Hi, I'm new here. I've been obsessively daydreaming all my life --- nearly 40 years --- and have long ago given up trying to curb it. I daydream nearly constantly from the second I wake up in the morning until I fall asleep at night. My daydreams are always intertwined with reality in some way. They are centered around real people and incorporate a least a little detail from their actual lives.

Now, I know the difference between the reality and the fantasy. Fortunately.

BUT... I find that, despite knowing the difference, I experience horrible depression whenever either of two things happen: 1) when the real life version of my "character" does something that runs counter to my fantasies; or 2) when I'm overwhelmed by the realization that this IS just fantasy and it will never be true.

I suppose these are just thoroughly unwanted intrusions of reality. I call it "crashing." They are infrequent, but they really do knock me for a loop.

Anyone else experience this?

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Oh, yeah I do. I don't really incorporate too many real people into my characters. I mean there's me and people they come in contact with........but the core group are all fictional. I do get depressed and cranky when their lives aren't going perfectly and I can't seem to get motivated to work out their problems. Mostly I get depressed when I realize I'm never going to have the same fulfilling connections in the outside world that I do inside. I may never have any connections. I don't even try anymore because it just makes me feel worse, like I'm trying to be something I'm not. Everyone says you should force yourself to socialize, but I refuse to. It only hurts & doesn't help. I can't get motivated to have real conversations when I'm forcing myself. I have to find a time when I'm inspired. I need to find things that inspire me in the outside world. Forcing it on myself really doesn't work. I have to find a way to be myself in it.
Anyway, yeah, you're not the only one who crashes. I wouldn't be surprised if most of us do. I know I do. Thanks for sharing.
This ---> "Mostly I get depressed when I realize I'm never going to have the same fulfilling connections in the outside world that I do inside."

Yes. Exactly.

Thanks for the reply. And thank you for providing this site. Until yesterday, I had no idea that this thing I experience had a name or even happened to anyone else. It's absolute gold to find a community of people going through the same thing.
Oh I absolutely experience "crashing". Nice wording for it! I too have bouts of depression after I come down from a fantasy and realize it's never going to happen for me for real. The people in my daydreams are purely fictional, and I do this for a couple of reasons. First, my daydream storylines are not contingent upon anything reality based, and for me, this makes them easier to manipulate. Second, my fictional characters would never hurt me like "real" people do, so why base them on real people? It only serves to tarnish my feelings for the character.

I also get depressed when I can't embody the daydream version of myself. I can be a very socially awkward person and when I try to interact with people, I fumble all over my words. After the interaction is finished, I then proceed to scrutinize each sentence uttered and repeatedly relive all the embarrassing moments. The perceived social humiliation causes me to withdraw further into my daydream world where I don't have to worry about screwing up a conversation and looking like a fool.
Magenta: I totally hear you about the social awkwardness thing. I too scrutinize every conversation, feel humiliated and then get back to the daydreams, where my self-esteem is much improved. Your comment and Cordellia's highlighted something for me -- my biggest trigger is other (real life) people. The purely fictional approach sounds slightly safer emotionally (maybe). It's fascinating to hear everyone's experiences and see that most of us are doing the same thing, but each in our own way.
I'm just in a constant daze around people & feel horribly uncomfortable unless they're talking about something I'm specifically I'm interested in. My fantasy word revolves around me & my character, so naturally it makes me very egocentric. I like to be the center of things, and I'm not always good about talking about other people. Many times I hear them talking about the sillies things........especially when they laugh about the most random things & I wonder where on Earth the joke is........I just don't get it. I used to judge myself for this, but why? If that's how you grow up, then that's how your brain works. Judging it never fixed anything. It's actually gotten better as I've gotten older but only because I embrace it. I don't force myself to do things I don't like. I decline party invitations, even though people look at me weird. I don't care. It's not an environment I do well in. I focus on conversations that interest me & don't try to be interested in ones that aren't. It's made me more confident about what I know and am good at. People are taking an interest in me more, especially with the daydreaming issue.....anyone who's even remotely interested in psychology has been very interested in learning about this, and I'm somehow, slowly getting interested in other people. This is all very brief, mind you. I still avoid socializing like the plague, but in casual encounters like at school & places I"m tolerating it more because instead of forcing myself to do what I'm bad at and hate......I'm talking about whatever interests ME & allowing myself to be silent when I don't feel like participating. Acceptance is so important. Forget forcing yourself to play the game, so you'll get used to it. Learn your own game & get good at that. Invite others into your world. You might be surprised at how many people accept.



Marie said:
Magenta: I totally hear you about the social awkwardness thing. I too scrutinize every conversation, feel humiliated and then get back to the daydreams, where my self-esteem is much improved. Your comment and Cordellia's highlighted something for me -- my biggest trigger is other (real life) people. The purely fictional approach sounds slightly safer emotionally (maybe). It's fascinating to hear everyone's experiences and see that most of us are doing the same thing, but each in our own way.
@Cordellia: "Learn your own game and get good at that" is good advice. Sounds like you've figured out how to get through social interactions in a way that doesn't stress you out as much. I think it takes all of us a while to get to that place, although the anxiety probably never goes away entirely.
Yes I get the same "crashes".  Occasionally the real world will suddenly appear so real I can't daydream, because it's too fantastic.  I don't like it at all :-( Makes me feel very lonely and scared.
This is a great post that I haven't discovered yet. I think the only time I "maladaptive" daydream is when I'm *crashing.* When I was younger the dd'ing would affect my schooling and sleep schedule which was maladaptive. But now I can get severely depressed when I'm realising that real life will never be like fantasy life. Sometimes I just don't care, I feel like Mal, the character in Inception who is always trying to get Leonardo DiCapprio's character to stay in the dream. Other times it's like a brick wall of reality that hits me. I force myself to feel the regret of not really living a life. But I wonder, if life is what you make it, then just enjoy the dd's for the pleasure that they give. Is it wrong to enjoy a fantasy just as much as someone else enjoys reality? Ugh, existential crisis.

It's an interesting question you raise if it's wrong to enjoy fantasy as much as some enjoy reality.  I would say not, but for me the "crashes" and realisation that it's not real spoils the fantasy and makes me incapbale of enjoying fantasy as much as reality.  I think if we weren't here, we would not be troubled by our fantasies and would not have seen the need to search for or joing a forum about this issue.  People happy in their lives would not be concerned, or even question, if they are right to be happy.

J Noland said:

This is a great post that I haven't discovered yet. I think the only time I "maladaptive" daydream is when I'm *crashing.* When I was younger the dd'ing would affect my schooling and sleep schedule which was maladaptive. But now I can get severely depressed when I'm realising that real life will never be like fantasy life. Sometimes I just don't care, I feel like Mal, the character in Inception who is always trying to get Leonardo DiCapprio's character to stay in the dream. Other times it's like a brick wall of reality that hits me. I force myself to feel the regret of not really living a life. But I wonder, if life is what you make it, then just enjoy the dd's for the pleasure that they give. Is it wrong to enjoy a fantasy just as much as someone else enjoys reality? Ugh, existential crisis.
Interesting that you brought up Mal in Inception.  I so identified with her when I saw the movie (5 times in theater, several times on T.V.)  To get lost in a dream, create your own world, age 1 year every 10 or whatever it was, and all this with Leo DiCaprio.  What's not to like?

It certainly makes sense to me.  I agree "crashing" is a great word.  And it is so painful to learn things you really didn't want to know, when, as you said, you thought you had things under such good control.

My husband just handed me a "dream catcher."  Wow!  What can I say?

I could relate to Mal, I like how they call her "Mal" too. She's kind of the deceptive/seductive part of dreaming.

I can "crash" at any time. I'll be happily enraptured with a dd and then all of a sudden it's like the movie set falls apart and I'm just there alone. It's the worst feeling.

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