Where wild minds come to rest
I don't know whether to call my childhood normal or not. I always associate the word "normal" with the majority. I don't know how the majority of kids are raised so. Anyway, my relationship with my mom, during early childhood, was clingy and needy. I always wanted to be wherever my mom was. She was a busy woman. She worked, went to school and still found time for her kids. I think she did a good job of spoiling me. If I cried, I got my way. It was a simple formula. I'm the youngest of 3 girls. My older sisters held a grudge with me for a long time over the spoiling my mom did. My dad was hardly in my life. I don't think I wanted him around. My older sister's longed for his visits and weekends at his place, but I cried and clung to my mom every time he showed up. I didn't know him. He and my mother divorced when I was 3. So, I didn't know him like my older siblings knew him. He was terrifying to me. He was very strict and there was a language barrier, him being a Jamaican native. I couldn't understand Patois when I was little so I spent a lot of time acting like I understood him when I really didn't. I just hated being around him. He always lived in a nice place, but he was mean spirited and impatient.
My school experience was unstable. We moved often. I never developed strong friendships. We were lower income so we often lived in apartments with roach infestations. This never bothered me. Me and the one sister I was kind of close with made a game out of killing roaches. It was our "normal". My mom had a boyfriend at this time who was very handsome, had a job and played with me and my sisters a lot. We liked him on most days. On the weekends he would get drunk and beat my mom. They were together for 4 years. When they broke up for good, my mom got really sick. I was about 8 years old. I remember her skin color fading. She looked grey and her hair was falling out. She needed to be hospitalized so she asked family members if they could take care of me and my sisters for a while until she got better, but they rejected her. Her last resort was my dad. After making him feel like a piece of sh*t for saying no, he finally agreed to let the 3 of us stay with him. This was the worst news of my life at the time. I could hardly stand a weekend with this man and I was being sent to live with him for x amount of time.
While living with him I zoned out a lot. I simply didn't want to be there. I worried for my mom. There were rumors floating around my family that my mom had contracted an incurable disease. It killed my spirit and all I could do was hope it wasn't true. My dad had a piano in his living room so I turned it to express myself. He eventually found a way to make piano-playing a bad thing. So, I felt I had to stop.
After almost a whole year of living with my dad, my mom regained her health enough to get us back. We moved into a house in a suburban area, but she no longer worked or went to school. Though I was generally happy to be living in a better neighborhood and with my mom, I still worried because I knew something was still wrong with her. She eventually sat me and my sisters down and had a private conversation with us where she revealed she was HIV positive. It was beyond shocking. All I kept thinking was, why my mom. Why my mom? I stopped believing in God at that time. My mom got on drugs pretty bad. Crackheads frequented our house. I often wen't to school smelling bad and got teased by other kids. Me and my sisters basically raised ourselves from there. My mom was always zoned out.
Since I had lost all hope in my mom and even felt embarrassed by her behavior (especially in public), I let go of the bond I once had with her. I started to hate her. At school I would tell kids that my mom was some pretty woman in a photo I brought to school with me. I began compulsively lying a lot. I would make up stories to entertain kids. It helped me feel the way I wanted to feel about life. I couldn't accept what was really going on. My compulsive lying would always catch up with me because my sisters would always tell my peers I different version of things. They often stole my friends and turned people against me. The thing I wanted most as a kid was friends. Usually, I played with kids much younger than me. They were the ones who admired me and my stories.
My sisters thought I was pathetic and made fun of me a lot. I was a bed wetter. They would swear to each other that I would never find a husband when I got older because he would get tired of getting pissed on. I was 9 years old at the time. I was extremely embarrassed and my mom was too spaced out to come to my defense or at least tell them to stop. So, I was pretty isolated and left to be my own ally.
In the front yard of our house, there was a big beautiful tree. I loved climbing this tree. It was so peaceful at the top of it. I would sit up there for hours everyday after school just viewing the neighborhood. I could see everything from up there and no one could see me. This is where I began daydreaming.
It started out very silently. At that time, the daydreams were just in my head and they were only about very beautiful things. I would imagine landscapes and musical pieces. I would imagine myself becoming a great pianist. I absolutely loved music and I could play very well by ear, but I didn't tell anyone because I thought they'd pick me apart and tell me I sucked.
I didn't have characters in my daydreams until after I saw the movie "Titanic". This movie bothered me so much. I didn't understand why Jack had to die. I took it too personal. From that, I created another "Titanic" and Jack...and of course he lived in my version. :) I was so creative. So, the first character I ever created was based on Leonardo DiCaprio. Over time, his image changed. The scenario changed and the plot changed. By the time I was 12 or 13 there were friends, family members and co-workers. Probably 100 characters and I imagined from all of their perspectives at different times.
Also, by that time, the fantasies were no longer silent. I became a mumbler. Whenever someone walked passed my bedroom door, I would become silent. Then when I felt safe, I would continue. This went on for years. As people grew up, they probably forgot about many of the events I still remember. As time went by, they labeled me as anti-social, depressed, mean and I've even been accused of worshiping the devil. I've had all kinds of labels put on me simply because people couldn't make any sense of why I spent so much time in my room, usually with the lights off and windows covered. I wasn't necessarily depressed. I was in another world. The emotions I felt in this other world were real to me. I was happy there. My anger was true anger there. My passions where most passionate there. I had perfect siblings there. A perfect mom. A perfect dad. A perfect...anything I wanted. I could have it as long as I could imagine it. I knew it seemed weird to other people that I had no friends and avoided opportunities to make friends. I simply didn't care. Somewhere, in another place, I had it all. I would do just enough on the outside world to keep people from being too concerned about me. I didn't want the attention. I didn't want them investigating me. I wanted them to live on thinking everything was ok so they'd leave me alone so I could daydream. It had literally become an addiction.
In high school I started getting involved in music and had actually sang solo's in my school choir. I performed the national anthem for a few games and had a couple of friends. All this was to maintain a normal image so that my daydreaming wouldn't be jeopardized. I figured if anyone ever figured out what I was doing it would be over. I would be exposed as the weirdest human being on the planet. I even imagined it being broadcast on the news. The anchors laughing about it and me absolutely wanting to kill myself. So, it was top secret. No one knew about it and I did everything I could to keep it that way.
At 19, I joined the U.S Navy. I joined because I wanted to see the world. I wanted to get away from my mom and sisters. I wanted to see if the daydreaming could be destroyed by a change of environment. It was the longest time I went without daydreaming. I was so stressed out during bootcamp. I didn't even have periods. The food was nasty, but if we didn't eat we were cursed out.lol I met a lot of good people while serving. However, after being sent to a ship...the daydreams returned. It made me delusional. When my ship went underway from Singapore back to Hawaii I lost my freakin' mind. I forgot where I was. I didn't remember joining the service. I didn't know who I was. My identity started glitching or something. I had laughing spells. I lost all military bearing. Eventually, I was sent to the ship doctor. They put me on bed rest. That's when I knew, something was seriously wrong with me. They had me talk to the ship psychologist and he diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder. They discharged me under honorable conditions (which isn't the same thing as an honorable discharge). I served only 7 months. It was a wild ride.
After I got discharged, I used to separation pay to support myself and got my own place. I started searching for answers. I needed to know why I was the way I was. I couldn't name it or anything. I felt so alone. I had heard of all kinds of mental disorders, but none of them described mine. I didn't want to start any new relationships with anyone because my perception changed so often that I would forget about my relationships with them. Sometimes I would be this party animal wanting to get drunk an act wild...making friends who behaved that way. A couple of days later, I'm more down to Earth and mellow...also making friends in that category. Then, I would disappear from all of them. I mean, literally moving to a new apartment on the other side of town, just to start over. I've done this at least 3 times. I spent 5 years, from 19 years old to now, looking for confirmation that such a condition exists. Well... hello everyone. I'm Lauren and I'm a Maladaptive Daydreamer (and probably a couple of other things). ❤
I no longer look at it in a pessimistic way. I see it as a creative technique used to get by. The addictiveness is the main problem and as I mentioned in another post, I believe the more good experiences I create in real life, the less desire there will be to fantasize.