Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Ok, well this site wasn't created to make people feel "sick" or "silly". The fact that it has some great benefits, doesn't mean that those who become addicted shouldn't seek help. I started this because I wanted to stop being a victim of my addiction. For me, it's been a severe addiction. This goes to show that any wonderful thing can become a problem if it's done in excess. I started this site because I knew there were other people like me who needed help, and I wanted to do something about it rather than just feeling bad about myself. I also knew how bad people who have this can feel about themselves, and I wanted to show them they don't have to.
This seems to be another facet of a debate that keeps going on in these forums, and I really don't know why. People seem to be either completely pro-daydreaming (and offended that anyone would need help for it) or completely anti-daydreaming (and offended that anyone should say it's good). I'm continually puzzled that people don't see both points of view.
It's like the conversations I used to have with my friends when I told them I quit drinking. They would get very defensive. They'd start telling me exactly how much they drank, how often, and why........as if at any moment I was going to call them an alcoholic and tell them to stop. Then they would actually try to convince me that alcohol isn't a problem and I should start again. They were so afraid that someone would take their pleasure away that they would rather have me keep drinking when it was bad for me than risk it. It's not fair. I never said that wine was bad. I never said it wasn't ok to have their glass or 2 now & then.
My point is the fact that it was a good thing in their lives that they were able to manage successfully did not mean I didn't have a right to stop and seek help for myself. I used to tell them "If it's not a problem for you, then go for it. Enjoy it. Enjoy a glass for me. I can't drink though. It's a problem for me."
Anyway, no one's calling daydreaming silly or sick. I never said that, and I would not say that. I've said repeatedly that thinking is inherently a good thing, but like anything it can get out of control if we're not careful. I encourage people to do whatever they can and need to to be as healthy as possible. If you can turn something that's been a problem for you into something good, then more power to you. I want us all to be healthy and live our best selves.
On this site, we will encourage each other to do whatever they need to to be healthy. No one's going to call anyone sick or silly. Anyone who needs help and support will get it without judgment or being told not to share their story because it's putting down the idea of daydreaming.
My addiction, thanks to using it for something good, is slowly getting better.
Ow. I really didn't meant to offend anyone nor to put down daydraming. I did not say the site was made to make people feel silly or sick.
I've spent most of my life doing daydreaming. Sometimes it has been the only thing I have to hold on to when everything is stressful. But I was really surprised at my own personal reaction after looking and adding to the site. First I got a real buzz. Then I worried that the site itself might become addictive to me.
And even worse, when I started daydreaming last night I felt very, very sad and have felt very anxious since. I can't keep focused. I can't get out of my head that there are all these multi-realities all over the world kept in the heads of daydreamers. I find that almost distressing. To me, I felt almost sick and silly. Who would ever understand that? only other daydreamers. I just wondered if others had experienced the same thing.
This may be part of issues my whole life, struggling to be special in some way. Trying to be good enough. I thought I was really good at daydreaming - and I was gifted in that way. I still think that. I never thought of it as a mental illlness. In my mood chart I have daydreaming as a positive, like exercise, get enough sleep, balancing priorities.
Ok, well I didn't mean to jump down your throat. I'm sorry I got so defensive. It just concerns me that many people hear someone say "I have a problem and need help." and take that to mean "You have a problem and need help." It's ok to reevaluate one's life, but I don't want people to try and prevent people who have a problem from seeking help. I've seen that happen too much with my other habits that became out of control.
My doc (who I've seen only once & didn't speak to about this for more than a minute as I was there only for sleeping pills) said this site was a bad idea. It was like pulling teeth to get him to say why, but he seemed to think that we should encourage people to use daydreaming for good. I agree with that & wish he weren't too fussy to elaborate. I really want to help people. If we can take people who have an addiction to their own creativity and help them to express this creativity and use it for good...........then that would be really, really great. As the article in Scientific American Mind said, many of us are innately creative individuals. If we could turn this into stories, art, or something else, then not only would that help us maximize this and turn it into a gift, but it would also get us out of our heads and do more than just daydream. Many of us can't get out of our heads. We get stuck. I'd love us to think of ways to help each other. This is a brand new condition, so it's really up to us to figure out ways to help. We could have a real positive impact. We can make it so new people who get stuck and need help will have options and ideas.
Tom, don't understand the third paragraph, last sentence. Thanks for the first two - really clarified my feelings.
I think the original poster was asking whether we thought of the daydreaming as an ailment or a blessing before we had heard of this site. I know on the other forum I post at (geared towards a certain flavor of introverts) many of the people who came to that site had always thought that something was wrong with them - we live in an extroverted society, so being introverted is being an outsider.
But does the same apply to being constantly in ones own fantasy world? Have you thought, as a child with your head in the clouds as your peers had their interests held by the real world, that there was something wrong with you? Or did you think that you were special (in a positive way)? Did that feeling change when you found this site, or heard of maladaptive daydreaming - if so, how?
As for me, I'm a pessimist that has plenty of other psychological problems, so I always assumed that my inability to keep my feet on the ground was a detriment. Along with my introversion, I think my preference for my own fantasies has prevented me from having any sort of social life, and has fueled prolonged bouts of depression. I thought I was alone in this, so knowing that I'm not the only one helps. I think this is a fundamental human drive - to find people to relate to. Unfortunately, I think that becoming part of an in-group can make something like this a self fulfilling prophecy, where people think that they deserve special concessions and that it's okay to slip into stagnation (instead of seeking balance).
this site, has helped me a lot.. more than i give it credit for! i have come to realize what an issue my MD has been for me, and the consequences that have come from it.( know that im speaking only for myself right now0. This site has also made me realize im not alone and thats about the best thing i could ask for! This site is my therapy group, my second family, my shoulder to cry on! i depend on it to help me through the everyday battles of my life. So thankyou very very VERY much Cordellia Amethyste Rose!
and sorry if i sound like some cliche uber happy person or whatever. haha
I have gone years - well maybe months - without daydreaming. At different times in my life, it helped me with depression. Seemed like my only defense. That was probably the least helpful time. I daydreamed 3 years away while in college while engaged to my husband who was 3,000 miles away. The daydreams were better than reality, as they usually are. That is probably my only regret or mistake in daydreaming. One, I gave up my goal of being a really great student and going on to graduate school. Why bother when I was going to get married and that raising a family would be bliss.
The only other time I regret is when a therapist became wrapped up in my dreams. My my fantasy characters grew to support her dissociative idenity disorder. To this day, I just know what was real and what wasn't. This was the time when DID was a very popular diagnosis My therapist pushed and I followed. I hate to admit that and the chaos that followed. I wasn't working hard enough, I wasn't angry enough, I wasn't letting them speak in session. My writing, my art work, my stories became more grim and more graphic. I was estranged from my parents for almost 10 years. It is amazing how her 'tune' changed when she was moving to a city 3,000 miles ago. She was impossible to track down by phone or otherwise. No other therapist will talk with me about what happened.
So a warning, if in therapy, be sure you are clear on what the goals are. And know that therapists can in unwitting ways lead you to a reality that may not be real.