Aphantasia and mental illness
Since this is brain business, I’ve been wondering if aphantasia and mental illness may possibly have some kind of link? I have bipolar disorder and grew up with severe anxiety, which was treated with mindfullness which did NOT work! I now wonder if that is because I cannot picture the beach I’m supposed to be walking on…
Has anyone else struggled with mindfulness/meditation?
Does anyone else have mental illness too? The brain is so connected and complex, I can’t help but wonder if there could be something there.
I definitely think my anxiety and depression is less than it normally would be because of my aphantasia. As I’m forced to be in the present, I think it helps ground me more than someone with anxiety and mental images would be. However, because I’m constantly in the moment, the emotions I feel when I’m anxious or upset is incredibly overwhelming. i can almost not think of anything else because I HAVE nothing else to really fall back on. It’s sort of a Catch 22 I suppose.
hello, new member here funnily enough because my therapist mentioned aphantasia – i have been describing this phenomenom for many years both to peers and other therapists, i have struggled with mental health most of my life and i think in reflection aphantasia probably adds to my frustrations more than anything with memory loss (visual memory and cues) which often lead to disorienting situations
I find that meditation, at least in the sense where they ask you imagine being somewhere else is rather useless. Someone could play waves crashing which has a soothing effect from assocation, but I’m not imagining a beach to go with it. Just the memories and emotions associated with it. And by memories, I mean my reflections of the matter? I find it really hard to word my memories because I don’t quite see them but there are just things I know, y’know? But, to answer your question, I have a plethora of diagnosed anxiety disorders as well as major depressive disorder. Talking through things is usually how I work through things, rather than meditating. I have to speak it out loud to make sense of it. I don’t see futures I’m afraid but I think about what could happen and that is what sets off my PTSD or panic disorder. I feel as though everything is very highly emotion based. And sometimes the stimulation around can put me right back in a moment of time that I might not be able to place, but instead of replaying the memory, I’m replaying the feelings I had when I last had the same scent, breeze, vocal alignment, etc.
I personally think there is a connection there, but I’m a designer, not a psychologist and it is not within my realm to research. But, as someone who has been digging through research papers about aphantasia, a lot of documented papers seem to say that those with aphantasia are less likely to have mental illness and less likely to experience epilepsy, strokes, etc. I think there is room for many studies to be done in regards to mental health and aphantasia!