Where wild minds come to rest
I am trying to stop MDD in my 30's. In any case, it's not safe for my head. So, I'm glad I am quitting. Older I get, the more I make a fool of myself.
Being a shy introvert, who hardly socialized, I plastered my face to a computer screen for a year, so it put me into 'my own world.' I forgot how it is to actively converse and listen to one another very well, but
also being aware of what goes on with 'other people' around me. My brain was just so tamed to reading electronic emails, doing electronic chats, watching YouTube and MSN videos, but most of all, daydreaming around the house in a total stress-free environment.
I was up at the cottage this weekend, helping my parents start the septic pump that gives us water filtered straight from the Bay. Usually at the cottage we relax and bake in the sun. However, when it comes to running the hose in the pump house to make sure we get clean water, well, this takes a lot of sound mind and concentration!! At moments my parents would say "Hello!" or "Watching!?" or "Did you understand what I just told. Should I repeat it again?" My parents were perfectly aware that I am a day dreamer, and absorbing information is off my head, so they weren't dumb. Though, a vital thrust of a waving hand or a sudden 'Curt remark or question' kind of smarts, it's just a wake up call to say, "Are you even with me!?"
To think how two normal baby boomers had a special daughter with an supreme imaginative mind that distracts her attention on the real world is just beyond them. Anyway, to resolve this, I tried so hard to watch and listen so hard! My 'computer eyes' were seldom tuned in and my head felt strangely, but yet
I was very successful. There was no berating and we were able to start up the water pump.
So I have a question, to all of you reading this, have you ever had many experiences where miscommunication due to day dreaming had an effect on other people, and were their reactions very negative? What were their moods? Angry, annoyed, stunned, emotionally over-reactive, bewildered, turned ill, rather disturbed...etc.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, I really feel like I can resonate with them. One of the more harmful affects of my daydreaming is the fact that it makes it much more difficult for me to remain aware of my surroundings, especially in crucial moments. Often, when people ask me to complete a simple task, such as closing the blinds and fetching them a pair of socks, I will nod my head in agreement without fully taking in what they said and then forget the objective of the task halfway in between. My family has noticed this happening to me for years, and sometimes they don't seem to care that much whereas other times they become annoyed and frustrated, often from a point of concern towards me. For these specific cases, the fix is very simple, I just need to be aware when people are asking me to do something, and keep that objective in my mind while not excessively daydreaming. The hard part for me is to remember to remain aware, which makes it increasingly difficult for me to execute tasks that are time consuming or involve multiple steps. I am not sure if my family knows that I daydream, but I do know that they are aware that I zone out frequently and don't understand why. Outside my family, daydreaming has had more serious consequences in making it more difficult for me to learn to drive in a safer manner, and has often left me overwhelmed in the face of complex vocal instructions. I strongly believe that I can dramatically improve the quality of my life if I curb my daydreaming frequency and eventually stop maladaptive daydreaming. Historically, during periods of lower daydreaming, I have had greater confidence, motivation, willingness to take constructive risks, more positive social interactions, and a deeper desire to invest in myself to live the best possible life I can live. I know that the battle to overcoming maladaptive daydreaming will be difficult, but if we set high yet attainable goals in our real lives, put forth regular and consistent effort towards pursuing those goals, taking time to develop new hobbies and interests, and practice grounding exercises (such as deep breathing) during times of intense daydreams, we can reduce the intensity and frequency of our daydreams and eventually overcome maladaptive daydreaming. An amazing REAL life lies within us, we now need to take the steps to unfolding it around us.
I've always wanted my independence, but feel that I F**** it all up. I don't know why I believed in my day dreams! Real life is definitely no dream! You have to make it happen. I guess its because, when we want—we think of it too much, which sort of triggers day dreaming. My mother was precocious all her life. She always knew you must be alive and awake in the world.
She had to support her backside since she was 17. Her family refused to take care of her past that age. I guess, we millennials are so used to having it easy and got pampered by our baby boomer parents all our lives—last thing that came to our mind is the 'seriousness of survival.' Whereas, older generations were taught about the ways of the real world from a very young age.
Thank you for your posts Jessica, I can relate to how you feel. In my case, I don't think anyone has noticed...I hope...but it slows everything down. So a task that might take 5 minutes takes an hour or I can waste a whole evening daydreaming and not do anything all, and you do wonder if people notice everything is so slow And I can't focus on anything, I want to do something creative or intelligent - like learn a language for instance but I can't concentrate. But I wouldn't dare tell anyone, the fact you have told your parents is a good thing as its a positive step being open about it. With me its like I have this little voice chattering away inside my head all the time and I wish I could turn it off. And even if I'm talking to someone else its still chattering away.
Maybe you're taking little steps towards clearing your mind which is good. Perhaps little bits of socialising would help. When I last managed to kick the daydreaming habit (it came back!) I kept an events diary and made myself do something interesting every day, even if it was something minor like going to the shops.
It's awfully hard to have a conversation with most people. My eyes nearly wonder off, as I fall back to 'my own unreal world' and I react more towards that little voice in my head talking to me. I'm afraid that someone talking to me may even notice this!!! They have asked if I was even listening to them, even challenge me by asking me 'what they just said.' I have faced people that have noticed that I didn't listen, so they suddenly snapped or got sarcastic with me, sometimes in front of other chums sitting with us! Though, they didn't know that I have been daydreaming, but they thought I was just this bone head with no ears attached.
It sounds like your little voices are a bit louder than my little voices, and mine are bad enough! Seriously though, a friend of mine has a daughter with anorexia, and she describes it as being caught in a neuron loop, where the thought pathways become more and more reinforced until one type of thought process dominates and overwrites everything else and she can't escape. Obviously daydreaming isn't as bad as anorexia, but I can see this in myself, its like I'm stuck in a loop and perhaps you are too. Trouble is, the daydream world is more exciting than the real one...
I think it's because the world is typically so deadpan and casual, but also not everybody we see in our daily lives are that fascinating to look at. Also you might live in a family that holds you down from doing better and more sensational things,
such as with their rules, religions, repression and over-protection. Of course, we all have to go to school and work—depending where the geography is and how interesting your studying environment is. We would all prefer to just wonder if it gets that boring!!!! Many non-daydreamers are fine with this and can endure, perhaps because an active social atmosphere takes over the feeling of boredom.
Certain things I find fascinating about the real world is History and hearing stories about people living and/or legendary. So I often read up in magazines, books, articles and video documentaries to keep me out of the clouds.
When I was super heavily into MDD aged 15-17, I would almost start substituting my actual friends and teachers names for my characters. A few times I would be telling my parents about things at school and almost use my characters' names. That scared me into oblivion. One of my characters had a speech impediment and would pronounce things weird and I started pronouncing things weird and it was very hard to stop.
I was extremely quiet, so nobody knew early that I was a maladaptive daydreamer, so I never took medication. I was heavily into MDD between ages 13-28. I am so glad that I stopped because it practically stunted my life. My younger sister has a better life than me and is well educated. Whereas, I have handy skills under my belt, but I struggle to earn my independence.
I don't believe MDD technically effects your communication skills or your memory, it just fogs up your mind to a degree that it's hard to really think—just like if your drunk.
In terms of making up characters in my head, just like you, I've made up stories where I've substituted actual peers from school, as well as adopting characters from movies and TV shows. I've even had fantasy relationships with my favorite male characters, in TV & film, even though I never knew who the actors were in real life. When it came to fantasizing a life with characters based on peers in school, I would imagine that we were best friends, chumming around and going to lot of parties. Whereas, in real life, they found me 'very weird' and far to0 quiet to be friends with them.
Anyway, at age 30, I woke up and realized how much time I lost making up fantasy lives for myself, instead of pursuing the real life I had, seeing what I can do and where I realistically belong. I've always lived in the same house—my parent's house—never once have I moved out. I attended a college in a nearby city which I commuted to by train. I had a stream of different jobs that hadn't worked out—except these days I freelance from home, which is ongoing.
Overall, I learned a lot from MDD. Dreams won't come true unless you take action in 'reality' to make sure it does happen.