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Is not having mental images....a thing? - July 4th 2017, 08:09 AM

I wasn't sure where this fit best, but feel free to scoot it somewhere else if need be.


Yesterday when I was talking to my mother we got on the topic of visualizing things in your mind. She must have picked up on my facial expression because she asked why I was confused.

I've never been able to vividly visualize anything in my mind. The closest I get to visualizing something is kind of like looking through a window with that privacy film over it. I kind of always thought it was normal to 'see' things with words and ideas. I'll know what something or someone looks like by remembering characteristics, but I can't visualize it. I know my mother has gray hair, wears glasses, is tall, of an average weight, and wears her hair up 90% of the time. Yet I can't see a visual representation of it.

This also carries over into dreams and PTSD flashbacks. If it's not a vague image then it's my mind describing the dream/flashback to me with words and ideas instead of drawing a picture.

I've always kind of assumed this was the norm. Mostly wondering if other people experience this.


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Re: Is not having mental images....a thing? - July 4th 2017, 08:12 AM

I visualise things in my mind, actually a lot of the time I can visualise it but if you asked me for specifics I wouldn't be able to give you many. It's like when I read books, I read and have the whole thing basically playing in my brain like a movie. I do have a photographic memory though and that's the only way I remember things, so some of me and my visualising is from that.


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Re: Is not having mental images....a thing? - July 4th 2017, 08:38 AM

Do you mean like this?
https://themighty.com/2017/06/my-life-with-aphantasia/

If so, its definitely a thing, but I don't know how common it is.


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Re: Is not having mental images....a thing? - July 4th 2017, 02:21 PM

It is confusing with me because I seem to be a visual learner and very visual in some ways and I'm probably a visual learner (though I'd say multi modal fits better) but very not visual in other ways.
I believe for me, it has declined over the years. As in I used to have the ability but I didn't use it as much.
When I did EMDR, during the session I was meant to visualize a safe place. I chose a forest but I couldn't visualize it. My therapist pulled out a picture of a forest from Google onto her phone and had me look at it and she prompted me to talk about what I'm doing there, what I'm seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling. I didn't experience it. It was more of a cognitive experience. I said what I knew happens in a forest. I haven't been to a forest that much though. When I chose a garden, it was easier because that was a place I had built on for a long time and had some answers already as if I've been there before because I've "visited" it in my head many times. Still, I have more of a movie-moving images that involve action, rather than a strong visual. It almost doesn't matter there's not a strong visual because i "feel" it tactile and emotionally. It is like a theatrical performance where I'm one of the actors so I'm not focused on the visual details unless it pertains. I mean usually I'm the actor but sometimes I get different perspectives like watching it happen but not participating etc
   
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Re: Is not having mental images....a thing? - July 10th 2017, 06:16 PM

Thank you for all the input, guys! Glad to know it's at least something that's been recognized, despite not being studied much yet. I don't really have any other questions, but this can stay open in case anyone else has anymore thoughts.


“There is nothing beautiful about the wreckage of a human being.
There is nothing pretty about damage, about pain, about heartache.
What is beautiful is their strength, their resilience, their fortitude
as they display an ocean of courage when they pick through the
wreckage of their life to build something beautiful brand new,
against every odd that is stacked against them.” — Nikita Gill
   
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