Dreams and aphantasia
Intriguingly, while aphantasics cannot summon mental imagery on demand, Zeman (the cognitive and behavioral neurologist who coined the word aphantasia) believes that: “Most aphantasics know what it’s like to visualize, as they experience imagery in their dreams or as they dose off to sleep.” This was confirmed by two World of Lucid Dreaming readers with aphantasia. This suggests that hypnagogic imagery and visualization close to the dreamstate draws on a different mechanism to daydreaming and visualizing during full wakefulness. However, some scientists have begun to refute this claim.
What are your dreams like? Are there visual pictures in your dreamscape? Are they visual or narrative based? Are they in color or black and white? Do you remember them when you wake up? Can you visualize them? Do you recall the narratives? Are dreams enjoyable? Scary? Lucid? Anyone have hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations like I do? Anybody wish like me to go back to dreaming whenever and however possible because dreams are the only visualizations that you are ever able to experience in your mind? My dreams feel like the only place I have the ability to imagine. I can’t visualize my dreams at all when I’m awake; it’s like they turn from motion pictures to print books when the dream is over. Closing my eyes, I see nothing, unless I’m dreaming. No amount of imagining brings any sort of visualization to bear in my mind… What about you?
I have very visual dreams. I get a little obsessed with them b/c they’re the only visual imagery I can get.
That’s awesome you can get the hypnagogic imagery to chase! I want to work on that, but not sure it’s possible. I sometimes have non visual versions where I’m following a storyline/scene, but it’s all non visual, and then I wake up from the half asleep state.
My dreams are usually very divorced from reality, I’m almost never myself, and sometimes I’m a cat, gargoyle, octopus, etc. Fighting is pretty common, as well as post apocalyptic settings. Dreamscapes themselves are visually crisp and detailed.
I really want to learn how to lucid dream, then I can use my dreams as nighttime visual imagination land ^_^
What are you hypnagogic hallucinations like? Do they have a mind of their own or are they similar to lucid dreaming in that you have some control?
I don’t dream in images, and I don’t think I ever have. Usually I barely remember my dreams. I’m not sure if that’s a side effect of not having visual dreams.
I may dream in images, but if I realize I’m dreaming (through lucid dreaming, for example, or I’m just starting to wake up) I don’t see the images. I feel like the possible images just fall apart as I become aware of them. It’s really hard to explain.
My dreams are visual. I see pretty vividly in my dreams. When I try to think about the other senses, I can’t reember if I have them in my dreams. It’s wierd but I’m not sure if I have sounds and stuff in my dreams.
I dream very vividly and often. I am a lucid dreamer and dream in first person. I don’t have control over the dream but I always know that I am dreaming so they don’t scare me or bother me at all. When I wake up I can remember what happened but of course, can’t visualize it afterwards. The dreams feel almost as real as life since they are in the first person, much like life. I’ve always found life has a dream-like quality as a result.
My dreams are a sensory overload. When I wake up I can recall sensations felt during the dream. Things like being burned alive, the wind and tears while falling, what it felt like upon impact of said fall.
For me, I don’t dream particularly often or atleast don’t remember them very frequently. I find dreams to feel quite real, and especially when I experience negative dreams or some kind of emotional dream, when I wake up, it felt very real and I’m left feeling odd or teary.
I experience hypnogogic dreams, visual and auditory. They can be very terrifying. Sometimes it is people (a portly man riding a toy rocking horse in the corner of the room, a young girl playing with a yo-yo next to me in bed, people floating on the celing, multiple pairs of black boots with trench coats lined up standing next to my head, often also just orbs of colour, sometimes a flash of a scene not where i am, like a car crash, or a child being abducted) sometimes auditory (my children screaming, a voice from under the bed whispering mommy, but it is not my child as my children are in bed with me and fast asleep). Sometimes they include "messages" not voices, but mental communications. Before finding this forum i though i was possibly schitzophrenic (only at night) or channeling spirits as i didnt have any ratiinalisation for why i was awake and experiencing this at night only.
My dream world is very vivid and almost interconnected. i can recal dreams within dreams. i have reocuring dream sensations. The feeling of a place, they are often haunted. my dreams are very morbid, first person watching others commit atrocities i cannot even write, often to children. it is very disturbing, but i never feel afraid like a nightmare, only disturbed and sad. post apocoliptic is also a big theme.
in my waking state i have no visual memory. i cannot recall my childrens faces when they are not with me. i am a photographer and can recall moments with my chikdren through memories of photographs only. its hard to explain, but almost the stillness of the photograph allows me to imprint the moment to be recalled but not the moment itself. and by recalled i mean described in words. like, i cant see my husbands face in my mind but i know he has glasses, brown hair, brown eyes and a long face and recognize him when i see him.
i would also like to highlight that i have alot of shame attached to my dreams. i dont talk about it to many because it is horrible. this forum has allowed me to feel like its not my fault
I usually have realy crazy dreams, they are weird but incredibly detailed. Sometimes they are scary and weird, but i dont remember having a normal dream or a dream with only images. theyre like a short movie also weird but in the same time very realistic. I know it sounds stupid but they are so realistic that i have big issues with them. sometimes my old dreams flash in my mind and i just cant notice that they were actually dreams or ive lived them in real life, it takes time to me to understand. its actually a big problem for me because it makes me feel like i did something i should do but irl i havent done that. its complicated… is there anyone with same problems?
“is there anyone with same problems?”, I understand completely. I like your description. I try to enjoy my scary dreams now that I’m middle aged. They used to terrify me, especially when I was a child. I had night terrors for many years. Nowdays, I have several recurring ‘nightmares’ that I’m being chased, or that I’m with people who have for instance killed somebody, and are on the run or hiding, and it haunts my when I’m awake. When I was younger, I dreamed that I looked out the window and saw, in one dream, police digging up a body in the yard, and in antother dream, I saw an astroid coming down at my house. Those memories seem very real, as if I lived them. A few times I jumped out of bed and looked out the window, expecting to see an astroid, or police tape and forsenics experts working in my yard. However, I can’t picture it when I close my eyes. It’s more of a narrative that gets laced into my memory. Sometimes my dreams are so life-like seeming that when I wake up everything seems flat, and boring, and has an unreal quality to it. My vision seems not as clear, vivid, or ‘real’ as one of those dreams. Sometimes I dream I’m able to flly by mere intention, telepathicly, without doing anything, sort of like Superman. Those dreams are fun to have, and when I wake up from them, I feel disapointed they aren’t real, and I want to go back to sleep and fly around some more. Those dreams also are bright and happy and I think they are in color. I just can’t be certain, because I don’t have any visual image of them after I wake up. It’s hard to explain if you can picture things in your head what it’s like to have a memory of a dream scene but no image of it… It seems counterintuitive, right? It sort of feels contradictory, too, emotionally. Sometimes I wish my dreams were real life and that my life was a dream because dreams feel more exciting and I actually feel more alive, if that makes any sense. As always, I thank you for your comment. You all are helping me to understand myself better.
For the most part it seems like I dream the same way I imagine. Via thoughts, words, feelings, emotions, processes, actions, not images. That said I have had some very vivid visual black and white dreams that were scary to me. I overall do not rememeber a lot of dreams.
although I can’t visualise anything [totally black] I have very vivid dreams in great detail and in colour. They are usually based on areas I,ve lived in and travelled in and seem to be more concerning my surroundings and the plot of the dream than the other people in the dream. I’ve never really had a nightmare. Remember details of dreams for only a short while after.. Sometimes sound is involved but not always.
I do not remember my dreams. There are no images.
For me dreaming is rare and when it does happen it’s like an audiobook just a narration of a story and when I wake up it ends mid sentence. There is no visual components and besides the mere minute or so trying to hang on to story all the memories is gone
I rarely dream, if at all, and when I do I can never remember what they were about. The only thing I can recall from my dreams is typically strong feelings/emotions.
I also dream in color and with imagery, but I forget everything immediately upon waking.
I’m pretty sure I dream with pictures, less sure about sound, I’m also don’t think I see faces, I just kinda know who was involved but I don’t remember seing faces. When I doze off I can see like remanents but I quicky lose them when I wake up. I rarely have nightmares, and many times I enjoy dreams that should be scary somehow; I still can remember an awesome dream I had years ago in which I was traped in a hounted house and other in which I was alone in an infested place with zombies; I remember clearly that they felt so interesting and fun and I even woke up smiling from both. I don’t think is related to aphantasia but is weird and just came to me right now.
As someone who more recently discovered that I have aphantasia, I find that I have trouble answering this question. For me, while I do not normally remember my dreams, I do from time to time dream. I know this because I will sometimes remember the contents of the dream.. but now that I try to describe it, pictures of any sort do not enter the mix. The best way that I can describe how I dream is if I were to be reading a book wherein I myself am one of the characters, or as if I were somehow telling myself a story that I consciously did not write. Interestingly enough, though, these "dreams" can illicit emotional responses, but just like a good book that is artfully crafted can make me feel deeply as well. That is to say the words move me, but not a memory associated to those words. I notice that as I have gotten older I remember more and more of my dreams.. and I think that is partly due to the fact that I do not sleep as deeply as I once did, and as such those self narrated stories that do play out in my head are a few layers more shallow than they once were, and that much closer to the surface for my conscious mind to percieve.
I have very vivid dreams. I can see my dreams very well while I’m asleep. When I’m awake, I can’t see my dreams, I can only remember the details. It is very hard to explain to someone who is non-aphantasic, but I think that you and other people who have this can understand.
I have only flickers in my waking world. Just enough to know the image is stored, but it flashes and is gone after I have thought of it. The harder I try to recover it, the blacker it gets.
So my dreams are usually a mystery to me, however I do occasionally wake up and find I have just been having a very visual dream. Usually I wake up in the middle of it with the images in my head. But, just like the flicker, it fades away like an old fashioned valve TV switching off.
Once it has faded, just like the flicker, there is nothing left but blackness. There is the memory that there were images, that things were going on and that the dream meant something. But, mostly, the images, sense and content of the dream is gone within 10 minutes.
I have no sound, smell or taste in my head. Just the logical knowledge that I posess smell, taste and sound abilities. This does not appear in the dreams. Only the images.
My dreams are not THAT vivid but I do get them. I don’t realise that I’m dreaming when I am. So I can’t make myself fly or anything in dreams. I usually dream about bad things. But I get a lot of dreams about bunkers. Which is apparently telling you that your subconscious is at work in your everyday life and is changing. I don’t dream often. And I don’t EVER remember what’s in the bunkers. But I enjoy dreaming all the same because it’s the only time I ever get to imagine things.
I used to have imagination as a child. But it started fading quickly. I remember vividly when I was 14 and my boyfriend had just broken up with me, I tried to remember his face. I couldn’t bring it up. That’s when I started ignoring it the most and bragging to friends that I had the BEST imagination out there. I would boarder on bullying them about theirs "not being as good as mine" because I didn’t know how to cope with being a writer with no imagination. It was my whole identity to me. And for it to suddenly one day leave me??? It was like someone taking a limb. I never mentioned it to anyone until I went into hospital (psychiatric. Which leads me to tell you that I CAN hallucinate with my mental health disorders. I just can’t consciously do it) and they didn’t even know the name for it. I tried Googleing it but no such luck when I first tried.
Almost six months later (I’m 21) and I’ve JUST found out what it’s called and there’s a community for it. I don’t feel so alone now. I thought the percentage of the population that had it would something like .000002% and now I find out it’s 3%!!! BIG deal for me. Someone reach out and talk to me? I’m saving this page and I’ll check it every week or so for a few months in case anyone replies. I just want to talk to someone who has what I have. I feel like it’s such a burden and I just want to relate and talk to somebody about it. I’m not sure if this is allowed. But my name’s Hannah Bethany Cooksley on Facebook. So reach out there if you don’t wanna wait for me to see your reply.
I score 1 on all the test questions there is nothing, however I have the most horrific nightmares and I know when I am having them I am seeing everything. When I wake I know what I saw but it would be impossible for me to visualize them. I just have the upsetting memory of them.
I do have Dreams but not very often and they are usually symbolic in some way but I never see anythin I just feel it almost like I. Avatar and the last Airbender toph foot thing I don’t have to stomp and nothing is outline I just feel it and I know that its there and know what color it is but I cant see all there is is black
I have very visual and sensory oriented dreams where I am able to smell, taste, hear, feel, almost like actually there in that moment. Sometimes I am even able to do things like play guitar even though I have no experience whatsoever with instruments. One time, I had a dream that was in black and white, in Japanese and in an anime style cartoon. I do not speak a lick of Japanese, nor do I know how to draw cartoons. How is this possible if I am phantasic?