Or the sound of your voice.
I recently found out that I’m not exactly “normal” when it comes to how I remember how people look. My world is black and white, but not just in the BPD/cognitive distortion sense of the word.
I’m unable to remember what people look like. How their voices sound. The way they walk. I was talking to an old school friend recently, and she was talking about some other students and teachers from our school days. The way she was describing them, I just couldn’t see it. I can’t remember what any of them look like. I have the memories of some of the events she was talking about, but had no recollection of how those she spoke of looked. I don’t quite know how to describe this, since it’s a normal thing for me. I can’t visualize the person’s face. It’s weird. It’s much more of a sense of that person, which for me, translates as seeing. I don’t know if this makes sense. How can I explain something that was always normal to me, and compare it to others experiences?
The strange thing is that during a flashback, I can see the faces of some of “them”… And their facial expressions of the moments I’m reliving, but not always either. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve known someone, if I don’t see them face to face, or in a photo, I can’t picture them. For example, even with the dad. I’ve lived with him most of my life, yet I can’t remember what he looks like when I don’t see him. It’s the same with everyone. With him I can see the facial features I inherited from him when looking in the mirror, but that’s still not the same thing.
I also struggle with my other senses, like smell and taste. Like in guided meditation, when they say something like “bite into the apple and taste the sweetness of it. Feel the juice dripping down your chin. Smell the ocean air, hear the sound of the waves, the birds singing overhead.” Nothing. I can visualize it, but there are no senses involved.
When I say “I can still remember her face, that look on her face”, it’s not the person’s face I’m recalling. I know who it is, but I can’t actually see their face, their nose, eyes, etc. It’s because I know what a smile looks like. I know what expressions look like. So it’s not an actual snapshot of how the expression looked like on them. God, this is confusing. Instead of “out of sight, out of mind”, the more accurate phrase for me is “out of view, out of mind’s eye”.
It’s unsettling that others can do what I can’t. All those times I’ve said that I hear someone’s voice in my head? Well, it’s their words, in my voice. I thought this was how it is. I didn’t know there was another way. As for the method of self-soothing that some people use… Picturing the faces of their loved ones helps them feel calm and safe. But I can’t do that. I have to rely on voice notes and photo’s. It doesn’t seem fair. But hey, life’s not fair.
I’ve “interviewed” most of the people I know, and I’m the only one who seems to struggle this much. They can all visualize someone’s face, some clearer than others, and hear the sound of their loved one’s voice. I’m the odd one out. They’re fascinated. I’m pissed off. Does anyone know whether this is a BPD thing, or a “me” thing?