Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Since I like to write a lot, and I've written a few novels, I've given a lot of thought to what famous writers (and other creative types) have been maladaptive daydreamers.
I suspect that one of my favorite writers, JK Rowling, was one of us. She just decided to channel her depression and daydreams into her novels.
I just saw a long interview with JK Rowling on You Tube, and she talked about her struggles with depression and excessive daydreaming. She even got fired from her job as a secretary because she kept daydreaming.
Here's a quote from her: “I was very frightened of my father for a very long time and also tried desperately to get his approval and make him happy. We were as skint as you can be without being homeless and at that point I was definitely clinically depressed."
She tried to get help with depression, and ended up in counseling. She was daydreaming on a train when she came up with the idea of Harry Potter. She claims that putting her ideas down on paper and writing Harry Potter helped her a lot with her depression. She even personified depression in the characters of the "dementors." There's also that scene with the mirror of Erised where Dumbledore tells Harry, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." This is something that all MDs can identify with.
In this interview on You Tube, she admits that it was hard for her when the Harry Potter novels were finished, because they were an escape for her from her real life.
Can anyone come up with any other famous people that might have been maladaptive daydreamers?
Emilie Autumn... no confirmation if she is, but she straight-up wrote a book detailing her stay at a psych ward and the DD set in a Victorian England asylum that she was using to cope with it, referring to her alternate self "Emily with a 'y'". She's how I found out that other people actually did this.
Tolkien all the way - just read his biography. Loads of telling little quirks there.
And I'd like to add writer/screen writer, William Nicholson, to the list or someone close to him at least. Was watching some of his films and reading his blog and some things just jumped out. The Q&A feature on his sites is down, so I can't do any subtle asking about MD. :(
I'm a little late to the discussion here!
I watched "The Boss Baby" with my little sister a little bit ago, and I realized that there are probably several fictional daydreamers out there as well, and I think it would be fun to explore that! First, I want to say it's very likely that the main character, Tim Templeton, could potentially have/develop MD. A large portion of the movie features scenes recreated in the mind of the young character, and by the end, [*SPOILER*], it's implied that the entire movie was actually a figment of his imagination.
I'm having a hard time thinking of other characters, but Christopher Robin came to mind at one point. Assuming Winnie the Pooh and the others are part of his imagination as apparently implied, and assuming he isn't mentally ill as theorized, I want to say he's likely a daydreamer. I'm mostly skeptical because I heard he represents schizophrenia, as the other characters represent other mental illnesses.
Can anyone else think of some fictional daydreamers?
you've written novels?? im currently working on one right now!! its so consuming. its gradually become a massive fantasy that has a life of its own and im struggling to keep up with it. It's as if its playing too fast for me to write it down. do you have any advice for me?
I've always suspected that world-builders like Borges was one of us. When I read Labyrinths (https://wizchan.org/hob/src/1449201237263-0.pdf) I started to feel like I wasn't alone in this and then I discovered this website.
I love to read (when I can concentrate) and I've found a lot of books and stories that to me suggest the author was, at the very least, aware of the dangers of addictive daydreaming.
In his essay 'Why I Write' George Orwell describes himself as having textbook md;
I was the middle child of three, but there was a gap of five years on either side, and I barely saw my father before I was eight. For this and other reasons I was somewhat lonely, and I soon developed disagreeable mannerisms which made me unpopular throughout my schooldays. I had the lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life .........(yadadada and then again)....But side by side with all this, for fifteen years or more, I was carrying out a literary exercise of a quite different kind: this was the making up of a continuous ‘story’ about myself, a sort of diary existing only in the mind. I believe this is a common habit of children and adolescents. As a very small child I used to imagine that I was, say, Robin Hood, and picture myself as the hero of thrilling adventures, but quite soon my ‘story’ ceased to be narcissistic in a crude way and became more and more a mere description of what I was doing and the things I saw.
Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau is about teenage siblings who isolate themselves socially and engage in a daydreaming habit they call 'going away'.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (best book of all time!!!) is about addiction of all kinds but the plot mainly revolves around a film so entertaining that people who watch it lose all interest in life and, unable to tear themselves from the film even to eat or sleep, just die. To me it seemed like a really dramatic metaphor for addictive escapism.