Wild Minds Network

Where wild minds come to rest

Hello! I'm a teen, and I've had an "active imagination" for as long as I can remember. As an introvert, I've never had any problem entertaining myself--when I get bored, I just create appealing scenarios in my head, zone out, and daydream about them over and over again. Through the years, though, this daydreaming has grown from harmless to somewhat concerning. My daydreaming has become less controllable, and it has become harder and harder to turn it off and focus on the real world. I've always wondered what this condition is. Do other people have it? Am I the only one who relives imaginative fantasies constantly? A discovery on Tumblr and a Google search later, I found the answer. I am a maladaptive daydreamer. I daydream because it makes me happy--it distracts me from the problems in my life, and lets me live as someone else.

Indeed, MD is my form of escapism, except I escape to being another person. I assume most people with MD daydream about themselves, almost like a Walter Mitty situation. I kind of do, but it's a bit different. I daydream about an extension of myself. When I was younger, her name was Alice, but I have decided I like a different name better. Now, her name is Evangeline. I can't imagine my life without her, because she is me. Evangeline is me, but her characteristics and personality have been fine tuned by the real me. This sounds scary, like I have multiple personalities. I don't think I do. I can differentiate between the real me and Evangeline, and the real world and my made up one. My MD basically works like an ever-evolving movie inspired by everything I experience or like in my real life with the perfect protagonist. Evangeline possesses all the traits I like about myself, except amplified, and the opposite of all the traits I hate about myself. Evangeline goes on crazy adventures, chasing after criminals with Sherlock Holmes (the Benedict Cumberbatch version, not the Robert Downey Jr. one), or protecting women from rapists on the street with her combative street-fighting, or wielding knives as a knife-thrower, or partying with Youtubers like Dan and Phil, or lecturing about philosophy at a college. Most of the time Evangeline lives in London, in a giant house with different rooms for all of her exciting hobbies, including an entire library, a music room with every instrument imaginable, all of which she can play, and a giant bedroom with fancy furniture. Evangeline is gorgeous, thin, and strong. She has amazing athletic ability. She is extremely intelligent--a genius who went to college years earlier than is the norm. She likes philosophy, and exploring religion, and speaks over ten languages. She is talented in every sense of the word. But, she is not perfect. She is an orphan, abandoned by her mother as an infant. She struggles to form close relationships, especially those of romantic nature. She struggles with mental health. So, Evangeline is not "perfect", per say, but she is the perfect protagonist. Her story has excitement, thrill, joy, and angst. It's no wonder I'm always distracted by it. 

I have MD, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. I have never actually told anyone about this, save for the slightest mention that I sugar-coated extremely, which took place years ago. Daydreaming fills me with an overwhelming sense of contentment. I have always lived with it, and have done little to nothing to stop it. Ever since I was a young child I have fallen asleep every night to my daydreams about the perfected version of myself. Evangeline distracts me from my emotions, but also allows me to express them to myself. When I feel sad, something sad happens in Evangeline's life, but she overcomes it. When the people around her comfort her, somehow I feel better. When I feel angry, Evangeline does something like winning an argument with a sexist, and I feel triumphant. When I feel happy, Evangeline spends precious moments with her friends, who, despite all her flaws, love her for who she is. In turn, I feel appreciated. I've tried to turn this habit into something productive by writing about it, but by the time I conceptualize Evangeline's story into words, I've already moved on to a fantasy that I like more. Indeed, I daydream because it makes me happy. I realize it is a problem, but I'm too content doing it to stop. I'm not sure I could stop, even if I tried. But I wonder what life could be like if I could just live in the moment. What do other people think about when their mind wanders? Do they just think about their actual selves? Doesn't that get so boring?

So here is what I'm wondering--am I alone in having MD revolving around a character? Do other people daydream about extensions of themselves, or different people entirely, or just their regular selves? Is my habit abnormal? Should I seek help? Please do let me know, or share your experiences. I'm new to finding out about MD and this site, but reading other people's experiences is consoling. Thanks for reading!

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Comment by Anna on October 18, 2017 at 9:19am
Hi, I know that it is pretty common to dream about an alter ego of yourself. Personally I have an alter ego who is basically me, except she is also everything I want to be, and although she has lots of flaws, the characters in the daydream don't mind and accept her as she is. She is a lot more confident and brave than I am and has all the qualities I lack. I think this is pretty normal in MDDers because I know a lot of people who daydream about a "better" version of themselves. I hope this helps a bit!
Comment by meghan on September 14, 2017 at 6:25pm

hey hannah, it's actually very common for MDers to daydream about enhanced versions of themselves. i have a character who is an enhanced version of myself, but my main/favorite character is her boyfriend and he's the one the story revolves around. i relate to your post a lot. i suppose your habit is abnormal, but that's why we're all on this website together. we're all abnormal. seek help if you think you need it, don't let other people tell you that you need help. personally, i've learned to deal with my MD and i don't think i need help. i'm a little bit older than you (i'm 20) but i lived my whole teenage life with MD, so please feel free to message me if you ever want to talk.

Comment by Fallen Messenger on September 10, 2017 at 7:10am

I will gladly answer your questions, as a fellow teenage MDer, I have more than one alter ego, and they are all entirely different people from me, when I get bored with one alter ego, I move on to the next (keep in mind the process takes years and years). You're habit is quite normal for MDers, but probably really odd for other people, but maybe not as much if you describe it in general terms, without mentioning that you have it yourself. Honestly, for the seeking help part, I tied, but it made me feel a heck ton worse. I wouldn't recommend it, but maybe it was the therapist themselves, so do it at your own digression. Have a great day!

Comment by Source on September 10, 2017 at 1:46am

You'd be surprised to see how many daydream about enhanced/ideal clones of themselves. This is counterintuitive, but your habit is perfectly normal, in fact it would be abnormal if you didn't have it.

MDD is much like a geyser. What you see is the big water jet shooting up from the ground, but that jet is the result of a chain of reactions that happen deep underground. Something (or lack thereof) is buried deep within your mind, concealed by layers of its consequences. On the very surface you have MDD, but what hides under it? Why does it happen? And the reason why it happens, does it have a cause of its own?

Finding the root cause of your excessive daydreaming can be a difficult, painful process, but one that's necessary if you want to get rid of it. From what you said about Evangeline, her many successes and strengths, my guess is that a great many horrors hide deep under all that daydreaming.

Of course, don't take my word for it. If you don't know what goes on in your head, nobody can know.

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