#Aphantasia – this is me

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34039054

I started to realise that maybe what I (don’t) see in my head was different to others a few years ago. We were at bookclub, and talking about how we visualise different characters (particularly when they differ very much in film versions). When it was my turn I said ‘I don’t see pictures. The words just appear in my head’. Conversation moved on. Maybe I thought other people were exagerating, I don’t know.

A year or so later, I was taking a course which involved several sections on mindfulness. This meant that our teacher led guided meditations for up to half an hour during the session. You know the type – imagine yourself on a beach, imagine a light moving through your body. When I said that I couldn’t do that I was told to try harder. I found it such a stressful experience that I didn’t actually go back to finish the course.

This week there has been a discussion about this very phenomenon on one of the book groups I am a member of on Facebook. It confirmed for me that I’m not weird, I’m just one of a small minority of people who can’t see images in their head. And that this condition has a name and people doing research about it.

What I can see in my head

  • I can see a vague image of places I know well and have a strong emotional attachment to. I’m not sure I can draw a picture from this though.
  • Blurry/vague images of situations that I have been involved in.
  • Body shapes from a distance of people who I know well.
  • My visual recall is better when I am on the edge of sleep, but that’s not so helpful for the everyday!

What I can’t see in my head

  • Pretty much everything else! I’ll be working on a jigsaw and someone will ask me what it’s about. I can give a vague description, but not detailed or particularly helpful most of the time.
  • Faces of people. Sometimes this means I’ll meet someone out of context and will struggle to name them, or even recall how I know them if I’ve only met them a couple of times.
  • Anything to do with stories. The words just go straight into my head. I honestly get nothing from long descriptive passages, which might be why I skipped large chunks of Lord of the Rings. Heck, half the time I can’t even remember the title/author of the book I’m currently reading!
  • Music. I taught myself grade 5 Music Theory, and passed by learning the maths of music. I can’t look at sheet music and hear the tune in my head. I always thought my dad was magic when he could do that at church! If I know the piece I can usually play a good approximation, but the bassoon part to ‘Cuban Overture’ stumped me – lots of patience from my fellow bassoonist meant I got that one eventually.
  • Hockey. I’ll sit and watch an entire match and I can’t replay any of the goals in my head; or the hits and fights. I can watch a replay and think ‘oh yes’, but I couldn’t often describe something I’ve just seen. One of my only hockey memories is of Matty Soda on the blue line against Bison. He found himself alone on the ice during a line change, looked at the bench and grinned, then took the shot and scored. If I was to watch a video of that I’m sure it wouldn’t match at all!
  • Revision/memory techniques. All this ‘I imagine a peg with a goat on it’ memory work that kids are taught in school. I just learn things and remember them.
  • Films. As with hockey, I can’t see clips of films in my head. I’m amazed when people say ‘oh, I love this bit’ before we get there when watching a film.
  • Art. I can paint what I see, but the magic of looking at a block of stone and turning it into something else… Just wow

I’m not sure why I’m feeling the need to blog this. Partly so that I can get my head around other people being able to see things that I can’t, and knowing that when they are asked to ‘imagine a six legged horse on a desert’ they can do that, and partly to share that we are all different; maybe someone else I know has similar experiences to me and this might help.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Music was my first love…

Each summer holiday I have a long think about things that I would like to do in the next twelve months. Not all of them are suitable for sharing, but this year I have decided that I want to go to live music events at least once a month. I’ll keep this updated, so I can remember what I’ve done!

August
Proms – BBC Philharmonic Orchestra play Arnold (Peterloo Overture), Rachmaninov (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – with an amazing pianist, Juan Perez Floristan, who was a last minute substitute) and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake excerpts)

Proms (again) – Late night Prom, full of music from SciFi films. All new music to the Proms, two world premieres and five composers in attendance – with three of them performing their pieces with the orchestra! An amazing collection of instruments as well, contra-bass flute/clarinet/trombone, bass flute, random percussion. Good fun.

September

Organ music – there was no programme as we listened to an organist from Poland play the organ in the cathedral in Riga

Sleeping beauty – a chance to go to the opera house in Riga meant we saw the ballet sleeping beauty by Tchaikovsky with a small orchestra in the pit

October

A birthday night out to see wayward sons, stone broken and black star riders at kks steel mill. A fabulous night, made better by motley brew serving herbal tea in the corner

November

A last minute trip to Birmingham for a wolf jaw gig where they were supporting Tyler Bryant and the shakedown. A new band to me but I enjoyed their sound

December

Went to the pantomime, which while not a gig was at least supported by a pit orchestra.

January

Back to the Belgrade for ‘masters of the house’, songs from the musicals. An amazing night out.

February

Joseph and his technicolor dream coat this month. Loved the blow up sheep!

March

Plans were cancelled due to three covid19 virus

Leave a comment

Filed under Other than school

#30dayswild 12/6/19

A lunchtime walk in the gloom of June (!) at Hanbury Hall. A first chance to explore the parkland, and admire the standing deadwood as well as the new-growing conkers, before moo-ving on to the more formal gardens. The cows were wanting in to the walled kitchen garden

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenge 365

#30dayswild 11/6/19

20190611_162356.jpg Found the strawberries on the urban allotment during my walk in the rain

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenge 365

#30dayswild 9/6/19

A lovely walk along the canal today. Swans, ducks, geese and a heron all spotted.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other than school