Hyperphantasia is really the polar opposite of aphantasia. So if you’ve already read that entry, you’ll be off to a good start.

Hyperphantasia, like so many of these conditions, is not exclusive to autistic people but it’s a recognised feature for some of us. Figures vary from 2.5% to 10% of the entire human population that are thought to be hyperphantasic.

Put simply, it is the ability to mentally visualise past events, or conjure imagined ones in the future, to the extreme. Mental imagery is so vivid, so tangible, that it feels real – perhaps like wearing a virtual reality headset. There can be other senses involved too – there is very likely to be audio ‘footage’ and maybe even smell and touch. It’s a fascinating and under-researched area.

Being hyperphantasic has its advantages: we tend to have very accurate memories of events, because it’s like a video recording, with all the minute details – move for move, word for word. This can make for very annoying conversations with people when they insist on something having happened a certain way and we absolutely know that it didn’t because we can flick through our footage and replay it. It’s not literally that, of course, it just feels like that.

A seriously distressing consequence of being hyperphantasic with traumatic memories is that these recollections are so realistic, recalling them can be re-traumatising.