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TOPIC: Dissociation and Aphantasia

Dissociation and Aphantasia 2 years 8 months ago #4302

  • Fighter720
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I have extreme dissociation (derealization) caused by anxiety and also have aphantasia. I am wondering if other people have had the experience of having both of these together. It is definitely a struggle but I have adapted to deal with it the best way I can.

Also does anyone know if aphantasia can be caused through trauma? for example, could it be that one of the brain's mechanisms to compensate for extreme trauma is shutting off the ability to visualize? ne!

Thanks everyone!
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 2 years 8 months ago #4323

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OMG finally somebody!! :woohoo:
I'm definitely raising my both hands on this one...yes I have daily episodes of derealization & had them for quite some time now & I can assure you that it had done me no good & I suppose it's not meant to.
The biggest dissociative disorder symptom that related to me was the alian feeling of detachment from the surroundings even my most intimate and personal natural habitat my very own bedroom and also along with it the lack (more like complete absence) of self awareness (consciousness) which in my humble opinion is an aftermath of literally having a blank canvas or being aphantasic. The only thing I've tried as a "cure" so far would be giving it time to pass (which turned into years) and now I'm sleeping it off...
it's pbb about time that I visit a psychiatrists or continue just sleeping it off (by it I mean life)..
?
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by sara1bos.
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 2 years 8 months ago #4331

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No idea what it entails, but sara1bos's description sounds like the time I was hypnotized. I went along while knowing I was hypnotized, I even ate a lemon with the peeling still on it. Only when I was meant to be nude (in my mind) before the audience, my teenager brain put a halt to it ;-) Since then, I'm aware that I can take a distance of my own and comment (sarcastically) on what's going on :) Or to keep calm while the rest of my brain is in panic / fight mode.
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 2 years 8 months ago #4337

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When I saw your reply, I had the same reaction you did "OMG finally somebody!". What you are describing sounds like pretty much exactly what I have. What do you think is the cause of your derealization? I grew up in a traumatic/abusive environment and dissociation that I used as a coping mechanism then seems to have turned into chronic derealization. Also, do you think the derealization and the aphantasia are connected? I know for some people aphantasia can be genetic but I suspect that extreme trauma can have something to do with it as well.

The derealization makes life extremely hard...the way I can describe it for me is that my brain is physiologically working but it is not processing/absorbing anything. It pretty much feels empty....like i'm staring off in space and zoning out. Often people tell me that I seem deep in thought but little do they know I am thinking about absolutely nothing because the brain feels completely empty. So if I'm driving or walking somewhere, I often can't remember how I got to my destination or even how to get back home. If I'm watching a movie, it's very difficult to follow and truly absorb what is happening. My sense of time and place is nonexistent - I won't know what day/month it is without really consciously thinking about it. I'm definitely not good with directions...often get lost. Also I get pressure in my head sometimes...

I wonder if these are all things that you also experience - let me know and thank you so much for responding!
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 2 years 8 months ago #4338

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Dude, I would literally never be able to explain what the disorder feels like you just did in such precision, "bows to you!" & yes I would definitely see the correlation between dissociative disorder and aphantasia here.
I would say that I was always over sensitive and would take everything everyone said seriously and I could only carry with me the sad/bad moments and the rest of my story is an empty album. I guess my brain is wired differently compared to an average person & I'm not gonna lie i thought I was it "just average" as a kid but I felt like I always had to TRY to play & talk to make friends & others did this almost too naturally! & as i grew i started geeling bizarre in my body suddenly, school took a downward turn and i just couldn't do it I found it excruciatingly painful to be in a social settings, I avoid it 24/7... & then i started questioning my sanity my identity & purpose which hurt the most, & it got to a point where I couldn't eat/drink 5 days in a row and would often feel super dizzy and out of control when walking after getting up.. so I took over to the internet and searched my symptoms & found derealization but knew that something else was missing & so my most recent discovery is aphantasia & God knows i there may be other underlying conditions to my cerrent state today!
?
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 2 years 8 months ago #4339

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- I won't know what day/month it is without really consciously thinking about it. I'm definitely not good with directions...often get lost
This morning I woke up to the sound of notification & couldn't figure if it was still the same day or a new one...
?
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 2 years 8 months ago #4389

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Quite a few times earlier in my life I suddenly realized I felt like I was literally walking around in a fog, behind a veil, not feeling anything, not really noticing anything, neutrally not caring one tiny bit about anything whatsoever. It was even somewhat nice, comforting and very relaxing, since I am 'normally' a very intensively responsible and conscious person, and put myself in too much tension and stress. Later these times were worrisome to me, because I simply had had no feelings at all except for 'freedom' from thought, detached from everything including myself. I realized that it would not have registered with me if I had simply walked out into traffic, for example - that is what worried me later about it.

I do know that for me, there was childhood trauma/abuse and know for sure that it had affected me strongly enough to have been blocked out of any kind of conscious memory of it for 20 years. The very strong episodes of living in a fog occurred about 4-6 years before these memories came back to me, in a coloured series of dreams. I would have perhaps doubted it all myself, but these memories were confirmed about 1 year after my dreams as having happened - by the perpetrator, including an apology. According to the perp, there was more, but I didn't remermber or want to ask about more at the time, so I presume my mind is still blocking out stuff as a method of self protection.

I really do not know if I saw pictures before the trauma. I do remember consciously retreating into nothingness, no sound no sight no feeling. Blackness and nothingness was a safe place. I also remember a recurring dream for years after (and during?) the trauma, a dream in which nothing was playing on a black stage. The only 'character' was a little red devil figure lurking and waiting in the side lines. If my own aphantasia was caused by this or previous trauma? No idea, but I am fairly certain that my aphantasia was enhanced or 'supported' by the trauma. I have also noticed that when I am in a fight or flight crisis type situation, I generally act very calmly and logically and can help others in need.

I was luckily able to have a one on one 'talk therapy' with a psychiatrist for appx. 1.5 years, which helped immensely to recognize earlier and 'catch' myself in dissociating episodes/behaviour and then use a few strategies to sort of bring myself back to earth. I would recommend this kind of process, it gave me some of my feelings back. But no pictures. My heart goes out to all who have trauma and I grieve for you.
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 1 year 3 months ago #39886

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On the dissociation: I have it, and Aphantasia, and SDAM, and to a degree face blindness- so I cannot connect with most people or experiences.
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 1 year 3 months ago #39887

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Jojo W wrote:
On the dissociation: I have it, and Aphantasia, and SDAM, and to a degree face blindness- so I cannot connect with most people or experiences.
Oh- and depression, and low self esteem.
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 1 year 3 months ago #39904

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Oh damn, yes, This!

I've recently realized I've been emotionally dissociating since I was at least 10, probably earlier. I remember scratching my thigh 'till I dug a little bloody hole when I was in math class at 12 years old. I didn't notice I was doing it until I looked down and saw the blood. Seems most likely due to some trauma that I didn't have anyone support me getting through, so I just shut down emotionally... cause if you can't feel, you don't suffer... well, can't suffer as much anyway.

I'm working on this, sometimes I have stretches of time I feel "normal" but recently having bouts of absolute apathy and thoughts like... "I don't really exist, I don't really want to exist"
I also had awful self esteem issues till my mid twenties, and still trying to learn that whole "love yourself" thing better

Nice to see I'm not alone <3 I wonder if dissociation is more common with aphantasia...?
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Dissociation and Aphantasia 1 year 1 month ago #40040

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Wow, me too. I suffered childhood trauma from a very early age. I got really good at dissociating. At 5 my mother took me to the doctor because I sometimes appeared catatonic in kindergarten. I was the only calm one in the car on the way to give birth to my daughter. When I fell and badly sprained my ankle, I went into a trance like state. I have no sense of time at all and frequently think I've been doing something for "a little while" only to find out it's been hours.
I have also wondered if I might have subconsciously suppressed my ability to visualize to avoid reliving my past abuse.
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