Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I know that a lot of people who have maladaptive daydreaming would love to rid the 'problem' of their minds. They don't like it. To them it's something that gets in the way of them living healthy, productive lives.
And I don't get that! I really don't. I love my 'disorder.' I don't even consider my excessive daydreaming a disorder. I like to think of it more as a gift, or maybe even just a plain old habit; almost just like not being able to stop biting your fingernails. To me, it's fun. It gives me something to do when I'm bored, somewhere to escape when I'm feeling upset.
Also, I would really have no problem telling my parents about my daydreaming. I know most of you are nervous to explain this all to your parents, or a friend. The only reason I haven't told my parents about it is because I don't really feel the need to if that makes sense...I'm pretty sure my dad would find it really interesting, though. He's into psychology and how the human brain works and everything.
But anyways...I would love to hear your thoughts about it...Do you like your daydreaming habit? Would you be glad to see your habit disappear...?
My issue is that I did it so much when I was younger to escape my "peers" that now I can't really control it, if I'm bored I can't focus I'll tell myself to pay attention but five minutes later I'm imagining one chacter beating up another character and wondering where the last ten minutes of my life went.
I know what you mean by it being a gift though, it's an amazing tool when writing a story and it took ten years of constant daydreaming for me to actually be able to concentrate and control exactly what I'm daydreaming, I can build characters and setting in my head to minute details, watch them and kind of 'hear' them like a television show or something. Before it was like normal dreaming, I didn't remember much of it but now it's like an interactive movie.
As for my parents well I'm one of the people who likes listening to music and 'pacing' while daydreaming so it became very obvious to them and they accused me of being 'selfish' because my constant stomping was making too much noise and disrupting everyone while I considered it selfish of them that they didn't let me do one of the few things I found joy in. In the end my Dad cleared a space in the basement, put in a carpet and a sound system so now I have my own little 'pacing' area where I don't disrupt anyone. I still have issues in boring classes but I've been able to focus a lot better because whenever I'm home I have that little space where I can get rid of my need for daydreaming. I think I'm addicted, whenever I don't get to pace I get really grumpy and tend to fidget and have weird urges to get up and just run around, I think it's a kind of withdrawal.
It's complicated. Sure, I LOVE daydreaming, and I don't want to get rid of it. In a sense, it has become my favorite hobby. I love my imaginary characters to death; they feel like Hollywood stars in my head. However, I can't stop daydreaming, hence where 'maladaptive' strikes in the condition. Like a disorder of addiction. I can hardly socialize, study, and get out because I feel this irresistible urge to daydream, and then I go on and do it, missing out on life. It becomes troubling when you live more in a fantasy world than the real one. Like Cordellia said, I'd like to try and balance both worlds.
I'd also like to mention that some people daydream very depressing things and unwanted memories from their past. So I can understand if they want to get rid of it. Its not fun 'n games for everyone. xD
I do consider my MD a disorder because it interferes extensively with my real life. It's stopped me achieving things I could have done, should have done years ago. It has wasted vast sections of my life. I am 30 now and I don't know where the last 10 years have gone. Actually I do, I've spent them shut behild my bedroom door, pacing, listening to music, miming conversations with invisible friends.
On the other hand it has certainly helped me get through very lonely times in my life when I had basically no friends. Also in my day dreams I've been able to work out my true personality. In real life I was aloof and unfriendly - I still am sometimes if I'm having an off day. If I was truely content being quiet, surely I would have fantasized about being quiet albeit in different circumstances in my daydreams, but I didn't ... in my day dreams I'm outgoing, smiling and chatty and I have gradually become more like that in real life. An acquaintance recently said to me she can't believe the difference in personality in me now to 5 years ago.
So I think I view maladaptive daydreaming a burden, but just plain, normal daydreaming would be bliss.
I have, for a long time, considered myself an extrovert. But when I actually think about it, I wasn't early on. It was sometime in my 20's that I started being more outgoing. And I think it was because of my DD'ing. I got so used to being that way in my DD's that it just carried over to "real" life. I had never thought about it that way before, but I'm pretty sure that's what happened. Interesting.
i used to love my disorder so much. I even had to fight others so that I can keep doing it. My older sister, my roommate, my brother and my mother. They would tell me to stop and i wouldn't. They would tell me that it concerns them and I would ask myself 'what does it matter to them I'? They would give me suggestions as to what else I could/should be doing instead and I would say to myself why do they want to control me so much?
The parts of my life that I regret the most is trying to change my bad habit of MD and having the withdrawal from it being worse than just giving in. I believe this is what makes it hard to perceive how it hurts myself and others. The withdrawal from MD means you try to find things to replace it but nothing will feel the same. The only thing closest to it is sleeping. However literally sleeping through life is as close to just giving up on life as suicide is.
Currently I'm 29 and I have missed so many opportunities that it's too overwhelming to daydream anymore. But I can't help but daydream about it. Which makes for a destructive cycle that causes worrying about my past and the people i've met before to seep into my beautiful world that I created for myself. Now I feel vulnerable even when I daydream. Also now violated and guilty. I no longer have control over my own world. I had no idea when I was 25/26 years old that my way of escaping and understanding others was going to become a source of pain and uncertainty. I want nothing more than to go back to wanting to daydream like I used to in the past without a care in the world of others knowing, but I either have to stop all of it or I have to find a way to be confident of doing it again, this time with an ability to focus it in a way to show others that I'm worthy of it. As of now everytime I daydream I think that people I once have met or knew can read my mind and they hate me for it.
Well. for starters, no one can read your mind. Period. They may guess what you are doing, but they can't fill in any details. And secondly, you are not a bad person for doing it. It is, in many instances, a maladaptation, but there are so many worse things. Can you give yourself permission to DD so much a day? An hour in morning and hour in evening, or whatever? I know it is hard when you are anxious or unsettled to settle into a really good DD. This has been a great motivator for me over the years to get things done so that I don't worry about them. And then I can enjoy my DD's. It is very much trial & error. I have also become very adept at DD'ing while I do almost everything else. That way I seem to accomplish quite a bit & don't feel I have missed out on things. To me, this is all-important. Real life "feeds" my DD's constantly & my DD's spruce up my real life. Well, now I am off to Barbados to meet (again for millionth time) and fall in love with my "crush." I have the greatest new turquoise silk dress for evening. During the day, I'll be working with Doctors Without Borders. See ya'.
It depends of the grade of your DD. Its like all. You can have small economic problems, or small problems with drugs or alcohol, (and even enjoy it) or have really “Great Problems”.
If you DD a bit, and you enjoy it, Wonderful. Well for you.
But if you DD compulsively, and due to that, you don't have a job, you don't have social skills, you have few friends, you're single… then provably, you will don't “love your disorder”, as you say you do.
Imagine I went to an "Alcoholics Anonymous" forum and I wrote a post called "Alcohol: Burden or Bliss?" explaining how much I enjoy alcohol, how i don't have any problem with it, how I talk to my fathers about alcohol... someone could find the post "offensive".
This is actually kind of offensive to me. I DD compulsively. My MDD is a trap. It intrudes into my life. I started it as a fun thing to do, but I never imagined it would become the nightmare that it is today. I lost all of my friends to MDD because I was never too involved in their lives. My grades dropped because I could never focus. I almost got killed in gymnastics because I was DDing while doing gymnastics. My family thinks I am nuts because I never focus. MDD has made me waste away the last five years of my life. I have been struggling it and fighting it. It is not a simple escape for me, it is quite the opposite. It is a cage, a nightmare that never ends. I can't control when I DD and when I don't. Often, my DDs are dark, or sorrowful. When they are happy and joyful, I enjoy them but when I "wake up" as I like to call it, I am even more depressed because I realize that I will never have those things. My life will never be as fufulling as that.
If I could instantly make my MDD go away, I certainly would. I am so tired of the constant fighting it, the constant fear that I will slip into a DD and never come out. MDD makes me empty and hollow inside. It makes me numb, the only time I feel actual emotions is in a DD. My MDD is a nightmare, a cage. Now do you see why your statement was kind of offensive to me?