Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Hey! Welcome to Wild Minds!!
The first two para apply to me as well.
With the 3rd para, maybe you should think about your situation. Md might be the only good thing happening to you right now. So you would naturally look forward to it. But is it not sad that the only highlights of our lives are the stories we make in our heads? And have you ever wondered why Md is the only thing that keeps you going?
In my case, I DD'ed since child hood. I did not give time to other experiences. Like trying out a sport or joining a hobby class or just meeting with friends after school. I did not make any memories. And I don't have an exciting daily routine now. So the only good thing that I am left with is Md. But if I choose to Md now, I will waste my youth, not make any memories again, not have any significant achievements and not find my life exciting. Again in my middle age the only good thing about life will be.... you guessed it : Md.
And this will repeat in my old age. It's a chain reaction. I don't know what started it but I know how it's affecting me now. I'm saying this because it's fun to dd now, but I don't want you to regret it later.
And what hurts me the most is that reality will never be as exciting as my daydreams. But that doesn't mean I have to live a boring life. So do you. We can make it as exciting as humanly possible. I might not grow up to become a secret agent or some ancient clan's leader : D
But there are other ways to make life interesting. And I feel if my life becomes half as good as my daydreams I'll be very satisfied.
And I also feel ( this is just my opinion), that while finding your triggers you need to dig deep.
What type of music triggers you? We usually listen to the music that helps feel the emotions that we crave for. Like shy people listen to powerful music which makes them feel confidant. It takes us to a different world where we are very powerful and badass.
These emotions which we desperately try to feel are our triggers. Or rather the absence of them. When I feel like a pushover I am triggered to Md about a strong, confident version of myself. Then, I pick the song accordingly and immerse in my daydreams. Absence of confidence is my trigger.
You should try to write down all the differences between the real and imaginary you. Everything that you don't have irl is your trigger.
And what do you do with this info? When I figured out my trigger I tried to work on it. Rather than just making up stories about me being confident, I tried to find out why I lack confidence irl . And how to gain it. Trigger gone problem solved. Of course it's not that easy. I still haven't overcome my insecurities. But atleast I'm halfway through.
Every time you feel triggered, remind yourself, imagination is not going to do anything. You have to channel those awful feelings into reality and make some solid changes.
Ps- This post might not completely help you as I did not take conditions like childhood trauma and ocd into consideration. I have no experience with them.
I used to deal with MD as a young person. Eventually I learned to control it and focus more on my existing life. I have to admit that I still fall into daydreams at times in the day. I'm actually dealing with stress as of now. I'm unemployed and afraid I'll be months without a new position. To be honest, I feel nervous every single day for no apparent reason. I think I'm afraid of what my parents will think of me. I kind of blame it on the pandemic. I feel that I deserve another chance in my career. Everything is just getting so pathetic, and I'm homebound right now. I'm just so afraid to fall flat on my face and get absolutely nowhere in life, and humiliated if anyone finds out where I'm at. So my daydreams are still being used as a coping mechanism.
Maladaptive daydreams have their advantages in some ways. It feeds onto your creative juices, when your designing and doing your artwork. My problem is that it's a distraction to life. It even effected my future decisions and even my career. When I got older, I struggled to tear it away from my attention towards anything. Apparently it put me in a very embarrassing situation. I wake up every morning and have myself a fright. Thing is most people don't know what it's like to be a natural daydreamer. So they are going to react on us like we are lunatics.
Creativity. For me it's basically a story and if you have any creative skills put your daydreams into those. I unfortunately haven't naturally had any skills on that end, I tried game design first since I feel I can make a good world for others to make their stories in, but I'm finally feeling comfortable in my worst subject, Engrish, to trying to write my first novel. And just the pursuit of telling the world in my head calms my MD to at least a reasonable level where people around me assume my pauses are just me overthinking things (sometimes true, so at least it's well masked).
I have used MD as a tool to flourish in my creative projects. The only career I'll ever have is dabbling in a studio. It's just, I find it hard to believe I'll succeed at anything else. Most professions you must have very good eyes and ears and you have to be here. I've met many people who don't understand what I do and why. I've been professionally unstable for years now. I remind myself of Vincent Van Gogh. Apparently, we can have it quite sad, because we don't have a place in what's considered "normal" society today. So if anybody learned that I am an MD'er, they will certainly not take it well.
It's rough but I've found that I can use DDs to run through a billion paths in order to solve a problem, being a problem solver gives my MD focus and all I need to do is feed it all the knowledge I can find in order for it to propagate indefinitely. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to equate to any 'real' job title that I've found, but if you can get them to understand that you're the idea person, the problem solver, someone who can imagine the bigger picture and find the best path forward or at least something that will inspire it... sometimes you can get them to overlook that your actual output is kinda crap. It also helps if your the nice puppy no one wants to kick.
That's the thing. I was usually the person in a crowd someone wanted to kick. I'm Ok, when I work from my house, it's only when I'm in public, there will always be a someone who strongly disagrees with my output. Most places expect that you acquire great communication skills and can think independently—with great results. I was that "dope" on the scene who didn't get with it. In spite I was a smart person, I couldn't seem to prove it. Plus I was extremely quiet, still am. And I am constantly wandering around. By the way, I have high functioning Asperger syndrome. Truth be told, I can't even count how many people I've affected, but they weren't very pleased about it.
Yea it's rough working with people like that, but there are understanding people out there. The best thing is just to sell your strengths and ask for understanding when they are critical of your weaknesses and try to pair yourself with those that have strengths there. Any good employer should understand that diverse skills are better than a uniform group, but yea it isn't easy, not gonna pretend people are mostly reasonable.
I have to admit I spent so much time in "my head" that life just passed me by. Looking at my past is rather freakish. Everybody could tell at a moment's glance that I was lost in a daydream. Especially when I was not of sound mind. Found me so very weird—obviously couldn't have understood. In fact, I scared a quite a few women. The men just got mad and shouted. I guess it's because I grew up in a small "conventional" town, where my case was seen as wild and extreme. Everybody I grew up around now live in other parts, of course. So I'm left with all the poignant flash backs. I often wonder if they still remember that girl. All I know, I'm a blur in the back of their minds.
I learned that we're mostly going to be wrong about everything we predict how our futures should look. I had so many ideas of how I wanted everything to work. I realize that I imagined everything up. Possibly, I set a whole bunch of unrealistic goals for myself.
I wasn't really listening to people. I recall decades of many people saying the same mundane criticisms, but it fell on deaf ears or lost all meaning to me. I thought, what are you getting at? What does all this mean? None of them helped me or gave advice. Most times they insinuated things and spread word to others. But I just marched through life hearing the same boring-as-hell comments that eventually become brain worms. If you get what I'm saying. People have this typical mindset where the say it once or twice, and assume everyone else in the whole damn world told me too. Well the problem evolved around that hole on my face called a mouth—it didn't open and sound out words. I was an extremely quiet individual with low self esteem in social situations. I never realized that I made me look so dumb and very unfriendly. So people teased and harassed me a great deal in the past. I made no friends, nor even want on dates. Relationships were just nonexistent. When I started MD, which today I think is a mistake, it induced my quiet behaviour to total muteness. People assumed I was either very tired, in a bad mood or always thinking. Others wondered if I was truly stupid, by challenging me with stupid questions. Since I lived in my head so much, and daydreamed all day long, I didn't stop to see how I was affecting everybody around me, and why friends just weren't won. I've heard others state that I'm no interactive and have no abilities to carry on a fluent conversations with others. When I was 30, I learned that I had Asperger Syndrome, a high form of ASD. Bluntly speaking, I spent most of my life being alone. I used MD to comfort me in times of pain, cold, loss and loneliness, which only distracted me from everyday affairs—turning my life into a big rut. Daydreaming got me into trouble with people, due to not paying attention and not communicating. It became an endless vicious cycle into my adulthood. I haven't been in crowds for a couple years, caused by the pandemic, so it's hard to say how people will react when I become socially involved again.
Your daydreaming will seize more and more of your time and dedication until you lose your (already strained) connection to reality altogether, because that's what happens when the only choice is between imaginary relief and being crushed by the malevolent absurdity of daily life.
Late-stage MD is you reacting to your fantasies in the real world, not for a few seconds, not for a couple of hours, but all day every day. It becomes the new norm, rather than something you "catch yourself doing". What else would you do when you have nothing left in reality except constant misery with no relief on the horizon, but drown yourself in the vortex of madness inside your head to forget the pain? And people think alcoholism is bad.
Until one day, even that can't distract you anymore and the years of piled-up issues come crashing down on you. All of it collapses, all at once, all around you, like glass smashed into pieces by a blast wave, and this time there's nowhere to run. You're forced to feel everything, and (un)fortunately no language I know has words to describe what that's like.
Quite the horror story, isn't it? And the best part: it's your future if things stay as they are, just as it was my future at one point, and that of others I met here.
As I see it, forget about the triggers. Getting rid of those will only suppress your daydreaming, and your brain will just find new ones to fill the void.
Find out what is truly wrong, inside and outside of your head. Fix it if you can, run if you can't, and brace for impact if running is not an option.