My teenage daughter is showing all the signs of maladaptive daydreaming. We love that she is creative. She plays in the band, takes art, writes passionately. And she does great in school. It is not inhibiting her in that way.

But socially, she really has no friends, rarely talks to others. I think she's friendly, and she's said nothing about being teased or bullied, but I have seen times where in a crowd of students she is by herself, deep into a daydream, even reacting to her own story. I fear this could make her even more of an outcast, the "weird" girl who talks to herself.

We in no way want to stop her storytelling, her daydreaming, her creativity. We love that about her and we've told her that. But it seems to be happening more and more often and we just want to help her find a better balance. We don't want the fantasy world to take over.

So how did your parents, friends, other adults help you? How do you wish they would have helped? We've started a dialogue about it and told her about MDD, but not sure what else to do.

Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you.

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I'm not usually on here but your concern with daughter touched my heart. I have personally been fighting this my whole life, my case is not as intense now as it used to be. I personally began gaining more control when I changed my view about my condition. I had fought SO hard to be "normal", but the more I fought it the more I daydreamed. What I mean by fighting it is trying to not daydream, trying to pretend it didn't exist, trying to force myself to be like other people. I'd always ask myself in wonderment what does a normal person think about?
One day I was reading about how common daydreaming is, and somehow decided my daydreaming was a gift. Think of the history of artists and inventors who were considered "abnormal". The most important thing is how she views herself :)
First, note this: Mal actually means bad; adaptive is a behavior used to adjust to new conditions. So maladaptive daydreaming is an unhealthy isolating behavior, a way to not have to deal with reality because reality can be uncomfortable.
With that said, everyone on the planet daydreams. With this knowledge I was able to start working with my daydreams. I was able to separate what daydreams I personally accepted as normal and which ones were unhealthy and isolating me from truly being myself socially. I know it's a lot to take in, but this really helped me. I started categorizing my daydreams, for example: some daydreams I was the sweet girl that everyone loved and adored; another type was the girl who's always overlooked; another was more romantic and extremely detailed. I recognized that each were unhealthy and unrealistic and so I learned to replace them with real relationships. With the first I wrote down qualities of how I wanted others to view me "the sweet girl" I realized these are the qualities I valued in myself; next, I wrote down how I wanted to view myself for times I felt "overlooked or judged as the weirdo"; the third was the hardest battle and I still struggle with it, but staying busy and always having something to look forward to do with others has helped me control it.
Sorry I'm talking so much about me, just trying to give examples of how I learned to control the bad isolating daydreams. I don't know how old your daughter is, but I am 27 and I've come to take control of this only over the last 4-5 years. It's never too late to change how you view yourself it just takes practice. A close friend helped me keep records of my progress and research, there were many times I gave up and felt I didn't care, she kept encouraging me to not give up and shed look over our research and things I said were helping gain control and reminded me.
One last thing that helped me become more social: instead of keeping my daydreams to myself I shared them with others. They didn't know it was daydreaming, I told them I had this dream the other "night" ...and I'd tell them. I made my daydreams part of my outward personality instead of keeping it to myself. A lot of times people would look at me funny and many times I felt stupid about what I said but I kept doing it, now I have a nice group of friends we all think alike and are silly creative and weird together. Your daughter will find that too. The first step is to not be ashamed, help her appreciate and be proud of herself. Knowing how normal daydreaming is and learning to control bad ones is a huge step!
I hope my story helped even a little :)

Hi there! It’s wonderful that your daughter has such a caring and supportive parent.

One of the most important things you have to be mindful of is the level of impact your daughter’s daydreaming has on other areas of her life. You mentioned the fact that her academic life is fine, and that she has extracurricular activities, which is great, but that her social life is lacking. Maladaptive daydreaming is usually a band-aid for underlying issues, which means that if your daughter is choosing daydreaming over socializing, there is probably a good reason. That could be anything from her just wanting to enjoy her creativity to feeling lonely and isolated from her peers. Knowing this is important because it will determine what action you need to take if things get more severe.

The other important aspect is her emotional life. Does she seem well-adjusted and happy, or is she showing any signs of dysfunction, like depression and anxiety? Also, usually people with maladaptive daydreaming are distressed by their behavior. Is she bothered by how much she’s daydreaming? Does she feel like she can’t stop when she needs to? An inability to control the daydreaming is what you need to watch out for.

Based on what you've described, it might be premature to do anything at this stage, just because her daydreaming isn’t causing significant problems. She could just be a very avid daydreamer. That being said, I would recommend you continue to keep an eye on her. If you start noticing that her academics are slipping or that she's completely isolating herself from everyone, then you need to intervene. 

I wish I had someone to talk to about my mdd. I told my parents and they didnt do much. Just the fact that she has you to talk to should help. Earlier on I was very embarassed about it and I didnt want to tell anyone. If she feels the same way dont bombard her too much.


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