Snakes & snails & puppy dog tails? Aphantasia & SDAM? What makes a Savage?
January 2020 I decided to try 23andMe for general curiosity and to use the raw data for workout and diet tweaking. Little did I know it would take me down a path of self discovery! I signed up and found out some cool things like - I have a little Nigerian (wished it was Keynan), I'm pretty much white from Europe (who'd have figured right?), and I have more Neanderthal DNA than 26% of the other 23andMe users. For folks that haven't done this I will explain a little more about the process. You sign up, spit into a container, mail it back, then in a week or two you get the results. In the mean time you start getting requests to fill out questionnaires on line. It was one of these that change my life.
One simple question........ Do you have Aphantasia, the inability to visualize?
It's kinda crazy to think that one sentence can bring so much into light for a person. I'm sitting there 49 years old having never actually visualized anything and assuming everyone was like me. All those times that other people said some stupid stuff that didn't make sense, or someone on tv had a video flashback. I quickly looked it up and my mind was blown!
What is Aphantasia? It is the inability to visualize mental images. When we close our eyes it is just black. We can't picture something we have seen or create an image of something in our mind. Just black. Throw on a little SDAM (Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory) in the mix and you get me.
What is SDAM (Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory)? It is the lifelong inability to vividly recollect or re-experience personal past events from a first-person perspective.
So what does all that mean? It means when you think I am a butthole, we'll blame it on Aphantasia and SDAM. It also means I pretty much live in the day and don't think much about the past or future. I can't picture a future and I can't re-experience the past. It's great when I toe the line on a 100 miler. I know it's gonna hurt, but don't really recall what that hurt is like. It kind of sucks when you realize other people can see their wife or kid's face in their mind and you can't. It's good that I have a really hard time really holding on to a grudge. I know I am supposed to be mad and angry, but just can't make it happen any more. It sucks when I can't recall the emotion when I was at the alter or when my boys were born.
I currently call it a superpower, unless I am in trouble, then it's a disability.
Right now they think only around 3% of the population has Aphantasia. I have met 1 other person so far. If you think you have Aphantasia let me know. We have our own special facebook groups where people ask extremely goofy questions all the time. It's great entertainment.