Aphantasia Caused by Trauma?

Juliet Peake asked 1 day ago
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As there’s limited research out there, it seems it’s only speculated that Aphantasia can be linked to trauma. In my case, I believe this is true. I experienced childhood trauma which didn’t affect me until I was a teenager and understood what happened. I believe I was previously able to visualise before then and it slowly went away without my knowledge, which would have been around the same time my trauma started affecting me.

To those comfortable answering this question: Do you think your Aphantasia was caused by trauma? If so, was it childhood trauma? And if not, do you have any ideas what could have caused it?

Larry Mar Cille January 10, 2021 10:51 am

I just discovered this website AND only within the past month even discovered that Aphantasia was even a thing. I totally discovered this by accident while looking at an online article that asked me to visualize a star and pick the photo that most looked like what I saw – which was NOTHING.

Your question about trauma intrigues me. At 47, I have come to realize that I have suffered from acute social anxiety disorder and persistent depressive disorder since my earliest memories (which would be at 4 years old).

I definitely endured a LOT of childhood trauma. Home was like walking on eggshells. I never knew if my mother would be happy or angry. She screamed at me every single day at the intensity one would use if they were trying to stop someone with headphones on from walking in the path of a moving bus. She would say things to me like, "You think this food tastes like shit? Someday you’ll eat shit and then you’ll know what shit tastes like," or, "You think you’re better than other people? You’re not! You need to check yourself!"

She never beat me with her hands, but she did beat me with her words every single day.

Once I started school, I was an immediate outcast and was visciously bullied by other boys from Kindergarten clear up through graduation from high school.

I hated myself and would not look at anyone when speaking to them. When walking I would only look at my feet or the ground directly in front of my feet.

No adults ever helped me despite my intense anxiety and fear of people.

The result: as a child I had chronic canker sores. My mother believed it was because of chocolate and other acidic foods. I have since learned it was from stress and SLS containing toothpastes. As an adult, I only get canker sores if I use regular toothpaste OR have an unusually high level of stress.

The result? At 47 I quit my elementar school teaching career of 23 years and have become a hermit, and am completely dependent upon my husband lest I find myself homeless.

Can I visualize? Not at all. I can in dreams but even with dreams I only have a couple a year. People say that we all dream every single night but if that’s true, my mind prevents me from ever being aware of it.

Did trauma cause this? It’s hard to say. My mother can’t visualize either BUT she was also brought up in a home with an exceptionally unhappy and critical mother so she had her own childhood trauma.

I’ll be curious to read the thoughts of others who comment on your post in the future.

Juliet Peake replied 4 hours ago

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear all of that, I hope you’re a lot less stressed now and with someone who treats you right. Emotional abuse can really be as horrific as physical, or any other kind of abuse. I hope you also find ways of being independant, although in this current climate, I know that may be extremely challenging.

It’s interesting that your mother can’t visualise either. Perhaps it’s genetic or due to both of your pasts… Like you said, it will be interesting to see if anyone else has any ideas from their experiences.

Best wishes x

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