I think back many years to my childhood, and I can remember my grandparents garden. It was a long garden with a wood at the end with paths running through it. I can remember the layout, the placement of trees, sheds, workshops.
Going deeper I can remember the steps, where they were, how many there were, the colour of the paving, the placement of minor details like BBQ and statues.
My point is, if I can't visualise, how am I able to remember all this fine detail.
My feeling is, we store the memories the same as everyone else, but we are unable to connect the memories to a visual representation in our mind.
I feel as though we are able to store memories to the same degree as people who can visualise, the difference to me seems to be in the retrieval of the memory.
Individual details of a persons face, I may be able to remember, hair colour, eye colour and skin tone. However, beyond that I can't recreate their face to explain to someone what they look like, or to attempt to draw a representation of them. This could be down to my lack of artistic skills, however, I feel like the information is in my mind, but I am unable to retrieve it in a meaningful way.
I feel as though, when I close my eyes (it is black) and try to remember something, it is as though I get a fleeting feeling of the whole memory, but I am then forced to work systematically through the memory from bottom left to top right, remembering each segment as I go to be able to form a whole.
To explain this, I mean that I know what the memory is, but as I can't see the whole picture, I work slowly, step by step through the memory, trying to build the whole picture, like word by word I form a sentence. The memory is in my mind, in all its glorious detail, but retrieving that information isn't possible as a visual whole.
This leads me to think I am storing the memory in just the same way as everyone else, but I can't see it in my mind.
However, I've heard some visualisers say that they can relive memories like a video being played in their mind. Now this is where my "theory" stumbles. If I remember a place, or even a memory that was a movement memory, like a roller coaster or a plane taking off. I feel like my memories are only ever stored as pictures, snapshots of time waiting to be retrieved.
Perhaps I have stored this memory as a video in my mind, but because I need to retrieve it piece by piece, I pause the video memory and retrieve it descriptively from an image in my memory.
Is my mind storing my memories of loved ones just as visualisers do, but my ability to retrieve the memory is "broken". Perhaps I can't store the memory as visualisers can in the first place, so my memory storage and retrieval is different to non aphantasmics.
Do we store our memories in the same way as non aphantasmics. That is a question I believe that will be answered in time with further research. However, I want to open the floor to discussion on this, as I want to know how people feel regarding stored memories.
How do you feel you store memories, in a limited way, or the same as everyone else with issues in retrieving the memory? Please leave comments below.