Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I was wondering how many people here live alone. I've just started to buy my first home on my own and though I am excited to finally be leaving home. I am also worried that it may cause me to submerge myself more in my MD. At the moment I live with my parents and have them to pull me into the real world.
Like today I was home alone and find I daydream as I do chores around the house and listen to music. I'm feeling stressed at the moment due to the house purchase, problems at work and also problems at home between my parents. My parents have a rocky relationship to say the least.
My dad has never been diagnosed but I feel has suffered with depression since his parents passed away 20 years ago he has never been good with expressing his feelings and keeps everything in. I wonder sometimes if he has MD as he will go and sit quietly and stare into space or stares at his phone and it can be hard to grab his attention.
I feel that moving out may help me as I feel like I constantly live underneath their dark cloud. At the moment and all through my life they go through stages of not speaking to each other and I feel trapped in the middle. This week I have struggled more than usual swinging between sadness and lifting my spirits with daydreams, where I am in a happy relationship and live away from my family.
I feel if I live alone I will feel calmer as I don't need to worry about what mood my parents will be in or sitting in their silences trying to make conversation.
But I am scared I'll get stuck in my daydreams when I'm alone and no-one is there is pull me out, when I have been really bad I have spent so much time watching shows with my characters in, listening to music, looking at pictures and being surrounded by triggers for my daydream.
But I don't know if I will need them less if I feel less like I want to escape my own home.
If you do live alone how do you pull yourself back or control yourself not to daydream?
I have only lived alone for the past 1.5 years, but have been an extreme MDD since earliest childhood. Even when I lived with people in shared houses during University I was still DD every single day. It was more exhausting because I had to keep it hidden. But I wouldn't say that it was worse. I still skipped work sometimes to DD, which I continued to do once I lived alone. Of course you can immerse yourself more if you don't have to be constantly worried about somebody seeing you talk to yourself.
But from my experience the other things going on in my life and my mental state at the time is much more indicative of the state of my MD than whether I am living alone.
Obviously that is only my view, maybe the experience will be different for you. I hope you do well, really.
Another thing I could say is that living alone has forced me to face the issue more, because I was not pretending to be normal and around people all the time. And although it was very painful at first, being forced to confront my reality and having enough time alone to think about the issues properly has helped me to start on the road to recovery. I don't think that would have happened if I hadn't lived alone for a while.
Living alone also allows you to find yourself. To figure out who you are, what your interests really are, what you want from life and just plain speaking how to be independent. That, as you said, is often a central point to our MD-alter egos. That is where we hide our dreams and true characters. So what better opportunity to become the person you always wanted to be deep inside than to detach a little from your family and make those dreams come true?
Whatever your experience will be, I hope you can heal and cope! Be proud of yourself for buying a house! That is great!
And like I said in my post yesterday, if you are worried about losing control, keep a diary. It has helped me so much to journal my MD and my dreams and plans honestly by writing them down and reading the old entries on occasion. Maybe you could try that?
All the best, X Annie
I know I probably should not comment on this because I do not live on my own but I agree with Sally and Annie. I don't think living on your own will remedy the issue but it may bring upon a self-realization that will trigger a change.
I can't bear the thought of my mom and sister one day not existing because of their unconditional love and the fact they are my only true connection on this earth. However, as one therapist said and Sally pointed it out, moving out is important so you can learn to live with yourself.
I think it's important to seek professional help if you have access to start the healing process but also socializing and internal analysis is also important. Start thinking about what makes you happy, what's important to you, why you feel the way you do, when you have felt happy or sad and why. It's a process, don't try to find immediate answers, take it slow, and let it sink in (but not to the point where you get depressed - in these instance distraction including DDing will help). You may think you don't know what you want, but once you articulate it, you'll get more of a sense of it. And what you want can change, it doesn't need to stay the same. It's just whatever makes you calm/happy/positive.
DDing can help when it comes to figuring out what you want and envisioning the future. We just need to learn to limit it and transfer this passion and inquisitiveness we have in our DDs (of trying new plots/characters till we find something we like) to our real lives. It isn't easy but I know we can do it. The first step, whether it be talking to people, facing our fears, limiting DDing to figure out who we are will be hard but I know that if we put half the effort into the real world as we do to the imaginary world inside our head, we will succeed.
I mean think about the focus, creativity, hard work, time, and passion we have all devoted into creating worlds and characters that have the ability to seem real, change our moods, give us hope, and etc. We have created novels, movies, and shows in our head. That's dedication and hard work! I know that we can't always translate the characteristics/personality of our characters to our real lives but if we transfer the dedication and all we put into building them, man, the possibilities are endless.
Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. I'm hoping moving out will make me focus upon the real world and you are right when my parents are no longer with me I will need to be able to control my daydreaming no matter how much the thought of not having them terrifies me.
But I think having my independence will make me stronger and I will have to be more present when looking after a home and also myself.
Also I'm hoping with time alone I can focus back on my writing and use my imagination to share with others. I used to do this a lot as a teen and found it felt productive to write and share my work with others online.
I essentially went through uni with my imaginary band. I felt relieved to move out of home away from a very repressive father, but then I sometimes felt like I was completely crazy living with my imaginary band and our imaginary guests who would come over. Yep...I was crazy. As soon as I left my bedroom in my share house though, I'd be back in the real world again.
I guess my advice is to put up barriers. Have spaces/times where you DD and spaces where you don't. I live alone and I have rules around what times and spaces are appropriate. This might seem soft from people who say go cold turkey and remove it 100% from your life, but it is the only way I stay sane.
I think its incredibly important for you to distance yourself from the environment in which your DDing started. I started daydreaming as a child because my father has been emotionally/psychologically abusive towards me and my family throughout my entire life. As an adult woman, I've been saving up money in order to apply to grad school far away. Mind you, I have to do this secretly because they won't let me move out. I realize that I've lived with my parents for such an extended period of time because I'm scared of the world and I'm scared of being too incompetent to handle independence. I actually do believe that living alone will trigger me to daydream and I will continue to avoid life, so I'm looking forward to living with roommates. I don't want to burst your bubble, but I do think living alone will cause an increase in that behavior. At the same time however, moving out will give you a sense of autonomy that you didn't realize you had and it is so important to distance yourself from a toxic environment. Toxic environments do not facilitate mental healing.
I'm 22, I've been living alone for 4 years now. I'm a loner so I'd never have it any other way. I don't think I daydream more, but I do have to hide it less. Moving out removed quite a few barriers between me and my fantasy world, so I could imagine in some people this would increase their daydreaming if it was being limited by one of those barriers. For me, it's more that I'm less self-conscious when I do daydream because I don't have to worry about people barging in and seeing me acting funny. I'm a lot less stressed too; it's surprising just how much energy it took to hide.
But you know what living alone also does for me? I can do what I want when I want to and none of it has to pass through my parents first, so I do a lot more things nowadays than I used to, outside my house even. Sometimes I get so excited about exploring a new hiking trail or going to a concert that I forget about my daydreams and I am 100% in the moment for once. That's magic.
I agree with Annie. My daydreaming increases as I get more depressed, and lets up a bit as I feel better. The depression/anxiety factor definitely seems the most indicative of my daydreaming.
When I was younger, I was afraid I'd lose myself after moving out, because growing up my most desperate desire was to become my daydream self and I pined after the freedom of adulthood so badly for that reason. The good news is I don't think I did lose myself. I've done more finding of myself than I ever have actually. It's helped me figure out I don't want to be my daydream self actually, I want to just be an improved me. But my daydream self helps a lot with that, as the mental manifestation of my inner personality and desires, and living alone I get that freedom to figure things out that I didn't have the resources to figure out under my parents' roof.
Sorry for rambling, basically I'm acknowledging your concerns about moving out exacerbating your MDD but providing the positives I've discovered that make it totally worth it to me. I won't lie and say it's not a possibility that it will get worse, but there's a lot of good that can come of it too.
I'm... not at the point of wanting to get rid of my MDD. So I can't say I have any tips or techniques for your last question. Although I have one of my daydream characters tasked with pulling me out of what I call "memory spirals" (it's when I think too much about dumb shit that happened in the past and space out staring at the wall...) and that has worked actually. It helps to remind me about my goal of being slightly more present in the moment, lol, even when I'm daydreaming.
Thank you for you replies.
It's nice to hear how others have found living alone. I think the only one who can control my daydreaming is myself whether I live alone or with others.
At the moment I don't feel ready to give it up completely and find it too scary to go cold turkey.
I've been alone for most of this week only seeing my parents in the evenings and found I daydreamed mostly the first 2 days and then as if a switch went off in my head I suddenly pulled myself back to reality for a few days without any daydreaming. I think if I were alone I can hopefully learn to give myself time to daydream maybe an hour and then pull myself back to reality as I have been able to do while focusing on moving.
It is down to me to control this.