Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Its really late for me right now. I live in Arkansas and Its about 3am..eek..nothing new for me there.
I wrote a bunch of random thoughts about myself and MD and i'm just gonna copy paste it from my notepad here. I'm not shy like I used to be. I feel empowered finding this website and all these people 2800 ppl! Thats 5 times the amount of people I went to school with. Yeah it was a small town. :)
it goes like this..
Ok so I'm a terrible writer. I never cultivated any kind of skill for writing but I'm going to TRY and explain (just a little bit) what I have found out about myself this week. I'm so bad at explaining things in general so I apologize if my writing is a little bit.. fragmented?
I discovered a term known as Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder today. I realize that I have been having all of the symptoms of this disorder since i was about 11 to 13 years old. **Attn. ((I had to come back and change my beginning year to 1998 because THAT is when Pokemon first aired in the states and I know for a fact that my stories started with Animorphs/Pokemon. I can't remember if I watched the very first airing of the very first episode of Pokemon. But I would have been 9 years old at that time SO by the time I was 11-13 I had probably been daydreaming for a couple of years already..))**
I have always been creative and intelligent. When I was very young my parents were really happy at how smart I was. I spoke early in life and I spoke really well. I could read books when I was four and I didn't have trouble reading above my age group. I excelled in spelling and english. I would read my school books for fun. (english, science, or history that is) I hated math and failed at it from 4th grade on. For a long time I really blamed my math teachers for my failure. I really tried hard but I never got it at all. I really believe this is where my problems with depression, self hate/loathing, poor self esteem and of course anti social behavior ALL began in 4th grade. And like any nerdette in the making i turned to books and cartoons/anime because of course I obviously love a good story. I consistantly read thick fantasy stories spanning across several books. I have my own mini library of nothing but fantasy. I'm talking dozens and dozens of fat ass books.
Somewhere around 5th grade I got to be REALLY anti-social. I often excluded myself. By fifth grade I was afraid to initiate conversation or even sit with my classmates at lunch and my self esteem dropped to rock bottom. Aside from barely scraping by in math I began to let all my grades slide. By the end of seventh grade I thought I was dumb since I couldn't even memorize my times tables for some reason. (this is going back to 4th grade here..) I continued my anti-social behavior and I became depressed, anxious and withdrawn. I began to daydream about my favorite stories. I believe Animorphs is where it started.(4th-5th grade) When everything sucked I could always go and read my favorite books. Oh and then I got on the pokemon/yugioh/anime! bandwagon and well..I've never stopped adding to my stories since then. That is where my problematic daydreaming manifested and continues to this day. I mean honestly? What 9-12yr old that loved pokemon during the epitome of its popularity DIDN"T want that to be real? Just saying.
I eventually failed in every class and refused to do homework at all. (i was stubborn and I like every teen thought homework was total BS and that I shouldn't have to go to school all day and then do 4-6 classes different of homework. Screw that. btw my school did not have block scheduling so we had 7 classes everyday) I skipped a lot of school to simply sleep, play video games, read or day dream..After getting held back in 11th grade I just dropped out. To this day I don't remember 90% of the people I went to school with. Couldn't even tell you their first names. I never paid enough attention to them to learn anything about them.
I haven't changed one bit in the 7-8 years since school. I call in at work and sleep or daydream all day. I can't seem to hold down a job because I either get frustrated and quit for various reasons or I simply just can't commit enough to show up. I love my stories, but they are definitely holding me back. I mean I don't have a job right now and everyday my wonderful boyfriend will come home from work and ask me what I did all day and honestly..I have to tell him that I pretty much did nothing all day. He gets so mad and calls me lazy or says I have no drive. AND thats very true. He is the one person I would be afraid to share this with and for now..I won't be sharing this little manuscript with him for a very long time. I imagine.
SO next month on 11/18/2013 I will be 26yrs old. I have without a doubt been daydreaming over a decade. I firmly place my years invested between 12-16 years. I don't remember when It started But its been really bad since I was probably 15-16 years old. So really bad MDD for 10yrs. SO FAR.
Because I realize that I spend most of my time sitting in front of my pc I thought about myself. WHAT is my DEAL? I am always thinking about my personal escape into my daydreams. Today I typed into the google search.. "why do I daydream all the time and why can't I stop?" Apparently the perfect question.
Well I found out about Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder. I KNOW. "your not supposed to self diagnose!" I know!
But listen. I know I'm not psycotic. I know I'm not scitzophrenic. I know I don't have multi-personality disorder. I know i'm not a narcisst.(sp) I know I'm not any of those things, because I thought I might be and I looked them all up. They just didn't describe me well enough.
I am a Maladaptive Daydreamer.
I know this for a fact. I've read a few articles now and watched a few youtube videos about people who explain their own experience with this strange condition. I hope that I can muster enough drive soon that I join an online support group or forum of some kind. I never knew there was a term for my behavior. I feel so relieved by this knowledge I stumbled upon.
I literally have all of the symptoms and I'm absolutely addicted to this behavior. I walk around and pace while thinking of exciting things. I change my facial expressions and laugh. I have never spoken out loud from a day dream. Not yet anyway. I seem to have an iron hold on my personal reality. It is my deepest secret. All mine and SO personal. I have been questioned for smirking or laughing unexpectadly or for a sad or angry expression, but I have never vocalized. Now i will have animated but voiceless conversations. Why voiceless? Because I am not myself, it is not ME talking. I am a character in my head. Sometimes a male character. So why use my female voice? I'm very careful about my gestures when I know other people are around. It's so BAD at work because I can't escape work. I'm forced to stand in one place or interact with boring people. It's so hard to focus. When I'm alone at home though. I will literally jump up and run across the house in excitment from something like an action scene going on in my head. If anyone was to catch me in these extreme displays of this behavior they would undoubtably think i was nuts. I mean out of my mind, put me in a straight jacket crazy. It would be so embarrassing..
I have interweaving plotlines of two different realities that I typically daydream about. First I want to say that I incorporate just about every aspect of a genre into my fantasies and that both stories are very complex with happy moments and tragedies. Anything that I like goes into my fantasy making the world bigger and more detailed. My two main stories have characters that have been around since the beginning of it all.
One world is sci-fi, based on the future and fact. With aliens, supernatural powers and super advanced technology. (thanks animorphs, stargate, mass effect-videogames)
One is fantasy midieval mixed with supernatural beings. This one is more magical and whimsical. (thanks inuyasha, pokemon, final fantasy-videogames)
The other fantasies don't fit in either world so I simply call them 'other' They may however become a part of either world later on but they are mostly seedlings, under developed pieces of plot or simply diversions for amusement.
You MUST understand that my alternate realities DO NOT exist together. For example. My sci-fi world characters are never in the same scenes as my fantasy characters. They are seperate universes where logic and fact are what I make it to be. Yes they are all fantasy but I meant fantasy world as in magic and samurai....lol <-yes i can LOL at myself!! I switch back and forth between the two worlds (I should say three since real life is a world too) I do this for my own amusement. I love both fantasy realities, but like a good book I can sit them down and then open them up again with little effort.
I do have only one limitation when I daydream. I have never incorporated a real person I know INTO my daydreams. I don't think I've ever tried since I do not exist in my alternate realities, not as myself anyways. My characters are never named for someone I know in real life. It's would be confusing AND I think I would slip up and get my daydream memories mixed up with the real memories. (my greatest fear is losing touch with reality)
Most of my characters are over 10 years old. Most of them are based off of characters in literature, movies, anime, or anything that started off in a fantasy world and triggers my daydreams. Then I may create original characters based off of that world and THAT person would be part of my daydreams. Sometimes I mix traits of characters I like (across different fandoms) and create a completly new character.
My stories plots continue as my life changes but they all have a root plot that never changes. They grow with me. Their past doesn't change. They have children and I create stories for them too. (Roots anyone? Following a story by generations of characters) My stories get longer and longer but since I love the characters so much (attachment) I DO go back to the beginning of my stories or any point in them that I particularly like and 'relive' that part of the plot. I'm definitely emotionally attached to my stories and the people in them.
I know, I know. It's a WHOLE LOT of crazy, but I absolutely know that its all fantasy. I know its not real. As a matter of fact the more out there it is the more likely it is to be part of a my fantasy. I dunno like exploring an alien planet or time traveling or being able to shoot fireballs, whatever you know. Thats obviously not going to be a reality for anyone for god knows how many centuries, if ever. SIMPLY put..It's just how I keep myself amused. Problem is. It keeps me up at night. It keeps me in bed when I wake. I never get anything done. It's hard to pay attention to anything that doesn't fuel my imagination. I'm addicted to the day dreaming.
One time I had a dream where something from my daydreaming was in my actual dream. I woke up really scared that I was losing my grip on reality. My daydreams are my biggest secret and my biggest fear is not being able to tell the difference anymore.The only time I feel like I'm truly standing in the here and now reality is when I look in a mirror.
It's a real moment of clarity for me. Looking in a mirror and seeing myself. Why? I'll tell you. I do not exist in my other reality.
There are female characters that I wish were me. I will tell the story from their POV and a different characters POV. Switching back and forth, replaying the same scene from differing POVs. I should also mention that a lot of my characters are male. I find it intriguing to try and understand how different the world is for a man as opposed to a woman. I don't want to BE a man, but I enjoy a masculine point of view. It's more challenging and I like having to work my brain harder for the sake of my story. I probably spend more time defining the male characters than i do the females. I already know how a female would react/behave but imagining how a male would is fun. I would say i'm more attached to the male characters. As a rule, I always give my characters flaws because I hate mary sue type characters. (for those that don't know what a marysue or garystew is, its a character that is just so perfect in every way that they are inhuman or poorly developed.) Nobody likes that because its boring! I have to admit though that after doing this for so long it does get hard to keep track of all the details..related to each character in each plot and their relations with other people and places..but I honestly don't think I've ever forgotten anything I liked. I have never written anything down for fear of discovery. Thats what I meant earlier when I said "I have an iron hold on my personal reality'
I've really hated myself for a long time. Probably since I was about 16, so about 10 years now. I have cut myself plenty of times. I went for a week at a mental health place but I didn't get any help there. After my obvious cry for help I kept my cutting hidden. I did it on my legs where no one can see it. I never cut myself in a life threatening way. I mean I did accidently stab myself in the back of my calve once (I did it on the upswing while I was furiously cutting myself with a knife..don't worry I was ok after that. My cuts were superficial but the stab really hurt the most. I have grown out of it since then.) I never understood why I hated myself. Maybe a lot of reasons. I now truly believe that my depression comes from not being able to achieve anything because I'm lost in my own reality all the time. Its even more depressing to give up such a big part of my personality though. It's hard to break out of this.
I can't describe the high I get when I find something new that I really like. For example. I recently found an anime that I'm totally in love with. Awesome plot, great characters. What more could you want? Well for me its just one big dose of creative mind blown away. I could literally sit here all day and not watch my show. Instead I'm content to sit here and think about it.
Anyways. I had no idea I would write this much. Maybe after some more thought on the matter I'll actually share more of my story. (like the years of therapy that never helped because I couldn't describe my problems beyond being 'depressed') Maybe I'll share some of my alternate reality some day. Other than the settings.. I'm not afraid to talk about it (online or to maybe 2-3 people I know in real life.) However Its so complex I don't think I could explain anything to anyone other than perhaps the setting? I really enjoy sci-fi and fantasy, which I said already. I read that most people with MDD are too ashamed to even admit it. Well I've always marched to the beat of my own drum. I love being unique and I hate being 'like everyone else.' I'm not afraid to admit to having MDD now that I know what it is. I would absolutely sign up for any studies being done on this subject. It has affected me for most of my life and now that I know what it is and that i'm not alone I want to help myself and other people suffering from this.
Phew..I am so relieved that my years and years of daydreaming about the same stories and characters is not a sign of being scitzophrenic. (too lazy to spellcheck, I'm using notepad!) I will probably not lose my grip on reality as I have feared for many years now. I really thought that when I grew to be old I might start thinking my characters were real and miss them or ask for them or confuse real people for them. If i were to develope dementia or something I wouldn't be able to keep my mdd behaviors hidden. It would be all out there. I know it sounds bad but I hope I die long before my mind goes. I would be nothing without it anyway.
I honestly thought I was crazy. BUT I'm not alone! It turns out there are alot of people out there who are experiencing the same thing. I'm not crazy and I certainly know the difference between my fantasy daydreams and real life, but it is depressing. I don't know what is sadder. The fact that I'd rather dream my time away in a fake reality or that I can't let go of it long enough to make something of myself in the real world.
Ok now this is why I simply had to write all this. I have this re-occuring dream. I always known this dream was important. Its so short and simple and plain. But I remembered it vividly. It was my subconcious trying to tell me how to have this revelation. My fantasies. My habitual day dreaming about the same stories. Finding out about MDD. It just all fit, and I remembered this dream. (I never forgot this dream, but I didn't connect my dream with anything until today.)
Inside my dream I'm looking up and around me. I have no body, or I can't remember seeing it. (like my feet or arms) I'm standing in the center of a white egg shaped dome. It is much larger than me, or I am tiny. In my dream. It is not that I'm in an egg. The white dome is the inside of my skull. I am trapped in this white nothingness. I do not explore this dome. I simply stand in the center and look up. I know two things in this dream. That the white dome is my skull and I am trapped there.
That is all there is to that dream. I've had it at least three times now. It is always the same. Is it a nightmare? I don't think so. I'm not scared in it. I only feel despair. I believe this dream..is how I really feel about myself. My true self is trapped in my skull, here in the true reality.
ps it took me three hours to write all this..! also i know its horrible written but I probably am done messing with it..
again i'm so sorry that this is so dang long...but I had to post it... :/
now i'm obsessing over my post..ugh i just can't quit being ocd! :(
I obsess over mine too, even this short one has to come out just right! :/
I can relate to a lot of your post, Definitely the part about your significant other wondering what on earth you do all day. Dating is hard especially living with that person. They dont like you staying up till 3 without them and you can't be honest with them about what it is your doing! Right now only the people who've read my posts know these things about me. When I'd date girls they would get a little close to me and I'd either have to shut them out, or they'd think I'm cheating on them, or in some cases they'd think I was weird and bail. But I AM weird so what can I say?!
Anyway I'm just like you, my daydreams are different of course, just found out about MDD, I started probably 4 or younger, now I'm 32! Excellent with all the language arts and linguistics and such but got lost in math in 4th grade specifically! I still do blame it on my teacher! Terrified of math for the rest of my life. Strangely enough I use alot of applied math at work now and people think I'm smart, but no I flunked out of pretty every subject and skipped school to daydream.
Never thought of it as an addiction til I found out about MD online by googling "constantly daydreaming" about 2 months ago. What I read was so heavy for me I had to put my phone away for a second before I could read more. Then I found myself obsessing and pacing on Maladaptive Daydreaming and my life story for few nights which was a good feeling but not constructive at all so I took a break from digging further on it until I calmed down a little more, which worked, then I found this place and don't think I've ever been happier to sign up for anything online. Or willingly post my most hidden secrets to complete and total strangers!
Just getting it off your chest to other people who really know how you feel is super awesome, and I also want to help others like me in some way. I'd really like to be able to reach out to everyone still out there who thinks they're alone in the world like I've felt as long as I've been alive. I used to fear one day I wouldn't know the difference between my fantasy and reality, and even kept accidentally calling my girlfriend at the time by the name of a character of mine! Never to her face thank god! But it would slip while I would be talking to myself (any time I'm alone or out of earshot) and I always worried one day I'd call her that name and she'd think I was cheating for real this time!!
Ok must stop rambling!! :)
Lila Kilpatrick said:
now i'm obsessing over my post..ugh i just can't quit being ocd! :(
I have been doing it alot less the last few days. It's really hard to not do it when I wake up. Thats the time I spend the most doing it. lol
I discovered i suffer from MD yesterday. after a long search trying to figure out why i was so crazy. thought maybe I am living a double life somehow.
Have to say this after i read other people post I have not day dreamed yet coz everytime i am triggered to. i just laugh at my self
Sounds like you MD alright. I do all of that. I pace, facial expressions, make up characters with different kinds of crazy situations, and then daydream them for HOURS!
and just like you I was really good in English (I've been slacking lately) and terrible T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E at math. By 5th grade my confidence dropped so badly I was held back a year. I talked to no one, avoided everyone, and thought I was either insane or just a freak. Even attempted suicide a few times.
But the truth is were not freaks. We can think about situations more clearly then most people can and have wonderful imaginations. We have a lot of love to give. Our curse is though that it's a bit strong and takes over our reality.
I also have a difficult time with math, yet English/writing seems to come so easily and naturally.
I find this fascinating. I was also excellent in English, taking advanced classes, but horrible at math.
You posting this is a big first step..…it may not seem that way, but believe me. :)
You, like so many of us, are wonderfully creative, to the point where its hard to actually sit in your seat long enough to make something that you are proud of..
You may already know that this feeling of "simply not being able to" , or "its too powerful" is a lie you are telling yourself. You are just as able to stop as anybody else.
I am withdrawing from my DD world gradually and putting all my talents, intellect, emotions, and attention into external things.
I am more genuinely "real" now…..and I have to say. It is worth every molecule in my body.
When I am feeling the pull of my daydreams, I say this silently in my head to myself "I promise to make this world liveable for you".
Because despite all that anyone has told you, you don't need a reason to start loving yourself. Loving yourself is where you MUST start if you want to get anywhere. :)