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TOPIC: Learning to visualise

Learning to visualise 2 years 8 months ago #4352

  • moyer
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I have to agree with jmever on this part

"(I can do visualization, I just don't get visuals from it)" is an incorrect use of the word visualization. No matter how many steps of a particular visualization technique that you perform, if a visual image is not achieved, you have not visualized."

Mental imagery/visualization is pretty obvious to me for what it is (on the occasion that i experience it) and not at all confused with the conceptual ideas i experience in conscious life.

-j
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Learning to visualise 1 year 11 months ago #39259

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seems possible.

I'm completely vision-less Aphantasiac. I have been for as long as I remember. I was probably born with it.

I'm also ADHD as well. I tend to hyper Focus on things like music, books and video games for long periods of time (like every waking moment).

And I've noticed that I do see visual memories when I do this. They aren't very detailed by they are there.

The first time it happened I was playing DDR a lot. When I closed my eyes I'd see the arrows scrolling up like in the game.

Recently I played a game called Bit Coin City for several hours a day three days in a row and saw parts of the game appear when I closed my eyes. It also happened with fallout shelter.

I don't normally hear music in my head either. But for the last three days I have been practicing a piano piece for about 6 hours a day and I can hear the song in my head.

In every case I exposed myself to the game for over 7 hours a day for three days straight and it triggered a very limited Visual memory. Like I can only see one unit on the game and I had no control over the image. I just saw it Everytime I closed my eyes.

This has happened less then ten times in my life.

I think part of the problem is my brain forces itself to remember the world like a story. But when I'm non-stop gaming looking at visual images it forces it to start using visual parts it doesn't normally use.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 9 months ago #39391

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Unfortunately I do not believe it is possible for anyone to "learn" their way out of it, not reliably so anyways. It may be possible to get lucky with mental exercises for some people. I recall hearing about the case of a man who had a condition known as stereo-blindness that stopped him from seeing in 3D despite having functioning eyes, and yet somehow his condition abruptly went away one day while watching a 3D movie. From reading this thread other people have mentioned similar happenings with aphantasia, coming and going sometimes for reasons other times randomly. It is possible for some people with some variants of aphantasia to perhaps one day either through pure chance, or chance and effort to overcome it. However I don't think such luck can be counted on as a reliable cure. Yet in spite of that, I would encourage anyone who has ever experienced any visualization at all through any method, to put themselves in that position as much as possible to maximize the chances of winning the proverbial lottery.

The aforementioned methods not withstanding, there are probably some possible areas that we may look to in the near future, which could provide some hope, if not for a cure, than at least for possibly inducing visualization under certain conditions That is, provided the condition actually gets seriously studied and not largely forgotten about, again. A few off the top of my head which might warrant further study.

Brain stimulation techniques are right now coming onto the scene. Within a few decades it's not unreasonable to imagine that we could have much more precise methods of non-invasive brain stimulation (such as highly targeted magnetic stimulation). It may be possible to induce visualizations or a state where visualization is easier (such as the state near sleep where some report spontaneous imagery) with a (consumer) medical device

Another possibility is that if some variants of aphantasia are caused by connectivity between areas of the brain, it may be possible to encourage connectivity through brain stimulation, or more novel methods such as neurogenic compounds and/or other methods of encouraging connectivity. It may even be possible that stem cell therapy could have some effect as it has been theorized as a way of treating other brain injury/malformed areas of the brain.

That said however, neuroscience is a field still in it's infancy, and even much more well known conditions are poorly understood from a standpoint of curative medicine, something like aphantasia probably won't get much attention in the scheme of things, much less attention focused on a cure for a while yet. So please try not to get your hopes up.

P.S. I understand some people don't like the idea of this being treated as a disease and not just part of normal human diversity. Especially when they are fine with it and it is a part of their identity, but for some of us it causes great distress. Personally I'd pay nearly any price to have a vivid and functioning visual imagination. Ever since discovering that I had this condition, I have experienced a great distress. Knowing that other's can see the face of those they've loved and lost. Knowing that for some reading a good book is more than just staring at words on a page and more like being whisked away on an actual adventure. When I realize that the term "day dream" is not a euphemism for spacing out, but a descriptive term for a waking dream state controlled by the viewer. To know that I likely will never be able to realize my dream of being a great artist. Knowing these things to be possible, but denied to me, sunders me to my very core. So please understand that, for some of us this is something which we would wish to "cure", or at least treat.
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Nescio.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 8 months ago #39460

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I thought my path was energy work. I have been trying to meditate for 5 years. I am a Reiki Master who feels very little energy. I am pretty much dropping out of almost all my groups because all they talk about is visualization.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 8 months ago #39461

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I am 66 and just realized other actually see pictures. YES, this thing is tearing me up, I am in the middle of a migraine cluster and in the middle of a depression episode. My whole path involves visualizing ability. I guess I will try to live with it and just do whatever I can control, like housework maybe.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 8 months ago #39474

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@Jojo W ---- have you tried psilocybin? I have experienced very vivid closed eye visuals, and I have seen reports that it can at least delay the period of time between cluster headaches in those that suffer from them.

Also, Ram Dass wrote in his book "Be Here Now" about a time when he gave a guru LSD...a lot of LSD, and the guru was unfazed as if...he had been to that headspace before...
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Learning to visualise 1 year 8 months ago #39477

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moyer wrote:
@Jojo W ---- have you tried psilocybin? I have experienced very vivid closed eye visuals, and I have seen reports that it can at least delay the period of time between cluster headaches in those that suffer from them.

Also, Ram Dass wrote in his book "Be Here Now" about a time when he gave a guru LSD...a lot of LSD, and the guru was unfazed as if...he had been to that headspace before...
Haven't tried any prescription, haven't been to a doctor (other than urgent care) in 6 years. Will be going to a functional medicine doctor , going to call after Irma passes.
LSD didn't faze me in my teen years, I was kind of like "so what is the big deal?" I think I tripped, but I don't remember it.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 6 months ago #39563

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i do know i do dream in in images, because i often have lucid dreams (that are dreams where one is aware of being in a dream). i also get visual flashbacks if i close my eyes after i played a game for too long.
but i am completely unable of imagine even the most easy images, like a circle. i dont think its possible to fix this. like, nobody can imagine smells, yet smell hallucinations exist.
anyway, what i realy want to say is, im fairly sure its incureable. neither hallucinations, nor dreams, or visualy flashbacks are the same as imagination.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 6 months ago #39569

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i have attempted to learn to visualise with little success. The problem is that even if I can conjure up a straight line for a tiny moment, when I try to repeat it my mind's eye goes completely blank. So the usual way in which practice is built up through small repetitive steps is blocked.

Although I keep trying, I have learned to go about my life being more outwardly visually aware and this has made a huge difference. Before I discovered aphantasia I was still trying to do what my teachers, parents and bosses told me I should be doing, without realising I didn't have the capacity to comply.

My world has to be very visually organised to suit me. Effectively my house has become part of my brain.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 6 months ago #39680

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I too consider myself an aphantasic and also have a severly deficient autobiographic memory (SDAM). Finding about about these conditions a couple of weeks/month ago really struck me down to my core as some of you have experienced, reading through this thread and other forums and such. I think that this even caused some kind of PTSD which put me in my current depressive state, which makes the memory problems even worse.

However, sitting in my office alone, being quite relaxed, reading though this post I at one point laid back in my chair and looked up (not straight at the ceiling, but at the the corner), and started to think about yesterday evening, when I went from the office to the volleyball training, that I was picked up by a friend of mine and also talked with her about this topic. What I want to say is, that I was in a state where I could semi-visualize all the things I have done from leaving the office to coming home later, in such detail, that I remembered specific details (e.g. when I crossed that one road, looking back I could 'see' how the cars where blocked by another car parking and the started to drive again.) I even had the feeling to hear my friend talk, or at least hear her voice in my head. Many details I would normally not remember at all. I think I did a mental timetravel, which I can't remember having done in a very long time if at all.
This sensation was great and kind of made me euphoric, which is why I want to share this with you and even created this account.

Here is how I would say how I did it:
First, I was very relaxed and alone in my office. I think meditation is very helpful to get in this state.
Second, I needed to think about something which I want to visualize and I too the anchor for leaving the office yesterday. I dont know why I chose yesterday evening, but it makes sense that it is not too far away and also only a limited period instead of a whole day. I think you (at least I) definitely need an anchor on an event that you can remember happend and than start from there.
Third, I was looking at the corner where the white wall meats the white ceiling. I think we need to look somewhere where there is no visual distraction at least for the beginning.
Fourth, I was verbalizing in my mind what I had experienced when leaving the office. Kind of slowly. Metaphorically like going a couple of steps and then also looking around what else I could remember (like the cars on the street). At least not rushing though what happend, because that is when all the details just came to me, which then I was verbalizing again. This made it even more real. (Yesterday I say a youtube video, where that indian/asian guy said that verbalizing all the details you would expact from that situation and also have actually seen everything that is coming to your mind, will help to maifest the scenery.) That is what I did and it helped a lot! Sometimes I was moving faster to skip certain parts of the trip and sometimes slow down and verbalized some more details when I think more things happended.

I don't think it was full visualization but semi, as I was drifting and in some situations had the feeling that the event I was verbalizing was becoming more visual and even had this flow feeling where you lose track of time. I also moved my eyes at some points e.g. like I was actually looking to the backseat of the car where my backpack was. At one point I closed my eyes to see if it helps or not. First I was a bit irritated by the flashyness of the inverted afterpicture from looking at the white spaces but I then was continuing my journey. It didn't help or was worse.

I think the two very crutial parts are relaxation and the inner verbalization that I was adding. I am not good at speaking and telling storys (not at all) and I assume that this is strongly connected (bidirectionally). For me now, after I do my daily meditation I am going to try a mental timetravel to some event that happend the day or a couple of days before that I can come up with an anchor.
I think another situation where this would work (or even have worked for me before) before you go to bed. As many have stated that before going to sleep you are more easily able to visualize stuff.

I want to add, that I have never written that much in such a short time in any forum. Also I have tried the afterimages (candle, color) and I don't think that this is a good starting point as it is also not very practical. Since I have this SDAM shit where I cant remember shit about my life, about my career, about my kids, birthdays, nothing...for me the best use is to remember past events, therefore visualize mental timetravel. I suggest, find something specific you would use this visualization in your life and try it with respect to this use.

"I wish you good look on your journey, gentlemen!" <- this sentence from one of my favorite CD's from Cunninglynguists just came to my head in the voice of the lady who said it. AHHHH crazy.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 5 months ago #39711

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There is a post online by a photographer who, many years ago, went to a workshop on how to compose shots. The guy who was giving the workshop asked, "How many people in here, when you close your eyes, see little to nothing or complete blackness in your mind's eye?". A few people raised their hand. He told them that their photographs would be better if they could compose the shots mentally before they even met with the customers. He went on to tell them that he believes the reason for the aphantasia (it was not named at the time) was due to the corpus colossum (part of the brain responsible for making the 2 hemispheres "talk") was not functioning properly. He told them to go home and do specific exercises where they closed their eyes and whatever they could see after rubbing their eyes... Wait, let me find the link: photographyinsider.info/image-streaming-for-photographers/
I did this and after only 3 times, I got a flash of super bright, vivid colors and I saw like, a cartoon figure because that's what I was talking about in my exercise. It was only for a second but it really felt overwhelming to me. It made me happy and it made me overwhelmed and scared. I made me realize that if I kept this up, I maybe could really have a mind's eye and I needed to think about how it may be a bit distracting at first. I'm gong to start again soon. I wanted to share that link.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 5 months ago #39723

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I found that a veey interesting article. Understand that he (the author or image streaming) did not understand Aphantasia. I will however try, the ones I can do alone, as I have no one to do the exercises with. I would ask my hubby but, he just wants me to move on and get used to the way I have been for 66 years. So we will see, I will try to get back to you in say a month.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 5 months ago #39767

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I know I am a vivid dreamer, so my theory is that while I cant consciously do it, I KNOW my subconscious does.

My latest experiments have been with closing my eyes and instead of trying to focus on an image, to instead, unfocus and try to see "shapes in the clouds". That had give me brief seconds of success. I doubt I will ever be able to "recover" but it might be something that can be strengthened over time.

This sounds very similar to what Fuzzy Pickle described above.
Last Edit: 1 year 5 months ago by CYoung342.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 5 months ago #39770

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I don't know what your goal is but if your goal is to see images, have you tried the talking out loud and describing what you are seeing thing? I'm curious because I had some brief success with it but became a little overwhelmed and am a little anxious about trying it again.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 5 months ago #39772

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FuzzyPickle wrote:
I don't know what your goal is but if your goal is to see images, have you tried the talking out loud and describing what you are seeing thing? I'm curious because I had some brief success with it but became a little overwhelmed and am a little anxious about trying it again.
What is the 'talking out loud and describing what you are seeing thing?' Could you be a little more descriptive. Describing anything in particular?
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Learning to visualise 1 year 5 months ago #39774

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Is anyone here able to vaguely remember a song in their head? I am not able to hear character voices in books however sometimes I'm able to recall a singer singing lyrics. The difference here in my mind is that I'm recalling a voice from memory, but then again recalling a person's speech when speaking normally to me isn't as vivid as a singer's voice
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Learning to visualise 1 year 5 months ago #39777

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I can hear songs and character voices.

I have discovered that I can sort of visualise if I think about being on a journey through the landscape at very high speed. Just like a movie that is ridiculously speeded up. Its still a grey haze and very tiring but it feels like a start.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 4 months ago #39781

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See link in my original post
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Learning to visualise 1 year 4 months ago #39782

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Oh FuzzyPickle, I see, you mean Image Streaming. Yeah, I tried it. Didn't work.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 1 month ago #40035

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I hear voices, I just don't see any accompanying pictures!
I remember people's voices not their faces, and I suppose that's why I mix with immigrants do much as they have distinctive voices.
Fear is the Mind Killer...
La paura uccide la mente
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Learning to visualise 1 year 1 month ago #40037

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I'm new to the forum. I've known I couldn't visualize for a long time. I think I might have once when I was 5 but it made me afraid that I was hallucinating. I didn't know that word but I thought I might be crazy for seeing things that weren't there. Since I was so young, I don't really know that it wasn't some kind of hallucination, but either way it never happened again.
I can visualize when I dream so, as someone else mentioned in a previous post, I must be able to visualize subconsciously. I had early trauma in childhood and I wonder if I have subconciously cut off my ability to visualize on purpose.I have intermittently gone to therapy but I will admit I never went very deep with any therapist. I wonder, if I had put more effort in and dealt with my childhood trauma, would I be able to recover the ability to visualize? I don't really have any reason to assume that trauma would have any effect on visualizing, it might just be a coincidence.
Has anyone else tried psychotherapy and did it make any difference with your ability to visualize?
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Learning to visualise 1 year 1 month ago #40044

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It's funny you would mention this because when I first realized that other people could visualize and I couldn't, I was seeing a social worker who deals with trauma and, although she had never heard of aphantasia, that was the first thing she had wondered, if my lack of ability to visualize was somehow linked to things in my past that were quite traumatizing and had somehow been a coping mechanism.
It turns out, however, with me, I can think back, and I had the lack of ability to visualize prior to those events. You may be on to something there.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 1 month ago #40045

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I don't hear anything or, I hear that some people can conjure smells and tastes that are not around. That sounds strange to me. I cannot do that either, nor do I wish to. I also do not wish to hear things that are not actually in my vicinity. I might not know the difference between that and some type of psychosis. Isn't that how they can tell when people are having problems? How can they tell that if all people can do it? Normal people confuse the shit out of me.
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Learning to visualise 1 year 1 month ago #40046

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Hi, Fuzzy PIckle, when I said I hear voices, I meant that in my memories are auditory and not visual, not that I hear voices randomly!
I remember something my sisters or mother said etc, but I don't see their faces - I usually don't remember exact words unless it's recent - so far so usual!
Smells, no, tastes yes - inasmuch as I can conjure the memory - I was having a discussion about food with my students yesterday, Japanese and Korean so we were talking spicy!
Fear is the Mind Killer...
La paura uccide la mente
Last Edit: 1 year 1 month ago by Vicky 64.
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