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TOPIC: Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions

Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 3 weeks ago #39373

  • August
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I don't know what I'm more jolted from: the fact that others can actually see pictures when they close their eyes or that this information has escaped me for 43 years?! How is that possible? I, myself, even use terms like "I see what you're saying," or "the image that comes to mind," etc. but it was never real. Like the counting of sheep, I always thought it was metaphorical!! I always just meant "I understand or sympathize" or whatever the context was. I feel like I need to rethink my whole vocabulary. :silly:

I've read through some of the posts here and of course found similarities and differences. It is a relief to read that others have made it this far or farther in life without being aware they are unable to visualize (or mind sense).. I'm a very wordy person, this I've always known. I love to read, but in my adult life I'm more drawn to non-fiction books, though I'll always love my Stephen King (there is almost always a movie to fall back on! lol)! This makes sense now, facts please, no glitter! :lol:

I feel like my memory, at least short term, is very good. It's all words though. My past is a blur but I will have certain events or words that will trigger a memory from my past, unless it's something that has been drilled into my head repeatedly, then I can't seem to forget. I'm also an info junkie. But now that I think about it, it makes much more sense as to why I get obsessed with a topic until I feel I KNOW it. and won't forget.

The mind, consciousness, dreams (I do see images when I dream), psychology, how people think and why they behave in certain ways, fascinate me to no end! One of those is how I discovered I'm different. Meditation. I looked up concentration exercises on youtube and they recommended visualizing a simple shape, setting a timer, and when the image fades, changes color, or warps stop the timer. Pure blackness can't change color, or fade, or warp!! And I realized they expect you to ACTUALLY SEE the shape! WTF? So I searched and my search lead me here. Very interested in talking with you all. :)
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39374

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I'm also very new here. I'm 58 years old and just found out two days ago about this condition. I read a post about it in one of the artist groups that I belong to. She said that she can't come up with original ideas because she has this thing. Then I went to a web site with a description and an interview with a guy who said that he couldn't believe that people could see images like the ones that he sees in his dreams. OMG! I was shocked! NO! You see those kind of images in your mind's eye? WTF!?!
Google searches, more articles, a little crying. Talked to my daughter on the phone. She doesn't believe me. What?! Well, now I think she does. I've talked to a couple of people about it but with very different reactions. I decide I'm not talking about it any more.
Then the next day I cried a bit more. More google searches. What do you mean I can't imagine things? I look up imagine. Yeah, I guess I can't imagine if I can't conjure up an image in my head. So I look up imagination. I have imagination! I don't care what these idiots think, you don't need to conjure up fake images in your head to be able to come up with some beautiful image to put on a canvas.
Here's what I mean. I love giraffes. I decided that I wanted to learn to draw giraffes. So I watch some youtube videos, I look at some photos on a google search and I start drawing giraffes. Now I've drawn enough giraffes that are copies of photos that I can almost draw one without a reference photo. At least I can use the photo for reference and change bits around. I can decide that I want to know what it would look like if I pained it pink with purple spots. I can 'visualize' what it's going to look like because I know (as an artist knows these things) that pink and purple look pretty sweet together. I get the canvas finished and it makes me giggle because it's something that I 'imagined' and brought to life.
I told one of the guys at work and he said, "oh, no!" Said he knew exactly what I was talking about because he lost his mind's eye after an operation and he had a real hard time functioning. Well, I've never had one so I've grown up without it and I've been fine this far without it.
But just imagine what life would be like if you had pictures in your mind's eye! LOL!

I'm so glad I've found this group. I can see that there aren't really many of us here or many of us in existence really but at least I have a place I can talk about it without people thinking I'm crazy or lying or oh, you poor baby! LOL! I'm a little upset but I don't think I'm upset that I don't have a minds eye, just that like most of us here I always thought it was a figure of speech to say "count sheep" or "picture that" or any of the many other things that we've heard all our lives and didn't realize they were being literal!

I'd like to be able to do that but I don't think I'm gonna sweat about it. It would just be a cool thing to be able to do.
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39377

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Hi Cher! Thanks for the reply! I think a pink giraffe with purple spots sounds beautiful! From what I'm understanding by reading around and by mentioning it to a coworker, those who can visualize seem to be just as confused by us as we are of them. The coworker actually told me I need to "try harder." :lol: After 43 years I'm pretty sure it's a lost cause no matter how hard I try. The lady who says she can't come up with original ideas is confused, imo. I really don't think this is a handicap. I'd really love to see what it's like but who knows I may hate it. Every single person in this world is unique, this just being one more thing to add to the list. I of course can't speak for everyone. I'm sure there are plenty of people in the world that can visualize yet have no imagination or wouldn't know an original thought if it smacked them in the face!

I'm sorry your daughter didn't believe you at first. I hope she's had time to consider your perspective. My husband is having a little difficulty understanding, My huge question for him was HOW DO YOU SLEEP?! Apparently they can shut it off when they want to?? I always go back through my day as I'm trying to sleep, all thought in words of course, I just feel that if I had the ability to visualize it would be hard to shut off. I like it in the dark! :lol:

I have another rare congenital condition that is far more rare than this. That one I wish would go away. But what can I (we) do? You'd think the world would be more accepting of differences by now. Sadly humans can be very judgemental.

Again, thanks for the reply. Today is my birthday and it's been rather crappy. Your post brightened my day a little. :)
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39384

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Hey, I'm new here too! I'm 31, I've known that others can visualise since I was about eight or nine, but just learned a few days ago this condition (I don't really like this word, because it doesn't feel like a disorder or condition of any sort, but I don't know what other word to use!) has finally been given a name.

I find it interesting that you remark on still using terms like "I see what you mean" because I've found that my experience has been the opposite! And I don't think it's been deliberate, I just tend more towards saying "I get what you mean" or "the first thought that comes to mind" or something along those lines. I tend to only say something such as "I can imagine that" when I'm talking about emotions. I've never thought about this tendency being linked to my aphantasia before. It's fascinating.
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39386

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Hi Fayth! Thanks for commenting, it doesn't seem this board is very active now. :bummer!:

It is fascinating, isn't it?! How did you discover that others could visualize and you couldn't at such a young age? Discovering it this late in life makes me feel like a dolt, but I know I'm not stupid. In fact it seems a lot of us are only discovering it now that it has a name. I don't blame you on the dislike of "condition" or "disorder." We need different words for it....something like "difference in perception," or "nonstandard insight." Ideas?

edited to add: I know some will think, what? why would you need something to call it? it's lack of visualization. duh?! My thought is that sounds like we are lacking, which we technically are but why give it a negative connotation? Just my thoughts. :)
Last Edit: 1 month 2 weeks ago by August.
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39387

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Yes, I've noticed it doesn't seem very active, which is a bummer! I've always assumed I couldn't be the only person out there who couldn't visualise in their mind, but I'd never before come across anyone, and I've been excited to finally see what it's like for other people like me.

As for how I realised it so young, I was in third grade when my teacher told the class to close our eyes and picture something in our mind... I don't remember what, or why she wanted us to do this, but a few minutes later she asked if everybody had a picture, and all my classmates were responding yes while I had a brief moment of panicked confusion trying to figure out what she meant and if I was really supposed to produce a literal picture in the blackness of my mind somehow. Then she started going around asking all my classmates what their picture looked like, so I realised that yes, they were somehow seeing actual pictures in their minds. The idea just sounded so bizarre to me then. Still does most of the time, honestly!

I have noticed that a lot of personal stories are of people just only now discovering it with the naming. I think if it wasn't for my experience in grade school, I would probably be the same, because for us it's just the norm and most of the time the concept of having an actual picture in your mind isn't something that has reason to come up in every day conversation, at least that's been my experience :lol:

I like the idea of a phrase like "difference in perception"... Wikipedia describes Synesthesia (which Aphantasia reminds me of) as a "perceptual phenomenon" and though I'm still not sure if phenomenon is quite the right word, I think it at least sounds a lot nicer than "condition" or "disorder."
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39388

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Hello!
New here (first post). I realized a couple weeks ago that holy crap, other people actually picture things in their mind, it's not a metaphor. Did some googling, which is my response to much everything, and came across news articles on aphantasia. I'm autistic, and (probably) have dyscalculia, which is a math learning disability related to numbers and maps and charts and such.

Kinda wondering now if at least part of my issue with maps and stuff is not being able to picture it in my head. I've always had issues with spatial reckoning and designing things, I thought I was just bad at it, lol. I'm very much a word person, I read and absorb information at kind of a ridiculous rate and I speak several languages. But now I'm a bit sad, honestly, the more I think about it. I always skip over the descriptions of characters and landscapes and so on, they mean nothing to me, and I'm jealous of people who can imagine them. Kind of feel like I'm missing out on a big part of stories.
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39389

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Awww man! I had a whole post wrote out and lost it! I don't have time right at the moment, maybe I'll get to it tonight! Welcome tjet34!
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 1 month 2 weeks ago #39390

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Hi Tjet34

I'm with you on maps. In fact, I never drive anywhere unless my husband takes me there first. It's not that I don't understand the map, I would just have to look at it a lot and you can't do that while driving. Guess it's good we have GPS, but I don't use that either. I only go places I'm familiar with or I have my husband show me how to get somewhere cause I don't feel comfortable unless I know where I'm going.

I've been wondering also about many things and if they are because of aphantasia. Math and spelling. I write things down cause I can't do it in my head. I wonder if I could visualize if I wouldn't need to do that?

I love that you love to research. I'm an information junkie! Drives my husband crazy! By the time he figures out one thing I'm already on to a 3rd thing. LOL :lol:

Fayth - You're right. We don't talk about what we do inside our own heads. But since I found this out I've been paying more attention and wow! I'm finding people talking about visualizing everywhere I look.. :ohmy:

I don't have time to write more. We are helping my daughter move today. ttyl
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 4 weeks 23 hours ago #39406

  • moyer
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welcome everyone!

i try and keep up on threads here, lets keep active!
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 2 weeks 5 days ago #39444

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I can see this forum isn't very active, even though 1/50 ish apparently have this. But it's not well known and most people who do have it don't know the name and wouldn't think to look for it.

But I think a forum like this is an important start. So we should all make an effort to keep it alive.
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Intrigued but feeling mixed emotions 2 weeks 4 days ago #39448

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Hubby has to drive me somewhere new. Also I cannot cope with turnpikes, expressways, or anywhere with a lot of street signs.
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