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Prosopagnosia, or living without being able to recognize a face most of the time. Face Blindness.

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posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 11:47 AM
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No conspiracy, but it's a topic that gets little attention, and leaves you feeling out of step with the world.

Yes, it's debilitating because if you don't see someone on a regular basis you search for clues when they obviously know you. Stumbling through conversation looking for clues while trying not to let on that you don't know them on sight can be one of the most anxiety provoking things you go through with this condition. Usually I find a marker that isn't the face to clue me in to who you are, like hair, a distinctive feature, your location, clothes, etc...

Change your hair, have a mole removed or some other distinguishing feature modified, and I'm lost. Even someone saying hello on the street is a panic that sets off a scramble to figure out who you are, and then I'm missing what you're saying. This brings on more anxiety because I can't follow the conversation while I'm confused.

A perfect example would be a walk in the mall a few weeks ago. The lady called my name and started a conversation about the tot she was with, and how she was expecting again, with the obvious baby bump. I picked up her little girl, and we chatted for a while as I held this little bundle of joy, but I had no idea who this woman was. You start using leading question to get a time frame, like "How old is she now?", "Did you change your hair?", "How's Everybody doing?".

But you still have no clue who you're talking to.

Work is being done in this field, and I know mine was caused by a fall when I was much younger that damaged that small part of my brain, but the damage is long term.

Can you imagine a life that if you don't see a friend for several days you don't know who they are? Or seeing your brother after several months apart and having no recognition of who it is? Sure, all the memories of everything you've ever done together is totally intact once you know who it is, but the face is still a blank slate until you can associate something that makes a connection. And the baby in the mall with her mother, I had actually delivered that baby and had known the mother for years. I just didn't know who she was when she approached me at the mall.

Many people withdraw from family and social situation, suffer anxiety in public places because of a fear of being recognized, and many just cut ties with society and hide because of the shame they feel from not recognizing people they have known for so long. Most people I know understand that I need a clue as to who they are sometimes, like "Hey, I'm Janet from the marketing department, we were going to go over the Chivas ads for the summer". And that works if I don't try to hide the problem.

I'm not sure how common this disorder is, but if you feel comfortable talking about it, I'm most interested in what you use as coping skills in daily life that make your life easier, and not so prone to anxiety and panic, or even if you feel anxiety and panic.

Thanks, anx.........




posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 12:22 PM
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Wow...... that must be incredibly hard to deal with. Is this a life long thing that you have suffered with. I don't mean to belittle it by calling it a thing. It reminds me of the case of Dr Oliver sacks? the man who mistook his wife for a hat.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 12:28 PM
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a reply to: anxietydisorder


Thank you do much for sharing this. The anxiety is understandable and I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

It would make me want to always wear a shirt or button that says "I have Prosopagnosia - tell me your name and how I know you before speaking to me please"

Maybe being totally "out of the closet" about it would ease some stress.

Hopefully someone else can connect with you on this personally. I appreciate you shining a light on this little known condition.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 12:48 PM
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The anxiety is the spider sense.

The prosopagnosia does what myopia does, socially. I see it as a blessing in that it allows me to focus on people's vibe before interacting. Smiles from someone whose face I remember may be deceptive.

I stopped wearing glasses after I started seeing familiar faces and not being able to replace them in context despite an otherwise sound memory.

To deal with this, one may choose to be open to the possibility of greeting total strangers sometimes and not instantly acknowledging past interactions with even inner circles in other instances. It's all right.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 01:00 PM
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a reply to: Cloudbuster

It actually isn't something I was born with, though some are born this way because of a development issue in the brain. Mine was acquired around the age of 14 when I took a dive into water that wasn't deep enough and I struck my head on the bottom.

Nothing was thought of it at the time, I was at summer camp, was looked at by the nurse, and taken to hospital just in case there was something like a concussion, but I was fine until I got home a couple weeks later. It was then that things started showing up.

I didn't recognize my little brother, or my friend for years was a total blank.

Everything is fine once you know who they are. There is no memory loss, you remember every detail of the things you've done together. It's only recognizing the face that becomes a blank, and people that know me know that I may not know them without some sort of clue, like a brief re-introduction. I mentioned that I use a lot of other visual clues like distinctive marks and locations. Be where I expect you to be, have big ears, a crooked nose, hair colour is important especially if its red, or please have a big hairy mole that I can see.

A racist might say "They all look the same to me". But for me, you do look all the same.

I think the worst thing was not recognizing my mum after being away for a long time. She had a very noticeable birth mark removed from her cheek while I was away on a job, and she had probably changed her hair and stuff. But I sat in a room wondering who the old lady was that was with my family, and I cried when my sister referred to her as mom in conversation.

I had no idea for that first while that the lady I had poured tea for and offered biscuits to was my own mother.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 01:18 PM
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without this special part of the brain/special connection of neurons humans all look pretty much the same?

That is interesting. Does it only apply to human faces or any animal?

can you tell an attractive face from a non-attractive face? or are they about the same?
If they are about the same how does one judge attractiveness?



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 01:54 PM
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originally posted by: jellyrev
Does it only apply to human faces or any animal?

can you tell an attractive face from a non-attractive face? or are they about the same?
If they are about the same how does one judge attractiveness?


Of course I can distinguish a black man from a white man, but don't ask me to tell them apart as individuals. Asians seem to blend together more than any others though. A black cat is easy to tell from a gray cat, but I'd really need to get to know a giraffe before I could tell it apart from it's kin.

I see attractiveness in people, as in I know what's sexy to me, but a lot of that has to do with getting to know you on a deeper level. It's not that I don't see faces, and notice attractiveness, it's that I may not remember your face on a second date if it's the week after.

Apparently I didn't have a very hot looking husband for 22 years, but that was my choice because I loved him, and I knew what he looked like on a daily basis. Work took us away from each other weeks at a time far too often, but I always kept a picture of him to remind me.

I actually keep a file of people I need to be in touch with, and I review their pictures before I have to meet with them. In today's world of constant cameras, life has become a bit easier.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 02:52 PM
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I find it strange that you haven't mentioned voices. Can you distinguish from voice alone who you are speaking with?



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 03:00 PM
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a reply to: anxietydisorder
Wow. Sorry you're having to deal with this. I can only imagine. I did a thread on this back in 2013. According to the article I used as a source, a conservative estimate would be 2.5% of the population. There are a couple of videos you might find interesting as well. Prosopagnasia



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 03:00 PM
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a reply to: anxietydisorder

I met a model in London once, I was there as a digital assistant, but she came over during a break and was just friendly chatty.
For some reason I blurted out that I was getting faceblind from looking at all those stills I was going over.

So she responds "oh... I have that as well!" And since I didnt know about this issue at the timd I was just like "oh ok".
Later I looked her up on google and apparently she was semi famous because of this. Her own story was that he husband (who was years older then her) ended up being her husband because he was the first face she felt like she truly recognised......

It really is an interesting condition, but I can imagine how much stress it can cause also.
edit on 13/2/16 by flice because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 03:14 PM
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originally posted by: Doodle19815
I find it strange that you haven't mentioned voices. Can you distinguish from voice alone who you are speaking with?


Sometimes, but not in my family. My dad's voice was the same as all my brothers, uncles, and even some of the cousins. My grandmother had and English accent that was easy, but it was lost on my mom, aunts and sister.

So yes, voices can be a good clue with a lot of people, it just doesn't work very well within families. Months can go by before I see one of my brothers, or I'm at a family gathering, and voices are almost useless. You start grouping people by wives and children to put the pieces together, but at least with family, they know to give me a prompt if I look confused.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 04:07 PM
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originally posted by: Klassified
a reply to: anxietydisorder
Wow. Sorry you're having to deal with this. I can only imagine. I did a thread on this back in 2013. According to the article I used as a source, a conservative estimate would be 2.5% of the population. There are a couple of videos you might find interesting as well. Prosopagnasia



Interesting, and I think 2.5% might be conservative because so many of us learn coping skills that mask the issue. The list of seven signs is spot on, and I see a lot of myself in there.

Films and television I have to watch in bulk. If I don't binge watch a series I can't track the characters. But a plus side is that watching a movie, or seeing an actor in a new role is like seeing them for the first time. Sure I may wonder where I saw them before, but they are the new character I'm seeing now, so I can't judge them on past performances. I kind of like that part of the issue, but even Carl had his hat off on The Walking Dead recently, and it took a bit to clue in.

Seeing myself has been a shock a few times because I used to go on survival trips, or spend time in the bush camping for several weeks. When you get back to civilization and go to shave in front of a mirror, it can be shock and confusion all rolled into one because that is a stranger looking back at you. To forget your own face takes some time, but it has happened.

The last one about people being out of context is the worst. I associate people with places, and if they're not where they belong it's total non-recognition. In my mind people belong to their environments like home and work, I wish they wouldn't move around so much.

It's nice to see the topic get some attention, because really, most people would never understand it unless they know someone with it, or have it themselves. It's not like losing a limb or any other afflictions that are immediately noticeable, but I know that myself and others constantly cope with an invisible disability that most would never understand.

Every day is like a masquerade ball, and you're never sure who is behind that mask until the clues come together.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 04:55 PM
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I have never heard of this and appreciate your information and honesty. Your close family members and friends are aware of your condition so no worries there. As for other people who know you and you run into, just explain that due to an injury you can't remember things as you once did. No biggee, they should understand. No one should judge you as weird or anything, so don't stress. It's hard on you I'm sure, but you are surely loved by those who know you and you can recall them once you are reminded. Hugs!



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 05:29 PM
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a reply to: anxietydisorder

The reason why I asked is this, I have a blind uncle who is literally the only person who has been able to tell me apart from my mother or sister over the phone. It is a running family joke. He told me that due to his blindness, he has to rely on other clues to tell him with whom he is speaking to. So, he knows and remembers A LOT of voices.

That is why I found it strange you didn't mention it. I could never mistake my Mothers voice from anyone else's. Even if had been a year since I spoke to her. This just makes me wonder if something else isn't going on in that mind of yours.

I find your situation very fascinating. I am however sorry that you have to struggle with it. Make everyone wear a "Hello my name is _____" tag.



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 07:17 PM
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I think I have a mild form of this.
Unless someone is truly remarkable looking or I see them most days, I have real trouble recognising people by their faces.

I still can't tell the difference between Alan Armstrong and Pete Postlethwaite (actors, one of whom is dead now).

My Mrs is always making fun of me about it. I often don't recognise her best mate and once spent 10 minutes chatting to our next door neighbours at a wedding without having a clue who they were.
It can be quite daunting, but I have strategies such as calling everyone mate



posted on Feb, 13 2016 @ 09:54 PM
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Must be hard to live with I struggle with faces but I can identify people out of the corner of my eye I never needed direct sight of someone to know who they are I don't know it this was learned or always know but I am horible with names and faces

Once my coworker shaved and I treated him like a trainee for 1/2 the day I didn't know who he was his bread was how I identified him and he's actually a find of mine



posted on Feb, 14 2016 @ 12:58 AM
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Far out Brussel sprout. I wonder if another hit on the head might fix it. I'm sorry you have to deal with this. It sounds like your not the only one. Strength to you.a reply to: anxietydisorder



posted on Feb, 14 2016 @ 04:18 AM
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Wow, I'm sorry you have to deal with this. I'm sure people wouldn't mind if you told them you had a medical condition and to remind you of their name, this could alleviate a lot of your anxiety. Good luck.



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