I’m only now fully realizing it and admitting it the uniqueness of it. That said, I’ve always intuitively known, I think, but I’ve had to painfully suppress it throughout my youth due to others having little tolerance for it in their lives.
Until recently, I guess I thought everyone could vividly imagine (and remember) across all their senses, including motor, place-based, real and fantasized, pleasing and traumatic. It wasn’t until reading Temple Grandin’s Visual Thinking that it occurred to me that other people had different levels of ability on a sense-by-sense basis. I took the assessments and discovered that I’m hyperphantasic across the entire spectrum of senses. It freaked me out, to be honest. It was a bit overwhelming.
It was a revelation that brought a sense of relief but also grief and loss. After many years of wondering why others couldn’t seem to see the world or imagine things as I do, all the self- and societal invalidation that accompanied that confusion suddenly had a simple explanation. I actually do see and imagine things differently than 99%+ percent of others. That, at least (ironically), wasn’t in my imagination.
I now have a partial answer for why I’ve been so successful in my field and struggled in relationships. I often feel clairvoyant in planning and predicting outcomes. My emotions feel blended with others and large groups. I get lost in my imagination as it’s superimposed over our reality. If I’m not careful, others have difficulty relating to how I express my ideas (i.e., hyper-sensorially). A big, new question is, what do I do with this now that I understand it better? How do I begin advocating for my needs more effectively while also humbly considering diverse experiences in my work and relationships?