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TOPIC: 17 and still a little bit shocked

17 and still a little bit shocked 1 year 8 months ago #39437

  • sparksinmyheart
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I've only recently discovered that I have aphantasia. I'm a 17 year old female from Europe.
I always assumed when people said "you know, it's like when you say 'don't think of the red elephant' that you automatically see a red elephant in your mind" (I don't know if this is only an idiom in my mother tongue but I guess you get what I wanna tell you) that they don't really SEE the elephant. But then I discovered that they indeed do. I was like wtf? How?
I've always liked to write stories or read books. However, whenever people were disappointed that a character from a book looked completely different than they were described in the book, I didn't quite understand it. I just went with what they showed me because I lacked a better image.
Moreover, I read a book about a person who went blind (like they could see before but then had an accident) and how they suffered bc after some time they couldn't really imagine their loved ones anymore because the image in their mind was fading since they couldn't actually see them anymore in real life. Then I tried to conjure a picture of my loved ones in my head but it was just blank. Yeah, of course I knew how they looked like, but I just couldn't see a picture. I just presumed that the author of the book meant this. Well..
Also, 2 years ago, I was tested for various mental illnesses and they made me do an IQ test, too. It was fine, it went okay, but the part where I needed to imagine a cube and complete the different patterns went horribly wrong because I just. couldn't. do. it. It explains why I'm so bad at geometry as well. I just can't imagine all these things in my head.

When I first read about aphantasia and I suspected that I have it, I closed the tab and urged myself to never ever think about it again. I must be wrong, right? However, the topic came back to my mind over and over again so I dealt with it in greater detail.. I'm still a bit shocked, if that even is the right term, that some people can see things in their minds. And that I'm kind of different. Not in a bad way.. but still different.
I've only talked to my best friend about it yet and she was really nice, however, I'm scared of telling others because I don't know how they'll react. Maybe they will react with disbelief, will ridicule me, etc.. also, aphantasia isn't a topic that has got much (or even any) attention in my country.

Yeah. This was a part of my story. I'm really glad I found this forum :)
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17 and still a little bit shocked 1 year 8 months ago #39469

  • textura
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Hello Sparksinmyheart,

What country are you from?

Welcome to the club! I understand what you are saying, but I think better to learn about it earlier than later. If I had understood my aphantasia when I was 17 I think things would have gone smoother for me ( I am now 62 years old). If you are going to tell people I wouldn't make a big deal about it, but just explain how some things are difficult for you because of your aphantasia. I have to keep reminding my wife that I don't understand directions using visual cues (white house on the left, etc.) except by encoding them as a "fact".

I, too was amazed to realize people actually do have an inner eye ( I just discovered i was aphantasiac last year) and that they were not just talking metaphorically.

Yes, good that this forum exists so that we can come together and find common understanding of our condition.

Good luck!
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