Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Hello everyone, daydreamers,
I'm Fred from Switzerland, 49 years old, and very strangely I started daydreaming 4 years back. I started elaborating amazing stories of a superhuman, through music listening. The scenario of my dreamed superheros would defy the best Netflix series.
Slowly but surely, it became compulsive and it has an impact on my family. I'm married since 2004 and have a 16 years old daughter. The situation of my family is not good: my wife suspects I am autistic (which I have some characteristics by the way) and is fed up of my mental absences. My daughter started smoking weed and is not very self-confident.
We all decided to make a psychological assessment to check for ADHD, HP or ASD (last one for me).
Both my wife and daughter are not aware of my daydreamings, all they know is that I have long period of absence that they put on the account of ASD. I'm so scared to tell them, because all this is under the heavy weight of SHAME.
Thinking I was alone on this weird pathology for 4 years, I innocently googled last week-end the question "person who fantasize a life of superheros pathology", and surprise : I'm not alone. Oh my god, this was a relief, a huge one !
Now the questions I have, and I hope someone on this plateform could/would help me with this, are the following :
1. Is there any psychological treatment for this ? I know this disorder is not recognized in the DSM, so there is very few researches (except an isreali guy).
2. If a healing process does exist, do you know any therapeuth in Switzerland who could help me heal from this ?
3. Should I tell my wife and daughter of my problem ?
4. Is MD necessarely related to ADHD peoples ? I'm supecting to be more on the autistic spectrum (ASD). Could ASD triggers MD easily ?
Thanks for your help,
Hi Fred, I'm Elaine 23 USA. I also have ADHD and think I'm somewhere on the spectrum, and I also daydream about superheroes and all kinds of fantasy.
I've never spoken to a therapist about this (I've talked to therapists about other things), but I think that would be the best place for you to start. Explaining the "condition" (feels weird to call it a condition) has turned out to be easier than I thought. I plan on doing the same, but I'm doing okay right now. I think it might take a few tries to find someone who really understands MD/Compulsive Fantasy and, more importantly, how WE feel about it.
As for people in your personal life, the first thing that comes to mind is that the CONTENT of your daydreams is your business, in my opinion. Everyone needs alone time. If I don't want to explain the most visceral part about myself (daydreaming) to someone, I'll say something cheeky like "I have a rich inner life. I enjoy my own company. I'm less alone than others in my alone time."
I also think you should evaluate your opinion of the "behavior" first. When I try to explain something I feel very insecure about, it can make the other person uncomfortable. If I prepare myself and rehearse, it's easier. Like you said, Netflix is garbage. It's not to hard to understand that your stories are just way more entertaining, and I think it's impressive to be able to make movies for yourself on the spot.
I'm sorry things are not good for you right now. I have a complicated relationship with my family. I smoke weed and used to be VERY insecure, but now, I feel amazing. I live with my grandmother and life isn't perfect but, I have a job, I'm on track in school, and I'm back to the old me who believed all her dreams could come true (within reason of course).
Hope this helps.
Thanks Elaine to have spent some time answering me. Your testimony touches me deeply and I need some time to digest it. But what I can see and feel is that you accept who you are and lives your life with, and not against, your daydreamings. It is almost like you extracted the best out of your daydreamings and transposed it to your reality. Because of course, they are advantages to this mental issue.
Again, thanks for answering me
Any time! Thank you for sharing and best of luck.
1. My psychological treatment is complicated to explain and was quite personal. I basically scared myself to quit daydreaming. I reminded myself that I'm a grown-ass woman with cares in life, and that I MUST pay attention at all times. ALSO. I reflected on all the years I daydreamed, and why I was doing this, but also how I effected everybody around me. I processed myself through many learning cycles of why daydreaming is not a good idea. I used the help of the Universe really, not a shrink. I believe everybody's treatments are different when it comes to controlling MD.
I STRONGLY advise you see a dream psychologist or a doctor that treats people with relevant disorders.
2. I did do healing therapy as well, and it does work in the long run. You should try it. I also MEDITATED as a process to confront my daydreaming problems. Though, this took years of practice.
3. I think you should tell your wife and daughter. I must alert you, when my mom found out that I daydreamed, it was sort of game over. She never got over this, and whatever I do with my life, she surrounds the subject of daydreaming on it. She even thinks I still actively daydream, and will not turn her sights around. I DON'T. It's actually so sad.
4. I do have Asperger Syndrome. I believe I started daydreaming heavily, because I happened to have it. AS ruined my relationship and social life—eventually, so did my MD. I honestly don't know where one part Ends and the other part Begins. LOL.
The content of my daydreams look like live action Disney movies or blockbuster hits. Other times, the content my daydreams are spooky and majestic.
I don't smoke weed, but I do Drink...
MD is a dissociative disorder.
Even if there are no official treatments and only a few professionals know about it, cognitive behavioral therapy can be really helpful.
As far as your third question is concerned, there isn't a right or wrong. It's very personal and many people don't feel like telling anyone in their family. But if you trust telling them, it is a relief to speak openly about it.
I have witnessed a caring husband crying while telling he had been grateful to be involved in his wife's problem with MD and he was happy to help her work through it. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my experience with MDers community.
I've always been a single girl with Asperger Syndrome. So I used to think that MD was for "suckers" who can't wake up to life and get with the program, who are stereotypically on their very own and aren't married with kids. I say this, because everybody I met single and coupled reacted like WTF when they found out I daydreamed.
Especially, when my mom found out, she told me there are so many young mothers age 20, who have children, and a grown-ass woman like me daydreams all day long? It was so hard for my mom to raise a baby, so she was shocked when she learned what I did. I was so humiliated and ashamed of myself at the time—still am. But then I went on this website, and realize "there is a whole world out there" of people (married, single, mothers, fathers, grandparents, professionals etc.) who DO THIS TOO. I realize that I'm definitely not alone. It opens my eyes to think that just because I'm single and MD at moments, doesn't mean I'm going to keep my status, because we think not anybody goes around with their head in the clouds. We all keep well grounded minds. It sounds more like we MD'er's walk amongst the rest of us. I just so happened to meet people all my life who didn't agree with my personal habits, and were very upset about it.
MD involves experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity.
When I was in my twenties, I was having so much fun with MD. Why I believed that it was assuring I'd have a great and promising future. That was so stupid. It actually takes work to even be 'happy' in adulthood. Of course I was just a kid with no life experiences. I do recall everybody reacting on me like I had problems.
In my experience, MD is itself a symptom of deeper issues with one's mental health, and by extension their everyday life. Do not make the mistake of taking your problem at face value. It didn't manifest out of nowhere, and it will not vanish if you attempt to tackle it directly. I strongly suspect something else is wrong behind the scenes.
If you ever decide to discuss this matter with anyone not in the loop, so to speak, I cannot stress enough that you must be able to explain it thoroughly, exhaustively and most of all, clearly. I've had to break the concept down into the smallest details more times than I care to mention, lest it be mislabeled as any one of a number of other, better known disorders. Miscommunication will be your worst enemy, and it's always waiting behind a corner ready to pounce on you and ruin everything.
Unfortunately, this kind of clarity requires that you comprehend your own situation well enough to put it in words, and that in turn requires deep insight into what is going on in your head. The nature of the process by which one may obtain that insight, however, is entirely subjective and only you can figure out how to go about it.
I really should've communicated with my family when MD started and got stronger. It took me 12 years later to reveal to my mom that I was living on mars much of the time.
These days are different, I have a better grasp of reality and feel no need to MD. Though I can't lie that I don't still catch myself daydreaming from time to time. My family can still spot when I stare into space and don't listen to their words. Then again, I could be getting over a sleep cycle early that morning.
There is such a huge awareness about mental health these days, suddenly we are all judging each other hard. I've experienced many moments in my youth, where I've met people, and some of them "spot on" thought I was cuckoo. Even if I happened to be quite a nice person.
This is why I progressively stop doing MD altogether, I stopped thinking it was worth it. Still, life is hard. "Sorry I went and did that" just doesn't come easily.
I live in Canada, we are so stern when it comes to mental illness, it's not funny.