Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I used to be a quite a daydreamer, but eventually it broke me—nothing was real. I awoken to a gritty truth that was anything but a dream come true. I just sat for years doing nothing for myself, but daydreaming all the time. I deeply regret this, and I deserve it all the same. No matter how happy the dreaming made me, it just dug me a deeper hole, which I ultimately fell into. It's extremely hard to get back on my feet, because my health and mindset is not the same, and I am not getting any younger. I actually wish that I spoke up about my excessive daydreaming when it first started growing on me. Now I'm pushing my late 30's. If only I could turn back time, and revisit 12, and say no, this will ruin your life, not promise you better things to come. What happened to me was life sucking and not fair. It also made everybody around me think I needed psychiatry. I spent the last 18 years in and out of work, and surprisingly still haven't managed to be independent. I seem to be treading water, instead of climbing a mountain. And often, I wonder if it's still not too late to start over. I'm sure many of you guys feel the same way.
Hi Jessica, I'm also in my late 30s and I have the strong feeling of having wasted a lot of time in my life, daydreaming but also not really focusing on the important things.
Some people grow up already "fixed", but most of us need to fix things while we grow. Nobody gives us life instructions and if they do, it is already outdated by the time we grow into adult, in this fast-changing society.
Maybe we needed that life to become who we are, we needed the wasted time, the daydreaming, the pain.
Now, we have a new chance. Life always starts brand new, every day.
How is life in your 30's? Did you make progress? Are you going on the right path now? Does your life seem to be sufficient or stable?
I daydreamed to get away from the pain of not fitting in and belonging to any social group. I've had just had myself to look out for. I rarely had any friends around me, which to many is not good. I did stop daydreaming, but I'm left with the aftermath. I'm so scared that I won't pull through now.
I have arrested development as a 30-something. It's like I grew up not growing up. I was a dreamer since I was a baby, but I was so preoccupied with my own personal thoughts and daydreams, that I payed no attention to life and how to adapt in it. I just spent so much time in my head. So when I did become an adult, I had no idea what the hell to do for myself, and how to survive out there, set plans and take charge, even interact and mingle with people properly. I completely drew blanks right there. I feel so ashamed about it. Meanwhile, my parents are wondering when I'm going to leave their house and support myself.
When I was a daydreaming teen, I had no thought towards the future. I enjoyed the current times, but my grades were suffering, because most times, I lived in some other world. I didn't even care—which got me into big trouble with my dad. I was silent and I didn't speak up about academic progress. I had no idea what a huge (deep) hole I was digging myself. Now I know! I guess that I was overly confident, smug and immature that way. My mom had no idea, all my life, that I was a daydreamer. She thought I was getting on like other kids. She was always working nights and sending me off to babysitters. It was above her head what my mental health was really like.
Now, I still live with them at a (blink, blink) humiliating age of 36. I can't even open my mouth to anybody about this. Often, I think that I deserve it. I'm hoping I'll buy my first apartment by the time I'm at least 40 year old.
Frankly, no man has ever been attracted to me. I'm getting used to the fact, I'll be quite the single lady for much of my adult life. I am pretty, but I simply don't talk much, nor am I very approachable.
I'm not clear on how your life looks. It shocks me how damaging MDD make your way of life. If I had known as a teen, what I know now. I would've been like "Stop!"
I've been a massive daydreamer as well, but now I don't intentionally daydream anymore. However, I still slip into daydreaming on and off unintentionally, which I find more frustrating than planned daydreaming.
I've also diagnosed with OCD and currently taking medication on daily basis. My therapist recently changed my medicine type, and I find it very helpful. Most importantly that has already reduced my daydreaming (unintentional). I'm very exited about this and looking forward to more improvement.
The reason I wanted to bring this up is to emphasis that many people with maladaptive daydream tend to have co-morbid mental health issues. It's better to see a psychologist for that reason.
With regards to your disappointment with your life, I personally do not think you should worry too much because now that you have your daydreaming under control, you can plan your life goals ahead. I'm also in my 30s and feel like most of my past wasted due to my mental health conditions. But on the bright side, I have identified my problems and gotten them under control. There are millions of people out there without identifying their mental health issues, and continue to struggle their entire life.
When I was a young kid, I thought what I did was a beautiful thing, making me happy all the time. When really, it was a trap. It grew on me and took over my head, distracting me from my life plans! I have learned my lesson, but for some reason, it didn't really change anything.
Horrible thing is my mom found out about my dream life, and to this day, she dwells that I don't live on earth. It doesn't matter what I do, and how I awake and alert I feel. Shamefully, I met quite a number of people who stumbled upon my "forbidden secret," all because I wasn't listening and observing. It was a disaster, because of how it made them feel. I guess because, they never dream in the day.
I think the problem is, in today's society, everybody knows everyone else's business, and mental health is widely out there, in the media. So if I reveal one sign, game over, someone's going to find out that my mind is somewhere else. (and there's nothing I can do after it's detected.) People feel the absolute power to confront and embarrass the F*** out of us, to make themselves look better.
As for where I'm going in the future, it's like a blank sleight right now. I'm trying to pursue an even better position, but it's not going to be easy, and the job market sucks right now. I planned to return to school years ago, but I found it baffling to apply into another program with my life situations and mental health, so I just hopped on contracts over-time, receiving the same bemusing feedback from employers, telling me I need to improve my skills.
My dad is pressuring me to get a role with a salary that is high enough to actually pay for monthly rent. Thing is, I've been applying to so many companies that scarcely get back to me, and had interviews with employers who eventually moved on with other candidates with better qualifications.
I find it hard to believe that I'll get ahead, and seem to be stuck in a rut all the time. I'm scared if I don't get off my ass, and figure something out, I'll still be seeing myself living at home for years to come.
I even believed that I was going to get married...I'm still single as ever. It makes me wonder of guys don't like girls who don't succeed and take care of themselves.
Maladaptive daydreaming is not easy to control, so I wouldn't be so critical on your past. Have you seen a psychologist? Are you sure you don't have co-morbid mental health issues?
By the way, mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, and not something to hide from others. The problem is that the society is not fully aware of mental health condition and judge people. More awareness is the better.
I don't think I have co-morbid mental health issues. I'm not depressed. I'm just frustrated. I realize it will take hard work to get the life I want. I just slap my forehead, and can't believe this didn't register into my mind as a younger adult. I guess we are all naive that way.
The thing is, when I was a young adult, I knew nothing about life. All I've known was my childhood. I was raised into a cozy soft atmosphere full of fun entertainment and activities. My mom did so much for me, that I never learned to grow up and be responsible for other people and myself. I basically got babied by her for most of my life. When I finally became an adult, I seriously didn't know how to be an adult. I didn't properly take the steps to get from A to B. I was coddled and spoiled throughout the growing process. Plus, I was a maladaptive daydreamer, that makes it even greater an insult. On top of that, I found out at 30 that I have Asperger syndrome. So it's taking me ridiculously forever to earn my own independence and get my own life. Frankly, when people have met me, some of them found me a blithering idiot, because I didn't listen and speak up, or perform properly in a role, and they wondered if I have serious issues.
I've had a lot of jobs that didn't work out, for all sorts of reasons. To this day, I'm treading in water, in a job that doesn't pay well. I wonder if I need extensive training in my field or sheer dumb luck if I can finally get a job that I love, with a good enough salary to pay the monthly rent. In spite the rising costs of housing and apartments.
Honestly, it's a little scary. My dad was hoping I had flown the coop years ago, and is appalled that I still live with them. He doesn't seem to realize or care what my mental health is like, and that it explains why I'm still struggling financially. It makes me feel so bad. I wish that I could find a way to stop this shit. I do recall being entitles and lazy as a 20-something, which also could've been the case.
From childhood, I've also been struggling due to my mental health conditions. No matter how I change my plans and goals, I used to end up in the same vicious cycle. I'm a goal oriented person, but could not hold onto one goal for more than few weeks, due to my OCD. My daydreaming made everyday life highly inefficient.
However, it began to change (slowly) after I started to take care of my mental health issues. I felt like I'm no longer orbiting in the same old vicious cycle and coming back to square 1, and beginning to make progress in my life.
There was a time I used to prefer "thinking" or "dreaming" over reading a book or playing a game. When a project is done by someone else, it may not grab my attention, and I get lost in it. I even find myself drifting when watching certain TV shows.
I do better when writing my own journals and creating things with my hands, such as artwork, which can go on for hours.
I'm pretty confused. I always suspected that this thing I do since my childhood is not normal, but I though that everyone does it, just not talking about it. At least, people who can think.
Now I find this definition (maladaptive daydreaming) and this forum, and it appears to be a disease. Many posts are about quitting.
I don't think that daydreaming is a disease, unless it take full control of you and your life (btw like other addictions or mental diseases). I can't imagine my life without daydreaming, it is my way to deal with the past (my failures in life) and with the future. I use daydreaming to prepare me for difficult situation, to test scenarios and choose among many behaviours I could assume. It is my way to creatively think. It is my way to manage my social life and my work. And sometimes it gives me ideas to write short stories.
I do not forget meetings, I do not choose daydream in place of working or stay with family and friends (mostly), quite often I go late to bed and spent some time daydreaming, as a debriefing moment for the day. Is this a disease?
I think 'disease' sounds rather dramatic for daydreaming. I'd call it a compulsive disorder that grows on you if you get too indulged. Disease is really a slang for saying that you can't control your daydreams, and it is in need of psychology.
A disease is an abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism in your body. There is no such real thing as a mental disease. Mentality is quite tangible.
What I did to control my dreams, is to not get carried off with them. It wasn't easy, and you cannot totally get rid of dreaming. It's there with you forever. You have to learn to suppress it as much as possible, and integrate it into your life in a way it comes useful, such as creating graphic novels. Just don't let it distract your everyday life.