Aphantasia

Close your eyes and picture that you’re on a beach. What do you see?

I don’t see anything, just blackness.

Until recently I thought that was everybody’s experience. I was always confused when, in meditation or similar, people said to picture things. I thought they were being metaphorical though I did wonder what was the point in it.

It turns out aphantasia (the inability to form mental images of objects that are not present) is a thing that approximately 1-3% of people experience and I am one of them.

I’m happy to have learned it’s a thing because it explains a lot. Lots of little frustrating times when I just didn’t ‘get it’ and I couldn’t figure out why. So many times in life that you’re asked to describe what you see when you think of something. I always thought I was doing something wrong.

Having a word and an understanding of how my brain works is pretty freeing. It’s interesting how often ‘visualising’ comes up and now instead of feeling confused I just know it’s not a thing I can do and either come up with a substitute or move on.

I’m still figuring out exactly what this all means, but I’m definitely happy to know and understand finally why all this visualising talk just never made sense to me.

~ B