I'm almost sure I ran across something very interesting:


The case of Florence Nightingale, the most famous English nurse. I was reading her biography and noticed numerous mentions of severe daydreaming which interfered with her life, and from descriptions provided, it appears to be a typical MD. The paragraphs below are extracted from works by various authors which focus on biography of Nightingale and are quite self-explanatory. An important thing to add is that she also suffered from low self-esteem and bouts of depression.

  • "Nightingale spent most of her youth dreaming up imaginary scenarios under which she could achieve her goal. Her private writings indicate that daydreaming occupied so much of her time that she fought against it as a dreadful affliction. In these reveries she escaped from the stifling trivialities of the drawing-room to perform heroic humanitarian feats in hospital under gaze of a beloved leader. The daydreaming was her secret and loathsome vice, and she carefully noted her success or failure in trying to suppress it. It is likely that the affliction was common throughout Victorian England."

  • "The young Florence felt herself alone, an outsider despite her ever-present extended family. She recorded in private notes that before the age of six she was aware that she did not fit; she was afraid that others would notice her difference, and so avoided people as much turned to daydreams in which she cast herself as a heroine. As she grew to adulthood Nightingale developed a sense of extreme shame over these episodes and, by 1849, had determined to "crucify" her sin by devoting the 7th of each month to self-examination. Her notes show evidence that she continued to be concerned about this tendency, and to feel a certain sense of guilt for her pride."


  • "No one realized the turmoil she suffered inside, as she struggled to come to grip with herself. She still didn’t know what her call was in life and was plagued with a severe case of daydreaming. It would later become so bad that she’d drift in and out of reality, loosing track of time as she set up stories in her mind in which she was the heroine."


  • "Of the specific forms her daydreams assumed, she was silent, but she indicated clearly that they were dreams of heroic action. She also recorded how she fell into "trance-like" states as an escape from the boredom and tedium of social life - at dinner parties, for example. "Why, Oh my God cannot I be satisfied with the life that satisfies so many people?" she wrote."


  • "Nightingale also had to confront her "demons," that is, those personal characteristics she felt would not be consistent with a spiritually oriented life, such as her excessive daydreaming and her desire for power and recognition. Nightingale's internal struggles are poignantly recorded in personal notes and also in a diary she kept during a trip to Egypt in 1849 (Calabria, 1997). In the diary she expressed her profound feelings of guilt for creating disharmony in her family, that is, for not being contented with a life of wealth and privilege. She wrestled with a tendency for what she called "dreaming," or leaving the immediacy of the moment in trance-like fantasies. Her habit of "dreaming" was most probably a reaction to her family's social routine, from which she longed to escape. Acknowledging her desire for personal power and recognition, Nightingale remembered the words of the Madre Santa Columba, whom she met at the Trinita in Rome: "My Madre said to me Can you hesitate between the God of the whole earth and your little reputation?" (Calabria, 1997, p. 46)."




  • In England Nightingale was becoming popular. A fund had been set up for her to use to educate nurses later on and Queen Victoria had given her a brooch. All of this attention went practically unheeded by Nightingale, who despised fame. Her character had undergone a tremendous transformation from the girl who had imagined herself a heroine. Incidentally, she was cured of her ‘dreaming’.


  • "In the daydreams she projected her ideal of an heroic life of action; once she found her work in the world, all mention of the daydreams vanishes from her private papers."


  • "Like Theresa, Florence desired a 'life beyond self: she too sought 'some illimitable satisfaction' which might justify her efforts and make it worth subordinating her personal wishes to it. And yet unlike Theresa, Florence overcame this impulse. At a certain point she stopped wishing for what life couldn't deliver, appealed to the world as she found it, and demanded satisfaction from it. This transformation was however gradual. The first thing to go was Florence's tendency to daydream: and what better way to rid herself of it than to write a novel in which the heroine dies from too much daydreaming? A heroine who, moved by her own furies, condemns both herself and the world. With her love of Greek literature, Florence knew that Cassandra had to die denouncing an indifferent world. One innovation was to get Cassandra's brother to tell Cassandra's story, recalling their final conversations after her death."







So, what do you guys think?

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I'm so glad you posted this.

This is incredible! My God! I had no idea who this lady even was, but, after reading it I agree with you; She DOES sound like a typical MDer to me. It's amazing how you found this and were able to pick it apart like this!

I can't believe I missed this post.

I think what 'cured' her were the horrors of the Crimean war. She had seen so much death and suffering, that her life calling may have changed her completely. Her daydreaming could be attributed to the bored rich life that she was leading, keep in mind that back then they didnt have TV or the internet.

Wow. Pretty mind-blowing.

Life in those days sounds pretty boring. If I lived back then my MD would probably be worse.

I think you may have found the first famous person suffering from MD.  Thank you for this and for sharing everything you found, it proves that MD is cureable.

Thanks you guys for the feedback!

I think I know another famous figure with MD, far more famous than Nightingale.  I'll post it in a few days as soon as I gather materials.

Oh the suspense... can you give us a hint? What century is this person from?

Eretaia said:

Thanks you guys for the feedback!

I think I know another famous figure with MD, far more famous than Nightingale.  I'll post it in a few days as soon as I gather materials.

I almost have no heart to keep you in suspense, haha.

Writer. 19th century. Russia.

I was listening to Eminem's song sing for the moment. 

and these lines came up...

"Or for anyone who's ever been through shit in their lives
Till they sit and they cry at night wishin' they'd die
Till they throw on a rap record and they sit, and they vibe"

by "vibe" does he mean daydream?

Also does this line also have a reference to maladaptive day dreaming? 
"That's why we seize the moment try to freeze it and own it, squeeze it and hold it
'Cause we consider these minutes golden"

he has spoken of his OCD before. i wonder if he was hinting here?

Did anyone know that Nikola Tesla was also a Maladaptive Day dreamer too?


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