were wired to do that. People could world build so focusing on reading a book was so easy to the point they could get lost in it and could easily recall a small detail like the shape of a character’s nose or other things. Some things like spelling could be an issue as people without aphantasia (I assume) can just imagine the word and change the letters at will and I had to write down on a piece of paper the alternate spellings. Art was sometimes a struggle as people would need WAY less references than me and were able to just start drawing a face or something else without planning ahead while I had to plan the face shape physically, try colours together to see if they paired nicely whereas others could just see it in their head and test the colours mentally and I was stuck wasting time doing it physically. I believe that if my school provided extra time (which they did once because I took a test that showed I needed extra time but then they took it away from me after I took the EXACT same test again so I remembered the answers making me finish quicker making me appear normal) I would have been given the same opportunities that other students had. I don’t believe that aphantasia is always a learning disability but it proved to me to be a learing difficulty as I couldn’t achieve the same as my peers when given the same amount of time but if they provided me with a little more time, I could achieve the same, if not better results. I remember in my English exam I took quite a while just blocking out a narrative and planning it out as I couldn’t world build so creating something new based off of a vague prompt was slightly more difficult (Luckily I still earned myself a grade 8 which is about a B). Thankfully creating narratives isn’t too hard as I love movies so I can understand plots and tropes and add them to my own narratives and also I can mimic the details and descriptions that other authors use in a way that makes it appear that I could see this picture in my head and I was painting it in the reader’s head. Anyway, I also had a bit of a road bump when I had to do another english exam, this time about literature; part of the exam was reading paragraphs and then having to answer questions about it and I took so much time having to go back and read the text over and over again as with no visual ways to help me remember details I had to spend a lot of my time reading text over and over again (it was a miracle that I also achieved a grade 8 on that exam too, I have no idea how I pulled it off, I don’t even remember actually finishing all of the questions). I didn’t do too well on any of my maths exams (luckily I passed with the lowest passing grade) because of this visualisation issue – I remember filling the pages given for your working out and equations on it and I remember having a weird way of calculating the answer (probably due to another issue that I haven’t addressed like possible ADHD or Autism, I should really talk to my psychiatrist about a possible diagnosis).
This just got wayyyyyy too long heheh sorry, back to what you actually came here for: Should teachers give extra help to students with aphantasia? I believe that yes, they should, if I had extra time or something physical to better help me visualise as my fellow students could just visualise in their mind, I believe I would have had more equal opportunities and wouldn’t have struggled as much in my studies. I believe that not EVERY person with aphantasia will need extra help but if a student brings up their concerns about their aphantasia affecting their learning experience then there should be a discussion about what can be put in place to give the student equal learning opportunities. But that’s just my opinion based on how I wish my school would have helped me with my aphantasia. I clearly still did well in school despite it and I still love art when it’s not on a time limit and I can give myself all of the resources that I need but what do you all think? I’d love to hear all of your thoughts and feelings about this topic so feel free to share them and I’ll try to read them all when I have the time and I hope this can bring up a great discussion in the comments whether it’s with me or with each other.
Have a nice day, night, afternoon, or whatever it may be ^^
Hi, I just discovered I have aphantasia. I have had anxiety problems all my life. A few years ago I started making lifestyle changes to help. At one point I wanted to start meditating. Many were image guided and this would only cause me more stress. I couldn’t keep up with the speaker, as I was just talking myself through it. It was then I started to question if people could see things in their mind’s eye. Why would the majority of meditations I found be based on imagery if others couldn’t see.
My siblings are very intelligent and gifted. I always thought I was just the “normal” one. I found out they all could visualize mentally. This blows my mind! Now I wonder how much easier school would have been for me if I didn’t have aphantasia.
I do dream in images, but not every night. I always thought I had a great imagination, and now I am jealous of those that can actually see what they imagine.
I am an athlete who appears to have aphantasia, struggling with conventional wisdom to employ visualization techniques as a rehearsal/practice method.
Worse, since I don’t see images in my mind, I’m struggling even more to find resources on how athletes like me take advantage of visualization-like techniques as a practice method. I am making it up as I go along and I can’t tell whether any of it is truly helping.
Is _nobody_ writing about how people with aphantasia–or merely not-very-vivid visualization abilities–do effective mental rehearsal for their sport?!
I’m 17 years old and have had total, multi-sensory aphantasia all my life, although I only realized mental senses could even exist a few months ago. From what I’ve gathered, the vast majority of people with aphantasia have a hard time with memory (especially people/faces), but I don’t have nearly as much difficulty, and I think I know why. As a young child, my mom would play a game with me called Velma Vision, which was very focused on memory. I have noticed that when I’m describing a person, I do it in the exact way that my mom taught me to describe the characters in Velma Vision, who would appear for only a few seconds before you had to recreate what they looked like. My mom always had me learn their faces in order of eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, face shape, hair, then ears. From then on I have memorized and described people in that exact order with extreme detail, even better than some “normal” people can, without even realizing it. There’s obviously never any sort of picture in my mind as I do this, I just logically know that those are the features of whoever I’m describing. Although I definitely still struggle with memorizing certain people/things (if I don’t care that much or something else is happening, I don’t bother to put effort into memorizing anything), it seems to be nowhere near as hard for me as others with aphantasia describe. I’m fully convinced my mom inadvertently trained my memory and that without this training I would be hopeless at remembering and describing people.
Due to a discussion regarding books and the making of films after, my partner said he didn’t like it because the characters weren’t like he Imagined, to which I replied oh I like it because it makes more sense to me because I never imagine them. Hence the big discussion of how can I not imagine them and that if he reads a book he’s seeing everything in his mind. This as really messed with my head and made me realise why I’ve never really enjoyed reading because in just reading words. Sorry if this doesn’t make any sense but it all new to me. Ps plus I’m rubbish at technology so don’t even know if this is where I’m suppose to be writing this. But thank you 😊
I just discovered yesterday that I probably have aphantasia. I’m 34 and did not realized that other people can see images in their mind. I assumed they were speaking figuratively. My mind is a bit blown right now as I digest everything. It’s already made a lot of things in my past start to “click” and it’s pretty emotional. Did anyone else have this experience?
Another question. Does everyone else struggle with memory? I don’t remember most of my childhood but could never figure out why. Is this maybe the cause?