Aphantasia and anxiety

Shayne Hanks asked 10 months ago


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Hi all,

I am 46 years old, based in Australiam, and only discovered that I have aphantasia last year. I work as a Sport Psychologist and have worked extensively over the last 20 years with athletes and performers – many of whom experience significant and debilitating levels of performance anxiety or nevousness during competition (sport) or performing for others (dance, singing, music). One of the key components of anxiety is worrying. Typically, worrying takes the form of “what ifs” questions that individuals ask in their mind and for whom the consequences (of the what if) are thought to be undesirable or unpleasant. One of the strategies for coping with anxiety is to be in the moment -focusing on the present rather than worrying about the future.

During these discussions with my clients I often reflect that my experience of performance anxiety and also more generalised anxiety is highly limited. Not only do I not experience noticable levels of anxiety, it seems to me that I am also the least anxious person that I know and I spend almost zero time engaging in worrying. I also often live in the moment and I wonder to what extent that is because I can not see any sort of visual image that represents the future of the undesirable “what ifs” that others create in their mind’s eye.

Thoughts and experiences of others with aphantasia?

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