My question is geared toward older MDers not because I want to exclude anyone (younger people) but because I feel I've been going through bad symptoms that I'm not sure younger people are struggling with ... maybe yet. Given that I'm not that old yet, I figure I'm at that uncertain time of my life where I've realized how much I've hurt others with the time I've spent daydreaming. How I've hurt myself by not taken better care of myself, how I could have harnessed the power of my imagination and formed a good job or hobby instead I wasted it on pacing and muttering to myself.

I didn't want to stop when I was younger, i didn't. I still want to do it now. I would love to have that feeling of freedom and having fun back. Except now I feel so embarrassed whenever I daydream.

Since I'll use people I've met before as characters in my own little world. It use to be how I could relate and understand people especially during a time when I was having the most trouble getting to know people. It's what gave me confidence when I had none. I loved everything about daydreaming.

But now it's more like a nightmare that I'm too addicted to stop. I'm constantly horrified that people I've met years ago can tell what I'm thinking now. It seems as if they know that I'm playing/acting out scenes in my head with them as my character. I get embarrassed and afraid that they can see that I compare them and intertwine them to other people i've seen on t.v. This feeling has been plaguing me for over a year. It's causing me to actually fear when I daydream. After some research I believe this is what is called 'thought withdrawal'. I'm not sure but the description seems to fit.

Is this okay or am I blurring the lines between reality and imaginary? Is this a normal effect of aging while still 'playing pretend' or is this just me? Is it even safe to think of others in the past and use them, or does anyone else feel guilty and slightly paranoid for using people they have met before? I really want to go back to using my imagination with some peace and sound of mind but until then it's painful.

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I'm older but don't think I can help with this. I don't use real people in my DDs, other then myself. But I can see how it would make you uncomfortable around those people.

It is common to daydream about sex with people you had it with and got some enjoyment out of it. If you are frustrated now this is not surprising for sex or other interests.  If you play out scripts when you meet these people, you might tend to try and direct the dialogue to fit into your script. I do this a lot. And if you are repeating some dialogue that you had with them before, depending on how their memory is, they will be able to read your next line because it's been done before. I also invent new scripts and try to force the dialogue into my script. This can irritate people because you get off the ebb & flow of what the other guy is saying. If you feel/felt inadequate about dealing with people intimately, you tend to think about foreign policy, movies, novels and things that are distant from your local environs. "All politics is local." Tip O'Neill used to say. If you can't deal with the folks, you will never get to Washington, the world summits, etc. You'll lose the local election to get you on your way. Think now! Think spontaneity and keep it up till you break down the bad habit. I am trying hard and I am 60 years old. It is frustrating breaking a life long habit that has given some pleasure and relief in the past.

I don't think  that what you describe is thought withdrawal (thought extraction). If it were thought withdrawal, you would believe someone removed your thoughts, right?    The thoughts would be gone from your mind.

If I understand you correctly, you feel that people are able to know that you are thinking about them, even though you have not had any contact with them for several years.

I agree with you that it is probably due to your feeling guilty for utilizing them in your daydreams.

I have not read that anyone else has this specific belief.  Folks with Fantasy Prone Personality have some odd beliefs.

I believe what folks call MD is always associated with some other mental problem. I also believe that mental illness, when not treated, worsens over time.  If you are not being treated, I feel you should, because it sounds like your personal condition is worsening and compounding. 

Believing folks are capable of reading your thoughts does not sound healthy to me. I'm not saying that you are loosing your grip on reality. I just think  you should take steps to feel in more in control of your thoughts and life.

I am late 40's and can relate to much of what you described. However, people can't know that you have been including them in your fantasies by reading your mind. MDD sufferers can tell the difference between fact and fantasy. However, like the previous poster advised if you are gripped by this feeling that others have unlocked your thought patterns perhaps there is something else happening to you. Perhaps it is no more than excessive feelings of guilt over your day dreaming but it might be wise to have it checked out. The main thing is not to feel bad about your history of MDD. Sure it has all cost us dearly but we were all doing our best with the resources to hand. We used MDD unwittingly as a means of coping and making life enjoyable. Good luck.

I sometimes have this same issue, but it hasn't caused me any fear or embarrassment. I constantly just tell myself hey don't know my thoughts or how much I daydream about them, but only to keep me sane. Just try and let yourself know that it's ok and that nobody can read your thoughts or know about your thoughts. Your thoughts are your thoughts, nobody elses.

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