A week before Halloween - 10/27/14. I quit...

A lovely woman was coming to visit me in a few days. I had just realized how truly alone I was, and how great it felt having someone mean something to me so much...how much I'd love to be WITH someone. And I realized then, that if I were to do this, to truly, honestly, prepare, I had to exist in the present, and stop pretending I was elsewhere. I had to stop pretending that things were always 'alright' and that no matter what, I could 'escape' and never face my fears, however big or small they may be. I now have to face them, and you know what? I'm scared. I'm scared of what the future holds. I'm scared of what will happen between us, as the days pass, and I begin to realize more and more about myself that I've suppressed for so long. But that's okay. It's okay not to know...because you can never know everything, so why worry about it when it hasn't even happened yet?

Who knows what will come. But all I know is what my therapist told me today, after I told her everything: "You've spent 13 fuckin' years in your head, over 'there'. It's time to spend the rest of it here, in the present."

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I want to stop but it is difficult. Sometimes i think that i have something else like schizophrenia or psycosis so my daydreams have become more about me been worry that i have that problem. Before i started worry about me going crazy my daydreams where about me being this important person, soccerplayer, director, etc. Now my daydreams are mostly about me talking to a doctor or a person about my situation. I dont find joy in my daydreams anymore like i used to. Now i find them to be scary because now i only have negative thoughts. I wonder if it could be depression or that i about to have a nervous breakdown.

Yes, I agree, with everything emma said.  I do break from the daydreams, but they always come back whenever my life takes a turn for the worse.  You have to go through this again and again.  Don't be discouraged but but do be realistic and prepared.

Hey Zoë,

thank you for sharing. My big problem with MDD is when my life starts not engaging me emotionally enough. You know, drudge, boring things, day in day out, routine. How do you shield against that? Or what would you advise? 

If life has gotten boring and you've felt like you hit a rut, it sounds like you've gotten too comfortable and complacent with your life. I'd recommend seeking new challenges. Do something you wouldn't normally do, and make it something that you do OUTSIDE of your house! 

One of the biggest things I took advantage of was the college town next to me. Whenever I felt myself slipping, I'd call up a friend or two, get dinner, and just hang out. We'd either go clubbing, hit up an arcade, bar hop, or just explore. It was great because it FORCED me out of my head, into reality, and made me interact with others. I hated it at first, since anything that took me away from daydreaming frustrated me, but I learned to balance it out and eventually....live without it.

However awesome these changes were, it was (admittedly) difficult for me to invite these things into my life, as it was so far out of the 'norm' for me to go clubbing / socializing. I always assumed I wasn't that kind of person, but I pushed myself to be sociable. So, find something that piques your curiosity, and dabble in it. Try anything. Try EVERYTHING. Just. Do. I promise, that if you challenge yourself enough (and then push yourself beyond those challenges), seek out happiness elsewhere and keep a healthy, realistic mindset: you'll be fine :)

All of this. Yes! 

A big part of being prepared and realistic is to realize this is a problem, and it either needs to be contained, or eliminated. Preparing for that can be hard, but once you find a basic pattern, follow it, and pursue more positive / realistic thoughts and goals, you'll find yourself in a more positive light.



Alta Morden said:

Yes, I agree, with everything emma said.  I do break from the daydreams, but they always come back whenever my life takes a turn for the worse.  You have to go through this again and again.  Don't be discouraged but but do be realistic and prepared.

Definitely your mind's way of telling you to move on! Totes find something else to enjoy. Go out and explore, or do something crazy (and fun / safe, yo!) And work on getting diagnosed. A big part of achieving a clearer mindset is getting rid of those huge worries and concerns (you know, the ones that daydreaming pull you away from dealing with properly.)

Luis S said:

I want to stop but it is difficult. Sometimes i think that i have something else like schizophrenia or psycosis so my daydreams have become more about me been worry that i have that problem. Before i started worry about me going crazy my daydreams where about me being this important person, soccerplayer, director, etc. Now my daydreams are mostly about me talking to a doctor or a person about my situation. I dont find joy in my daydreams anymore like i used to. Now i find them to be scary because now i only have negative thoughts. I wonder if it could be depression or that i about to have a nervous breakdown.

Yes, I'm trying now cold turkey.  I figure if I can just get through the week, perhaps it will be easier next week.  I think it's the habit that is the biggest prob.  I'm using audiobooks on my MP3 player while I'm in situations where I'd normally daydream (such as driving or cleaning or working out) and that is helping.  

But I disagree about the getting away from the worries and concerns as if they always can be dealt with properly.  Some things can't be properly dealt with.  It's not like you can resolve all the bad things that affect your life.  Some problems have no solutions, and some things just suck and tear at you.  My goal is to find healthier ways to cope- and I think you have really good advice about that.  Getting involved in new things, keeping to a schedule, setting small goals that you can work towards (and in my place, distracting myself with something that causes me less harm such as an audio book- it ends eventually and expands my ideas rather than limits them)- these are what I'm trying to do.  The idea that I can just properly deal with the things that cause me to retreat into my head in the first place- no.  What I need are more skillful ways to cope.

Thank you for continuing to update.  

The MP3 / audio book route is wonderful for separating yourself from DD'ing! I've used it several times since, when I'm feeling like I really need to or when I'm feeling really stressed out and feel like I could 'slip'.

It definitely helps to face whatever stresses you, though, instead of just 'coping' with it. However, I definitely agree with you, Emma: Not all things can be resolved right away, and some can never be resolved. Problems such as these just have to be managed better, in a healthier fashion. And when you treat it as such, you contribute more to your overall happiness. So it kinda comes full circle, negating the necessity for daydreaming :)



Emma said:

Yes, I'm trying now cold turkey.  I figure if I can just get through the week, perhaps it will be easier next week.  I think it's the habit that is the biggest prob.  I'm using audiobooks on my MP3 player while I'm in situations where I'd normally daydream (such as driving or cleaning or working out) and that is helping.  

But I disagree about the getting away from the worries and concerns as if they always can be dealt with properly.  Some things can't be properly dealt with.  It's not like you can resolve all the bad things that affect your life.  Some problems have no solutions, and some things just suck and tear at you.  My goal is to find healthier ways to cope- and I think you have really good advice about that.  Getting involved in new things, keeping to a schedule, setting small goals that you can work towards (and in my place, distracting myself with something that causes me less harm such as an audio book- it ends eventually and expands my ideas rather than limits them)- these are what I'm trying to do.  The idea that I can just properly deal with the things that cause me to retreat into my head in the first place- no.  What I need are more skillful ways to cope.

Thank you for continuing to update.  

Facing things, yes.  I have no problem with that.  You cant lie to yourself about things or make them go away.  But facing them does not always make them better.  When people die, they are gone.  No matter how much you face them.  These things don't get easier, you just must learn to cope.  When people are sick, they are sick.  No matter how much you look at the disease and deal with it.  You are still sick and have those symptoms.  When people need care and you are the one to care for them, yes this is facing responsibility.  It is also isolating and stressful.  ETC.  You can face problems all you want, but that does not make them any prettier a lot of the time.  It is annoying that we live in a culture that pretends that everyone can fix all their problems and be gloriously happy if they just try hard enough.  No.  Sometimes things just suck and there is no solution.  What you must do is find a way to cope and bring joy/purpose into your life when you can.  Daydreaming is a way to cope.  So is drinking too much.  So is losing yourself in a movie.  These things all provide relief, and escaping into relief is important as it gives you down time.  


Of course, I was daydreaming before anything bad ever happened in my life just like I drank and watched TV before anything bad happened.  What has changed is that as bad things have happened, I have stopped doing anything with my limited free time other than looking for an easy escape to provide relief.  The daydreaming has gotten significantly worse and now it is what I do most of the time I have free time.  


There are healthier ways to cope.  Audiobooks.  Exercise.  Hobbies.  Creative Projects.  Classes.  Productive work, etc.  But these are a lot harder and do not provide the instant ease of relief.  What has happened is I've become addicted to the ease with which daydreaming can distract me and make me feel good.  But it is not productive.  So in the long run, I spend all my time either in facing my problems (daily life) or in distracting myself from them (daydreaming, drinking) with no time at all left over for living the way I want to live in the time I do have to do so.

My goal wasn't to trivialize or make it seem really easy to deal with problems...instead bring light to the power of facing things head on. I'm well aware that you can't always maintain that, and that having coping mechanisms are good for managing them, it's just that relying on said mechanisms is dangerous and prone to habit-forming (IE: MDD). But you do raise some valid points. 

I think a big part of managing (and outlawing the desire to DD) is finding out what triggered it in the first place, and face it. For me, it would be the realization that I may be gay / trans, and facing that was horrific for me at the time. I flew so far and away from reality, and continued to do so, for so long. It was so suffocating for me to realize what awaited me outside of DD, but I knew I had to do it, by whatever means.

I won't lie: The woman I fell in love with helped immensely with this, and she keeps me anchored so well that I have little desire to DD. It took me finding someone worthwhile to prove to me and show me the beauty of reality. I'm so insanely grateful for her, not only for her being so patient with me and my BS, but the strength she gave me.

That's what worked for me. I'm not saying it was easy, 'cause by no means, was it. Nor will it work for everyone else, but finding that someone, or something...may just help enough to find your own beauty in reality.

When you say that realizations about your sexuality and gender triggered it, are you suggesting that you never did it before those stresses entered your life?  

In my case, I have always daydreamed in this elaborate and strange way.  Always.  As long as I can remember being aware of myself as a person, I have done it.  Since I was in diapers.  I was a very happy child with a happy childhood.  Still I did it.  I did it all throughout my 20s, and I've never had any trauma or problems before that caused a trigger.  That is what is common with MDD- most of us have done it without a trigger at all which might be why you have been so able to quit.  If yours is just a coping mechanism, then once you coped, it is natural that you would stop needing your coping mechanism.

What happens in my case is that it gets worse when I go through a period of life that is stressful.  For example, in my mid 20s I had a lot of work stress and my daydreams became very elaborate and I started spending much more time in them.  Then the work situation changed and the stress went away and my daydreams went back to being something that I just did in boring times- waiting in line, driving long distances, flying, going for a jog. 

Currently I'm living through the most stressful period of my life that I have ever experienced, and yes I spend almost all of my time in fantasy land when I have the chance.  It has taken on a life of its own now.  Sometimes I stay up most of the night in it.  Free days, I stay in it all day long.  So it has to stop.

But again, accepting some fact about yourself (a characteristic, a flaw, a virtue, a need, a sexuality, a gender, a drive) is totally different than being in a situation that is terrible for reasons out of your own control.  I have no problem facing things head on.  But even head on, they still suck.  Facing reality doesn't help with grief, illness and long term care-giving as those things are pervasive and all-encompassing.  They don't go away- they don't have solutions- they don't change.  Acceptance doesn't ease the burden.  You just have to learn how to cope.  There isn't anything else that can be done.

Anyway, the daydreaming came first and has always been there and has never been a problem except in times of extreme stress.  Luckily, my life has not had too many periods of extreme stress, so it usually isn't a problem.  It is now.  But it is completely wrong to suggest that the stress causes the daydreaming in the first place (not that I'm saying you suggested this yourself!!)  Most people here say they have done it their whole lives.  That's why I'm curious to know if you are sure you only started when your own struggles with yourself started.  

BTW- I'm happy to hear you have found a meaningful and supportive relationship.  Yes, I think that is important!  I have been in a very happy marriage for over 15 years now.  I'm also close to my family and have very good friends and a wonderful support system.  None of this changes the fact that it sucks to be ill, that it sucks to have people you love die, and that it sucks to have to spend most of your time in the soul-crushing hopelessness of care-giving for loved ones who are in a terrible situation that will only get worse.  I'm sorry to be a Debbie Downer here.  I just get really upset at people who say things like "look on the bright side" or who say you can do things to change your situation or who say you can find happiness if something changes or whatever.  I think it is a HUGE cultural problem that we have- the insistence that people fix things or find solutions - because solutions do not always exist, and the insistence that it does only adds to the suffering of people who are doing their best to survive, day to day, in problems that have no end/ no solution.  It's not what we like to think of in our Western pro-individual go-getter, free-will culture!  

I know you are not saying those things and I'm probably super-imposing my own annoyances on your comments.  Maybe these are the irritabilities of DTs?  Do you think we detox from not day-dreaming?  I'm irritated all day today.

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