Life with Aphantasia

I've spent my whole life knowing there's something wrong with me. Not different - wrong. Broken. Absent. When I'm asked to picture something in my head, I see nothing. It's frustrating and, at times, lonely.

Two months ago, I learned that the defect that has been with me for 47 years has a name: aphantasia. Since then, I've been greedily soaking up as much information as I can find about it, watching countless videos of people with the same condition. (This video could be me, almost word for word.) Many of the interviews feature someone saying they had no idea they were different. I've always known other people had mental images and I didn't. I've been trying my whole life to get those images, practicing like you'd practice trying to wiggle your ears on command (which I can't do either). I dream vividly, so I know it's there. I just can't get to it, like trying to see through a solid wall. I decided I just wasn't doing it right and everyone else had figured out something I couldn't. It's incredibly frustrating.

Learning that this condition has a name was huge, as was discovering that up to 2% of the population also has aphantasia. I'm not alone! Others get it! After creating the graphic above, I went in search of graphics other people had made about their experiences with aphantasia. There are many. Below are some that really spoke to me. You can read their stories in the link below each image.


One of my friends commented about how amazing it is that I can create what I do without a way to visualize it. I figure out my craft designs via sketching, not by picturing them in my head. Ideas pop into my head, but it isn't until I work them out on paper that I can see them. When I scrapbook, I just start moving pictures and papers around until I'm happy with it. I wish I could picture things in my head, but I can't. Perhaps someday, but probably not. But I'm going to keep trying.


  1. Wow! That is so good that you have discovered this about yourself! And that there are tools out there for you. I have never heard of this before, and it was interesting reading about it.

  2. This is fascinating. I’ve never heard if this before. I can’t even imagine putting together a creation without visualizing it first.

  3. I too have never heard of this! Sorry you have to deal w/ it but your creativity is amazing nonetheless!

  4. WOW. I'm on the verge of tears. I'm finishing up a Master's Degree and not having a visual memory is such a burden for a student. I cannot believe it took me so long to find that others also have this. I chalked it up to being depression but I was blank as a kid. I don't have very many dreams so when I do, I pay close attention to them. At least you have that to help you escape the mundane.

  5. Cindy, I'm 61 years old and just discovered today my condition is called Aphantasia. I've been looking around the internet and found a few links you might find helpful.





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