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Poll: When did your Aphantasia manifest?

My whole life 44 89.8%
I saw things as a child 3 6.1%
As a young adult 1 2%
After 30 No votes 0%
After 40 1 2%
Total number of voters: 49 See more
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TOPIC: When did your Aphantasia manifest?

When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 5 months ago #3238

  • Sekhmet
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I think I gave myself Aphantasia.

I had intense night terrors every night from age 3 - 23 (maybe earlier, can't remember) I'd be paralyzed, terrified and crying when I was alone in bed.

When I was younger sometimes these terrors would manifest as intense visuals. I'd see horrifying images of writhing bones, blood, flesh, guts, etc just churning around. Occasionally I saw things like molten gold and copper metal folding over and over on itself, and for some reason this was particularly terrifying. I eventually taught myself to stop seeing things and I haven't visualized anything since (aside from occasional gore flashes once or twice a year) I saw 6 psychologists over 10 years about this and none of them were any help. Most just said "hmm, sounds genetic, can't help you"

Also I can't recall EVER visualizing anything non terrifying any time in my life... my brain hates me?

Anyone else have similar experiences? A friend of mine said she knows multiple people who gave themselves Aphantasia to avoid repeatedly visualizing traumatizing events that happened to them.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 5 months ago #3393

  • CanISee
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I'm honestly not sure. I blocked out alot of my childhood. Only recently have some memories coming back against my will.
~*~ Still figuring it all out, I either have aphantasia or weak visualization ability, definitely 0 purposeful visualization. ~*~
~*~ I suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, OCD; and potentially some sort of high functioning autism, but that one is unconfirmed. ~*~
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 5 months ago #3396

  • MagicMan
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I just realized I haven't always been like this. I realized my Aphantasia is caused by PTSD, depression, alcohol and mild drug use. All of these things do substantial amounts of damage to the Hippocampus and Amygdala. I am willing to bet that some peoples Aphantasia is rooted in dysfunction, damage, or developmental issues in memory systems in the brain.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 5 months ago #3403

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I'm sorry to hear that, I'm beginning to think it's not uncommon to get aphantasia through emotional, drug, or physical damage.
I wonder if our aphantasia differs in ways to people born with it... though when I could see imagery it was always horrifying, so I'm not too sad about having aphantasia now.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 4 months ago #4089

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I thought I was normal until last year when the Aphantasia stories hit the Interwebs.
I have never known anything else, and when people in the past described seeing pictures, I accepted it to be the mythical photographic memory.
Who knew that so many sayings that I thought were metaphorical, were actually quite literal.
"Breath in and imagine a waterfall.", "Picture the audience naked.", or "Just see yourself hitting the ball."
I have had to change a lot of my vocabulary, because saying I have a great imagination is wrong now, instead it should be called a creative mind.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 4 months ago #4094

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Birth. I remember being frustrated that I couldn't take an idea in my mind and put it on paper (draw). I felt like I was missing a piece of the puzzle. Turns out I was.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 4 months ago #4095

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MagicMan wrote:
I just realized I haven't always been like this. I realized my Aphantasia is caused by PTSD, depression, alcohol and mild drug use. All of these things do substantial amounts of damage to the Hippocampus and Amygdala. I am willing to bet that some peoples Aphantasia is rooted in dysfunction, damage, or developmental issues in memory systems in the brain.

I'm pretty sure the research started when a brain injury had very few consequences except this absence of the mind's eye. And when the guy put a name on it and got the word out he heard back from many people who simply have always been that way.

There's no telling which of your activities led to aphantasia.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 2 months ago #4412

  • 1madsci
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I remember a young lady doing an experiment for her college psych class when I was a college student.. She had a pair of headphones and played a short oral script. She said to remember as many of the word as I could. She then played the same thing in reverse. I remembered every word. She was amazed and asked what was wrong with me. She had done this test with over 300 people and said I was the only one who got every word correct. It may not have anything to do with Aphantasia. I only learned of it when I read the Times article in 2015. It explains a lot. I am 62 and realize that I lived most of my life without knowing that other people can actually form visual images of things.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 1 month ago #4441

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Exact same for me. Until the stories on the internet I had no idea other people could visualize things. I thought they were all figures of speech...
It really blew my mind I remember quizzing everyone I knew about if they could "see" things in their mind. I still have a hard time understanding how people "see" in their brain. I have no reference point for it, I can't conceptialize where the image would be...
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 1 month ago #4489

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I also had some memories come back against my will, 20 years later, so I suppose I had blocked a lot of my childhood out as well. Good as well as bad. Because I know there were a lot of good things, I just don't remember hardly anything at all until I was about 12 years old. I don't know if I had had inner pictures before the trauma or not. I do/did have dreams. I even remember some dreams from childhood, possibly because I used words and told a few people about them. Perhaps that helped my later recall.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 2 weeks ago #4673

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All of my life, so far as I know.

My childhood didn't have any significant emotional trauma, just the typical angst, insecurities, etc. I scored very well on some segments of intelligence tests, just not those requiring numeracy or literacy. My memory has always been poor for most things. I underperformed in school and had a host of other manifestations that today would be readily diagnosed as ADD, but during my boyhood (the '60s-'70s) were largely unknown. As it happened, I was finally diagnosed at age 50 (and successfully manage it with Adderall). And my drinking and recreational drug use has always been in moderation, and never with any drugs that were likely to cause serious or lasting effects upon the brain.

The only possible factor from my childhood is that when I was 12, I was in a pretty bad accident while riding a bicycle, and when I regained consciousness, I had utterly lost all sense of smell. It wasn't until about 7 years later, after taking mega-doses of zinc, that I began to regain much of that sense. (Apparently, zinc promotes the regrowth of nerve dendrites.)

Until less than a year ago, I presumed that everyone's mind worked the same as mine, and that phrases like "the mind's eye" and "picture this" were just figures of speech, like "heartbroken" and "vent my spleen". And then about 10 months ago, my wife got some CDs on guided imagery for dealing with cancer, and after one of them, I asked her if she could "get into" the instructions. She said she could, and proceeded to describe what she "saw" in vivid detail. I presumed that she had unusual abilities in visualizing things, but she was just as surprised by the fact that I couldn't see anything.

A few days ago, my therapist was trying me on some guided imagery, and when I told her that I couldn't see anything that she was describing, she asked me some more questions and from my answers, suggested that I might have aphantasia, a condition I'd never heard of. From my reading over the past few days, it's clear that I do indeed have it.

I have no memory of ever being able to imagine more than just faint bits of images for a split second, and that's actually when my eyes are open (but unfocused). With my eyes closed, all I can see is a mottled dark reddish-brown field. If I focus all of my attention, I might be able to very briefly generate a splotch of lighter or darker color. I do have some visual imagery in dreams, but it's muted, brief and distorted.
Last Edit: 1 year 2 weeks ago by Robert. Reason: forgot to add something
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 year 2 weeks ago #4677

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Thanks, Robert! It seems to me that the sort of modern widespread usage of guided imagery is bringing a lot of us out of the woodwork! And so strange it is that spouses so often seem not to have noticed each others' differences à propos inner imaging abilities. In my case I guess my spouse and I had chalked up the differences to personality, character, etc. But I wonder which came first, which influenced the development of the individual differences...
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 2 months 2 weeks ago #39456

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I believe this too. I'm thinking my hippocampus has to be severely damaged. Under chronic emotional distress from childhood having a narcissistic father and having issues making friends and learning in school. I can't remember things much. If I watch a movie or read and then have to answer questions about it, I dont remember. I find that I tend to give up easily with hard work jobs and respond strongly emotionally and triggers of abandonment. I'm 30 years old and I didnt start really figuring this all out until a couple years ago. Its frustrating :(
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 month 4 weeks ago #39512

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I only have good visual memories of my very early childhood, around 6 and younger. My last dream that I still have any recollection of was from when I was around 4 or 5. After that I don't remember very much at all, simply facts. All of my visual memories from after 6 or so are either still images that I conjure (meaning it's not from memory, I'm creating the visual in my head based on the facts I remember of the scenario) or very short, blurry, 'video' of a memory, usually maximum 3 seconds, average 1 second. I'm not sure why I can recollect from memory the very short 'videos' and have to usually conjure the still images, I think it's because I'm more confident that the videos aren't conjurations since they seem detailed with small things I feel actually happened like that, but they may be.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 month 4 weeks ago #39515

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Approximately 1:45 p.m. Central Daylight Time on June 19, 1969 -- give or take a few minutes.
The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 month 4 weeks ago #39516

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It's hard for me to say as I don't remember much of my childhood, especially not on a degree of detail required for being able to say if I could visualise better or recreate things related to other senses better than I do now. I do remember some instances of playing by myself and I definitely narrating the stuff to myself in my head but I'm not sure if that was on top of visually imagining stuff or instead of it. That inner voices topic confirmed to me that a lot of people actually don't repeat all the words they see while reading and instead just... Know what they read (this used to confuse me a lot, ok)..? And as I was thinking about that I remembered how when I started reading books to myself as a kid I became aware of how I physically repeat everything I read without making a sound, especilly with some sounds so that at least indicates that even back then the whole imagining sounds thing wasn't something I could do all that well.

I assume I've been the same all my life.
on a stroll
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 week 4 days ago #39608

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I don't remember (lol) but definitely by mid teens, I only know that because I always felt guilty when my friends tried to reminisce with me and I couldn't understand why I never retained any of our great adventures.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 week 2 days ago #39617

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Me and my twin sister became aware our brains worked differently to those of our friends in our mid teens, we are now in our mid forties. It was a slow dawning realisation that other people have images, sounds etc in their mind. I can only assume it was something we were both born with.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 week 2 days ago #39619

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I can not ever remember being able to visualise images in my mind. I have great difficulty in recalling any childhood/teen memories even when looking at photos.

From an early age I have suffered with night terrors and still do (3-4 times per year) even though I am now 55. I awake from these in a terrified state but can not ever remember any images that might have caused the distressed state.

When I was 18 months and 3 years old I suffered two head injuries (the 2nd injury resulted in some major reconstruction of the skull), which I am sure were contributing factors to having no minds eye and causing the night terrors. I am also very sensitive to changes in light making, me sneeze, which I have also read is caused by some mis-wiring in the brain neurons.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 week 2 days ago #39621

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I was never able to visualize. Didn't figure that out until I was in my mid-thirties, though, just assumed it was a metaphor.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 week 1 day ago #39625

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I lived more than 60 years never suspecting that anyone was different from me in their ability to visualise. Last year I started reading about aphantasia, and still didn't really believe that anyone was actually "seeing" anything at all in their minds. I still find myself questioning this sometimes; I see absolutely nothing at all, and it is still almost easier for me to believe that nobody else does either, and that they are just using overly flowery language to describe the same things that I experience (which means no visual images, just an approximate knowledge of what things and people look like.). I wish there were some way to probe more precisely how other people experience visualisation. It's a bit like asking what does the colour green look like to someone else; how could we ever know if their green is the same as our green?
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 week 20 hours ago #39628

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stringer wrote:
I lived more than 60 years never suspecting that anyone was different from me in their ability to visualise.

As one who was a visualizer for twenty years, four months and twenty days before acquiring aphantasia in 1969, I can assure you, not only could I visualize, I could do so in almost limitless detail. I could manipulate the image any way I chose. And those images were not pictures, they were 3-D when appropriate.
The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 5 days 8 hours ago #39644

  • Deletrea
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I like that... "great creative mind." I am a quilter and work with ceramics, so people are confused when I can't picture things in my head, but I still have an imagination. I have to remind them that blind people still imagine things, just not visual things. My imagination is just blind, that's all.
I'm never disappointed in how a book character looks in the movie adaptation.
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When did your Aphantasia manifest? 1 hour 23 minutes ago #39663

  • Busserulls
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I Wonder if I have «caused» aphantasia AS well, but i sometimes still have night terror/sleep paralysis... i also only Renneberget the «bad» things in life. Never any happy memories. But if something goes wrong or really bad experience, i remember every details
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