I started to google basically every form of “I can’t visualize anything in my head” and couldn’t come up with any information. Was something wrong with me? Was this a symptom of my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? What was going on!? I went and asked my husband if he could think of something and visualize it in his mind. “Yeah of course” he said quickly, “yeah of course!!? What do you mean of course?”, I was so confused. He could easily see in his head anything that he thought of. I quickly went and messaged basically all my friends and asked them the same thing. All but ONE said the same thing as him. Only one person understood what I was talking about. That’s when I realized that this isn’t something most people live with, but it wasn’t only me.
The whole “no mental imagery thing” hit me hard. It made me sad, broke my heart really… but, it also connected so many things that never made sense to me before. After almost 33 years, I finally understood why I always got so confused and frustrated when people told me to “visualize my happy place” and couldn’t. The pain I felt when I closed my eyes and desperately wanted to see my mom who died’s face again and wasn’t able to. Why I obsess over needing to take photos of everything and making sure I never lose them, instead of “living in the moment”. Why I connected so deeply to music, scents, and pictures and used them as ways to calm myself. Why I struggled so intensely in school… because I couldn’t remember…. it all made sense. It all made so much sense.
What I would do to be able to close my eyes and see my moms beautiful face, just that simply. The only way I can “see” her again in my head is in my dreams. I do dream, my dreams are so vivid and clear. They are almost real and always have been. Sometimes I wake up and can’t tell if they really happened or if it was just a dream. That alone to me makes this even more strange. How can I see and remember in my dreams, but not in my thoughts? There are so many questions.
I remember seeing posts online about internal dialogue, and some people not having one. But that’s not my story, I can talk to myself, I definitely have an internal dialogue (my anxiety would probably tell you it’s too much of one), but I do not have the mental image. It’s like I’m missing that connection…I just can’t see it. I sit here right now writing this blog post from thought, from my internal dialogue, but I cannot see a unicorn in my mind for the life of me. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is, and I wonder how people without an internal dialogue feel not being able to hear themselves in their minds. Are they also incredibly saddened when they realize they don’t have this? Do they feel like they’re missing a piece of their internal puzzle too?
While I don’t have any answers as to why, I do plan on trying to find them. All I know today is that this new realization is something that I am struggling with but will grow to accept. It seems for now, this is just a part of who I am, and have lived with as long as I can remember. What I do know is that from this point on, I won’t feel bad for taking all the pictures, or videos of my kids ever again. Every article that says to “live in the moment” and “put the phone down” doesn’t work for me. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to see my children’s faces when I need what “most” people can easily see in their minds.
Maybe this blog post seems ridiculous to you, or maybe it hits close to home (if it does please let me know). But think about it (or visualize it since you probably can ha), how you would feel if you realized that something so “normal” for you, wasn’t actually “normal” at all. How would that change you once you learned it? It’s the whole mentality that you are something different than what you always thought you were… and for some, including me… it is life changing.
Do you have something like this? Or know of someone that does? If so, send me a message or comment below. I’d love to hear from you. I would love to know if someone was actually able to learn to train their brain to see differently, or if they learned ways to cope better with this information. ❤️