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TOPIC: Pretty far on spectrum, but not void of imagery

Pretty far on spectrum, but not void of imagery 5 months 3 weeks ago #5132

  • JCecorn
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I found out about this condition in a reddit post this past Saturday. My mind has been a blur for the past 72 hours just thinking about it.

I've always been really bad with directions, peoples names/faces--especially recognizing people out of context. For example, I could see a coworker at the grocery store and not recognize them because that's not where I expect to see them.

One of the stranger things is I think there's definitely a family and gender relationship for me. As soon as I started putting pieces together about my own experiences I immediately began to recognize the same symptoms my father and brother share. Sure enough, after forwarding them the articles I'd read they both suffer (if that's the correct term) from the condition--my father moreso than I; my brother to a lesser extent (I think--hard to know without a lot of discussion). My sister is unaffected, as are her two sons. But, both my own son and daughter are unaffected as well.

After some days now thinking about it, I've come to realize my mind is like a dark warehouse. Where my wife and kids can call upon memories as images and review them just as I would review photos on my phone, I am stuck in a huge, dark warehouse of information with only a very, very dim light to illuminate my immediate surroundings. Every thought I have can only dimly be illuminated by my light source of a brain. And, moving from one thought to another means losing visibility of whatever I was looking at before.

On the one hand, this can make trying to remember things tedious. I'm finding most people can enjoy a book by painting this glorious mural of events, and recall them later with ease. For me, reading a book is work. Not the words; the words flow well. I write well. But, processing the words into mental imagery is not something I've ever done because I don't recall the information that way when I need it. As such, I don't have vivid memories of books I've read; nor do I generate them as I'm reading. If I do, they are very compartmentally generated (just as I do in the rest of my life). As far as reading goes, emotional feelings are the lasting impressions I have unless I consciously delve in to specific portions of a story: Oh, that book left me feeling sad; or I really didn't care for that whole section of the book. It made me feel awkward. But, that's the extent of my enjoyment of books. I have nothing to look back upon and gaze at. And, recalling a part of a book through imagery is not effective. Everything is on a chronological timeline. "Oh, remember when they went to the beach and she found the knife buried in the sand?" "Hrm...was that before or after James had the fight with Ellie? I need to construct the timeline to find my place in a book.

On the other hand, the way I've neurally mapped my mind to fire I have vast amounts of information on tap—all filed logically and neatly in my dark warehouse--all nearly instantly on tap. All I have to do is go find it (which is part of the trick). Remember that 1971 Plymouth Barracuda you rebuilt over 20 years ago? yep. Remember the engine rebuild? yep. Remember the trouble you had with the exhaust headers leaking? yep. I remember the discussion I had with a guy (can't remember his name--terrible with faces and names) and he said to use paper gaskets soaked overnight. Remember where you bought them? yep. Remember how much they were? yep. Remember the aisle they were hanging on in the store? yep. As far as my memories go, they're all these references...rabbit holes I jump down and follow to almost the most mundane detail. And, they're all there. Organized well and very descriptive. But, there's no pictures.

Anyway, I could ramble on for hours. I've already spent the better part of the past 3 days pondering these thoughts. I think that's enough of an intro. I may go check out the discussions in the rest of this forum.

Cheers!
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Pretty far on spectrum, but not void of imagery 5 months 3 weeks ago #5134

  • moyer
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Welcome and well put.
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Pretty far on spectrum, but not void of imagery 5 months 3 weeks ago #5138

  • Tilma
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That sound all very familiar. Except for the detailed memories. I absolutely don't have that, just shreds.
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Pretty far on spectrum, but not void of imagery 5 months 3 weeks ago #5146

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I was thinking a bit more, and i know that my autobiographical memories are the ones that are the strongest, but it seems to be only a few, and they are better entrained in my brain the more i tell the narrative out loud to someone.

I can however pull up details more akin to JCecorn. It mainly just requires the right trigger question. I think those are hard for me to pose to myself though, and work best from another person.
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Pretty far on spectrum, but not void of imagery 5 months 3 weeks ago #5156

  • Blackstage
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Moyer, you hit the nail on the head for me with retelling narrative to others helping ME affix things in my brain... and JCecorn, spelling out those details on topics from even many years ago is what I constantly do! I thought I was jogging OTHERS memories in my narratives, but much too often people are bothered immensely by so many details and they want me to just get to the point. I guess I am in actuality jogging my OWN memories in about the only way I can. And I enthusiastically tell away and others roll their eyes. I am probably unconsciuosly excited that I remember things at all!

Gee, some of these realizations are depressing when I look back at some times of my life, people in my life with whom I could have possibly communicated in different ways had I and they known about some of these huge differences. On the other hand, I do have a lot of empathy for others and often help others understand each other when communicatiion/relationships have come to a standstill otherwise. It just seems to me that others around me don't try very hard to understand me much, so after my interventions of helping others get or stay together, they are nicely together and I am still 'alone' or maybe just lonely, hmmm.
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Pretty far on spectrum, but not void of imagery 5 months 2 weeks ago #5172

  • aksnafu
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JCecorn, Thank you for your posting. I understand what you are saying, a lot of what you say is also true with me. The comfort I am getting from posting and reading post like yours has help me more than years of counseling. I too don't read books for pleasure, I just read short internet news. However, I do find pleasure from watching TV and movies. even by reading comic books with a lot of pictures :-). When watching movies I can see everything without having to create anything in my minds eye. one picture is worth a thousand words. I have two daughters one has aphantasia like me and the other with a great minds eye, not sure why one and not the other. I too have a dark warehouse and find at times it is very hard to retrieve memories, every once in a while I will be triggered by seeing or hearing something and the memory comes rushing back. Remembering people and their names is near impossible for me, I have know people for several years and still don't know their names, As to faces, I could walk by them in the mall and I am embarrassed to ask them where I know them from and after they told me where I have met them before, example Thursday night Dance and I am able to remember them and the memories come back. I find events trigger my memory, when retrieving memories by myself can take minutes of running down bunny trails until i find it.

Take care and thank you all for sharing.
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