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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Every time i return to the present I feel anxiety. I think a lot of members here feel that way, and dealing with the reality once you stop is just really hard. I also think it gets worse as you age, as more and more of your life slips away. I'm glad you were able to quit now. I wish you all the best!

The way I see it, is that the sooner you quit, the sooner you get better, and the sooner you can move on. 

Sounds easier said than done? Does daydreaming never come back? Do you see it as an enemy? How did you accomplish getting rid of 13 years of DD so quickly, what everyday activity stops you from doing it?

Personally I believe in balance but not 50-50, more 10-90 (where daydreaming is 10%) could be a healthy balance. And I count a lot as daydreaming while quite a lot is just thinking about real life stuff, scenario's and possibilities.

Also, is there anything you built up in those 13 years that could be useful as creative source material for anything such as a book?

How do you deal with the guilt of abandoning your characters? Or did that not arise for you?

I don't know if i could completely stop daydreaming. I would start feeling guilty for leaving my characters behind. For they don't exist without me, and i couldn't get rid of them like that.

Yes, exactly this:

FunAtmosphere said:

I don't know if i could completely stop daydreaming. I would start feeling guilty for leaving my characters behind. For they don't exist without me, and i couldn't get rid of them like that.

There is no way I could forget about my characters. There is no way I can stop cycling through the stories in my head. They are so much a part of me that I can't imagine life any other way.

A few of you are saying "I could never stop" or "I could never leave my characters behind." Realize, that those 'hard stops' you're placing for yourself are what is separating you from quitting...and it's something that only YOU are doing. 

Quitting for me was a rather lengthy process. I'd realized how much pain and grief it caused me, and how much I withdrew from everyone / everything. I no longer wanted to progress with anything. I no longer sought goals or achieving anything new. I mean, who would, with everything you could dream of, well, a dream away? In addition, daydreaming allowed me to 'experience' life as a woman, something I've always wanted. I'm trans / genderqueer, and have struggled with those things for a while. Daydreaming was a 'comfortable' escape for me to 'forget' about it and 'transition' already...something that's now biting me in the ass. Going back to my first sentence - I realized the harm it caused me, and had planned on withdrawing from it for a few years. I guess the kicking point for me included a few things -

*Identifying it as a problem, and not an escape
*Building a desire to quit doing it
*Realizing the harm it caused with relationships, memory, health, etc.

I had realized all of these things, but it wasn't until I met someone online several months ago. She was the one that blew the doors open for me, and allowed me to follow through on my decision. It happened suddenly, on Monday, the week of Halloween. I woke up one morning and realized that I'd never be able to have a healthy relationship with her ( or anyone, really) if I continued. I needed to quit, and a question formed in my head - "Then, why don't you? What's holding you back, but yourself?" And I did it.

It was amazing while it lasted, though. I visited beautiful places, had incredible relationships, experienced things I may never experience in real life. I was an assassin for the mob, a ladies' man, a ladies' lady (har har) a race car driver, a 'hero' who saved the world, a 'heroine' who saved the world, a space faring super hero. I would spend days building a gigantic world with endless ambition. Alien societies would visit, global wars would take place, apocalypses... Any story or movie I saw, I incorporated it into my world, or a whole brand new one. I'll never forget the rush of excitement I'd feel after starting a new relationship, or unraveling a new world to explore. I had everything, and anything I could imagine, in my head. Those experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life... but I have to move on. Life is calling me back.


As for Floris's comment - I would love to believe that a healthy balance is something that I could achieve, but after drastically cutting daydreaming out of my life so much, I'm afraid of going back. I won't lie - It was an immense help for me in story writing, and allowed me to discover the depths of my creativity / imagination. Perhaps, in the future, I'll dabble with it again but for now, I'm working on maintaining abstinence.

Don't hesitate to ask any more questions, as I'll answer them all :)

I have quit several times in the past.  When life was going well for me and the real world was stimulating, I almost never daydreamed.  Anytime I've had stress, long commutes, difficult sleeping, etc. then I daydream a lot.

I want to congratulate you and learn from you.  But also I want you to be cautious.  You've quit something for a little over a month now. I've gone months- maybe years? when I was younger- without daydreaming, and then it comes back when life changes.  It's the worst it's ever been right now for me.

What I'd like to know are some more practical things about how you quit.  When you felt the urge to do it or felt yourself starting to slip, what did you do instead?  How did you redirect your attention to reality?  What do you think about in times when you are forced into a boring situation (such as a long commute)?  

Finally, I'd really like to know how you keep the daydreams away over the next few months, so please keep updating.

I have no guilt at all about leaving characters behind.  They aren't real people; they don't exist, they don't have feelings.

Hey Emma,

Thank you for sharing :)

Quitting for me was as simple as 'flipping a switch'. I just realized that I had been wanting to do it for a long time, and realized that I was the only one that was holding myself back. I realize the potential for me falling back and doing it again, but I fear the consequences of that more than anything, which pretty much keeps that desire at bay. I also implement a simple, yet incredibly effective method: Hair tie on wrist. If I start daydreaming, or think about it, I snap it against my wrist....cause what's the last thing you ever want to feel while daydreaming? Pain! (at least in my case).

Those were actually the times I did it the most, besides when I was showering. I never really did it at work, though, as that was my ONE RULE. At night was the worst, as I'd lose several hours a night, easily.  As for long commutes / down times at work / etc., I tend to occupy myself with real life goals / reading the news / listening to music or chatting up my friends, anything to keep me anchored to reality.  Another thing that really helped me was telling my friends and family, as that built up a stronger desire for me to daydream, lest I distance myself from them further.

Feel free to keep in touch with me at:

porthana70@gmail.com

 

But don't forget that a lot of the daydreaming is a coping mechanism and it’s how our minds shift our anxiety to a better environment. That’s why it should be called ‘Adaptive’, not Maladaptive. However, this better environment is fictional but also unavoidable. If I’m in an anxious place I force myself to identify what it is that is the cause. If it’s work-related, personal, emotional, etc, it helps to know exactly what it is and why it makes you anxious, and sometimes it’s easier to handle. I don’t think it’s possible (for me anyway) to turn the switch off and always be in the here and now, but it is possible to recognize what the issues are in the here and now.

That's a great start, actually. Being able to identify what the problem is and perhaps pursuing a way to handle it / avoid it. Helps you build healthier coping mechanisms, I find.

The other environment (daydreaming place) is definitely seemingly unavoidable, especially in high stress situations, but you would have to train yourself NOT to do it, and consciously remind yourself when you're slipping. Once a pattern is established, it becomes easier and easier to avoid.

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