I've just discovered this place and wanted to introduce myself and share a bit of my story. I was involved in a head-on collision in 2009 whereby I hit my head (front right, forehead) leading to concussion and 10 stitches. Following weeks of recovery, I started to realise that I couldn't visualise anything, couldn't generate images, couldn't recall events in my life (or more to the point, couldn't associate imagery with the narrative of those events), couldn't dream/daydream or have nightmares. I tried to explain this to various professionals, with the general consensus being I had post-concussion syndrome and that it should improve with time. However, 14 years on and it's not improved at all, becoming worse as medium/long-term memory has worsened as stories fade without the imagery that usually supports it.
Basically, I had to learn to deal with this myself as there was no handbook or reference manual for losing one's 'mind's eye'. Though it was more than that, it had a considerable impact in terms of learning (I was primarily a visual learner), usually replaying a skill or learned task in my mind until I had it locked away. Other things that I would have taken for granted had all but disappeared, such a recalling a map/route or the face of a family member, or even regaling friends with stories of the past because the story is missing. I don't know how many others have 'acquired aphantasia' rather than living with this since birth, but I must admit, it's a pain in the arse and does have considerable impact on your day-to-day life, having lost something that was once to vivid and tangible. That said, I remain optimistic and keep looking for ways to develop myself and improve. Also, I've recently started taking Lions Mane Capsules in the hope that this may repair whatever damage was caused at impact, be interested to hear if anyone has tried this or other supplements.
Other than that, I'd been keen to hear from others in this position, or anyone who has an interest is this area. Thanks all:)
Living with Acquired Aphantasia
I can’t believe I’m reading this…your words are exactly what it’s like to experience life coming from the opposite direction (always having aphantasia) and then finding out you have it, and then trying to relearn how to perceive the world as the other 98% of people do. Your second paragraph especially…”usually replaying a skill or learned task in my mind until I had it locked away” OMG I WISH…but now that I know people do things like that I can perceive everything more consistent with everyone else. And I am screenshooting this and showing it to people because people do not take me seriously or understand the gravity because it’s hard to explain something to people when the thing you’re trying to explain to them is something they, as you said, “take for granted” or almost instinctively/automatically do. When I do get someone to listen and discuss this with they can’t figure out how I’ve been able to do anything in life because mental imagery is apparently SUCH a huge part of the human experience…and I didn’t know for 40 years! I mean, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t understand how a map related to the city I was navigating my whole life…it was as if the map was a completely different thing than the city it represented to me; I have no idea what my mother looks like unless she is in front of me and I don’t see my niece’s little curls in her hair when I leave her house, as my sister said she does; I’ve never daydreamed (I always thought “zoning out” was daydreaming), I never dream, I have no nightmares and I have absolutely no imagination…I can conceptualize something I have experienced before, but I cannot EVER come up with something original, like when my niece asks me to “pretend we’re in a castle” and I always panicked because I can’t do that, to me we are still in the living room, but apparently to her she is all dressed in a gown, coming down a huge staircase, etc…like she actually can SEE that. In the 4 years since I’ve found out I’ve had this, not a day has gone by where I don’t get surprised by something that I wouldn’t have noticed before.
I am so sorry for your loss of your mind’s eye…and I don’t mean to be insensitive by sounding excited about reading about your misfortune…it just reminds me how real this is AND how much it affected the course of my life. Thank you so much for sharing…I hope you get back what you used to have. I’m far too scared to even dabble in “fixing” it because (a) it would be terribly distracting I would assume and (b) if I could close my eyes and be somewhere else or do any of that stuff, I probably wouldn’t open them again lol. Cheers!