Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Hi Johanna! I know exactly how you feel. I often dream about singing or playing guitar/drums in a band. Now that I'm in my 30s, I realize I've kind of missed the window to actually learn these things and be able to make a career or even serious hobby of them. And it's true, I had plenty of time to learn an instrument but I spent it all daydreaming about already knowing how to play them. But it kind of goes both ways because I feel all of the emotions and satisfaction of being able to play and sing well in front of an audience without having to deal with stage fright or other people really. I guess it depends. Some days I feel like I've wasted a ridiculous amount of time on nothing and other days I wouldn't trade my imaginary experiences for anything in the world. For those of us who are shy, clumsy, awkward etc. daydreaming is the only way we'll be able to have certain experiences and feel the emotions that come with them.
For me, I don't daydream as much when I am experiencing new things that genuinely excite me. Anything I am already familiar with, I can idealize in my daydreams to the point where the real life experience just can't compare. There has to be real incentive for me to invest my time in real world situations versus imaginary situations. So I try to stay involved in projects where I know people are counting on me or that I can see a real benefit for myself or others and to step out of my comfort zone to experience new things. Having a sense of purpose in the real world makes it easier for me to stay "aware". I always catch myself escaping to the dream world more frequently when I am bored/unsatisfied/unhappy with my life.
I know how consuming it can be and how weird life gets when you truly feel like the real world is secondary to your imagined world. I have lived much of my life in that way. It's especially hard because this "condition" is so new in the common public and people are very cynical to how this is something uncontrollable for some of us. Keep coming back here, talk with people who truly understand. I've just joined this website and already feel a great deal of relief to read about other people's experiences. It makes it easier for me to accept it as part of who I am and not something that is necessarily wrong with me.
I hope this helps in some way. Feel free to message me anytime.
I only recently found out that this is a known and defined phenomenon. I always knew this amount of daydreaming couldn't be normal, but I had no idea there was a name for it and online communities about it until I saw it mentioned by chance somewhere a couple of months ago. I always felt kind of alone about this.
I don't really try to avoid daydreaming unless I really have to focus on something else at the time. Sometimes I'll bargain with myself about focusing on real life for now, but in return trying to set aside at least a short while later for me to daydream, even if it's just for a few minutes. I don't try to skip it altogether.