I have aphantasia or My mind's eye is blind

Dec 2021
2
1
Europe
Hello everyone. I didn't know where to write about this, I was thinking about social media, but decided it's stupid. Still the forum is more serious I guess, he he he. I will not be short, get ready.

I'm 33, when I was around 17 I became interested in hypnosis and self-hypnosis, and specifically because of the idea of "experiencing visions and experiencing life events again" in a deep trance state. I began to practice self-hypnosis in every possible way, with every possible technique. I had then a book that was mainly devoted to Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP, but it was very detailed and interesting. There was a section dedicated to self-hypnosis with several techniques like "fist clenching" or "hand raising" Almost all of them worked for me, the fist clenched, the eyelids were heavy, sometimes I felt warmth in my body, although I could not completely relax. But I didn’t feel the most important thing - I didn’t see a single image, not even spots of color, I didn’t hear sounds, I didn’t feel anything by touch, as it was described in the book.

I decided that I was not deep enough, that I had to relax to the point of losing my body sensations, enter into somnambulism in order to gain access to visualization. For about 14 years I have spent on experiences and experiments with hypnosis and relaxation, meditations with one single purpose - to enter a trance of sufficient depth to see images "bright and detailed, which would be perceived by my brain as reality", as it is advised and described in all books on development, self-hypnosis, fulfilling desires and setting goals.

I got Nothing. I was sure that I could not go into trance. And then I came across one video of an old American hypnotist, whose professionalism there was little doubt, judging by the way he talked about the topic and what he showed in the video. He bluntly said that relaxation in the body is an optional factor for deep trance, and he has demonstrated this on video several times, dropping people into somnabulism almost instantly. This inspired me once again.

Turned out I can go into trance? I began to read further on the topic and watch other videos. One was a simple suggestibility test with an imaginary sand bucket and a balloon. I will describe it here. You stand in the middle of a room and close your eyes with both arms outstretched in front of you with one hand turned up to the ceiling and the other one down to the floor. Next you imagine that a balloon with helium is tied to the first hand that pulls your hand up, and in another one you hold a bucket into which sand is poured with a shovel, and it becomes heavier. As a result, when you open your eyes, your suggestibility can be judged by the angle to which your hands went. My result was ambiguous - my hands were pointing in different directions at an angle of almost 180 degrees, one pointed upwards, and the other at the floor and ached as if I had really been holding a bucket of sand weighing at least 10 kg in it for five minutes.

Suggestibility that was, but I did not feel ANYTHING except pain in my hand. There was neither the feeling of the handle of the bucket, nor the sound of sand pouring into the bucket, nor the vibration with which this sand got there, although I tried to think about it and imagine. I have not seen anything.



I was again discouraged. I was suggestible, I could hypnotize myself, and I'm sure after all the videos and books I've read, I could induce almost anyone into a hypnotic coma. But I don't feel anything, I don't see anything except the back of my closed eyelids.



And now I am getting closer to the actual topic of the post.

After conducting a deeper study, I came to the conclusion that I have a rather rare feature, which in 2017 American psychologists given the term of "aphantasia" as the inability to create any mental images of one's own free will consciously. I used to be sure that when people say that they see themselves on the beach, lying in the sun and their feet are washed by the waves of salty coastal water, I thought it was a figure of speech, that only gifted individuals like Einstein can actually SEE and FEEL it ... But it turned out that I am underdeveloped,/disabled, I do not have the ability that almost every person has to varying degrees. Yes, maybe not everyone sees photographs of an exact copy of reality with their eyes closed, but people are able to at least see blobs of color, spots, feel pressure or heat. I can do none of those, when I close my eyes I see only endless lifeless emptiness.



Why do I need this, you ask, why can't I live like this? Well, this is the same as asking a person blind since birth, who suddenly found out that not all people are blind like him, why should he see, because he already lives normally.



No, this is NOT the norm. I want to get this ability, which it seems God cheated on me, I don't know why I made Him so angry before I was born, since He decided to do this.

You know, I watched one video on YouTube about aphantasia, and there one guy commented on it very accurately.
"So you REALLY see an apple when you imagine it? This is not a figure of speech ?! Do you really see a ripe, shiny, juicy red apple in front of your eyes ?! WOW! If I could do that, I could just have been watching cartoons in my head the whole day with my eyes closed.
How can you be sad or bored with SUCH ability ?! "



What to do? Don’t convince me that I don’t need it and I overestimate this ability. No, I know, I feel it with my gut, with my heart, that I need it. I know ... And the lack of this ability is gnawing at me even more unbearable now that I know that this is NOT the norm that something is wrong with me.



P.S. If someone wants to ask - yes, I have dreams, very vivid ones sometimes. Often they are quite illogical, but yet very impressive and colorful, but I remember them later as words and ideas, and not as images. And I KNOW that I saw the images while I was sleeping and that I felt every little thing, even the wind and the touch of grass on my hands, but I cannot restore the images in my head while I was awake.
 
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Jul 2021
619
79
London
Hello everyone. I didn't know where to write about this, I was thinking about social media, but decided it's stupid. Still the forum is more serious I guess, he he he. I will not be short, get ready.

I'm 33, when I was around 17 I became interested in hypnosis and self-hypnosis, and specifically because of the idea of "experiencing visions and experiencing life events again" in a deep trance state. I began to practice self-hypnosis in every possible way, with every possible technique. I had then a book that was mainly devoted to Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP, but it was very detailed and interesting. There was a section dedicated to self-hypnosis with several techniques like "fist clenching" or "hand raising" Almost all of them worked for me, the fist clenched, the eyelids were heavy, sometimes I felt warmth in my body, although I could not completely relax. But I didn’t feel the most important thing - I didn’t see a single image, not even spots of color, I didn’t hear sounds, I didn’t feel anything by touch, as it was described in the book.

I decided that I was not deep enough, that I had to relax to the point of losing my body sensations, enter into somnambulism in order to gain access to visualization. For about 14 years I have spent on experiences and experiments with hypnosis and relaxation, meditations with one single purpose - to enter a trance of sufficient depth to see images "bright and detailed, which would be perceived by my brain as reality", as it is advised and described in all books on development, self-hypnosis, fulfilling desires and setting goals.

I got Nothing. I was sure that I could not go into trance. And then I came across one video of an old American hypnotist, whose professionalism there was little doubt, judging by the way he talked about the topic and what he showed in the video. He bluntly said that relaxation in the body is an optional factor for deep trance, and he has demonstrated this on video several times, dropping people into somnabulism almost instantly. This inspired me once again.

Turned out I can go into trance? I began to read further on the topic and watch other videos. One was a simple suggestibility test with an imaginary sand bucket and a balloon. I will describe it here. You stand in the middle of a room and close your eyes with both arms outstretched in front of you with one hand turned up to the ceiling and the other one down to the floor. Next you imagine that a balloon with helium is tied to the first hand that pulls your hand up, and in another one you hold a bucket into which sand is poured with a shovel, and it becomes heavier. As a result, when you open your eyes, your suggestibility can be judged by the angle to which your hands went. My result was ambiguous - my hands were pointing in different directions at an angle of almost 180 degrees, one pointed upwards, and the other at the floor and ached as if I had really been holding a bucket of sand weighing at least 10 kg in it for five minutes.

Suggestibility that was, but I did not feel ANYTHING except pain in my hand. There was neither the feeling of the handle of the bucket, nor the sound of sand pouring into the bucket, nor the vibration with which this sand got there, although I tried to think about it and imagine. I have not seen anything.



I was again discouraged. I was suggestible, I could hypnotize myself, and I'm sure after all the videos and books I've read, I could induce almost anyone into a hypnotic coma. But I don't feel anything, I don't see anything except the back of my closed eyelids.



And now I am getting closer to the actual topic of the post.

After conducting a deeper study, I came to the conclusion that I have a rather rare feature, which in 2017 American psychologists given the term of "aphantasia" as the inability to create any mental images of one's own free will consciously. I used to be sure that when people say that they see themselves on the beach, lying in the sun and their feet are washed by the waves of salty coastal water, I thought it was a figure of speech, that only gifted individuals like Einstein can actually SEE and FEEL it ... But it turned out that I am underdeveloped,/disabled, I do not have the ability that almost every person has to varying degrees. Yes, maybe not everyone sees photographs of an exact copy of reality with their eyes closed, but people are able to at least see blobs of color, spots, feel pressure or heat. I can do none of those, when I close my eyes I see only endless lifeless emptiness.



Why do I need this, you ask, why can't I live like this? Well, this is the same as asking a person blind since birth, who suddenly found out that not all people are blind like him, why should he see, because he already lives normally.



No, this is NOT the norm. I want to get this ability, which it seems God cheated on me, I don't know why I made Him so angry before I was born, since He decided to do this.

You know, I watched one video on YouTube about aphantasia, and there one guy commented on it very accurately.
"So you REALLY see an apple when you imagine it? This is not a figure of speech ?! Do you really see a ripe, shiny, juicy red apple in front of your eyes ?! WOW! If I could do that, I could just have been watching cartoons in my head the whole day with my eyes closed.
How can you be sad or bored with SUCH ability ?! "



What to do? Don’t convince me that I don’t need it and I overestimate this ability. No, I know, I feel it with my gut, with my heart, that I need it. I know ... And the lack of this ability is gnawing at me even more unbearable now that I know that this is NOT the norm that something is wrong with me.



P.S. If someone wants to ask - yes, I have dreams, very vivid ones sometimes. Often they are quite illogical, but yet very impressive and colorful, but I remember them later as words and ideas, and not as images. And I KNOW that I saw the images while I was sleeping and that I felt every little thing, even the wind and the touch of grass on my hands, but I cannot restore the images in my head while I was awake.
From my recollection of hypnosis, the only thing I can think of top of my mind is Freud's treatment of hysteria.