Wild Minds Network

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Non-MDD's: how can they stand a life with little imagination?

Quoting from the main page about non-MDD's: "Their playful fantasies become unnecessary as they develop more fulfilling relationships. Their fantasy dream world fades into the past as nothing but a wonderful childhood memory. Usually they forget it ever existed."

Isn't this very exaggerated? It sounds so horrible as if they've become a mindless Borg Drone or something, lost all signs of imagination. And once people become parents they will have to connect a bit with that fantasy world of their kids.

Also it makes it sound, unintendedly, as if MDD's are just children that never grew up. I would expect fantasy lives can become very different when growing up but are still there, also for non-MDD's.

This is no attack of Cordelia's description of the condition which I think is very informative and I understand on a main page, certain things have to be simplified somewhat to make a clear point.

I just hope that non-MDD's are not completely unimaginative, though with some I suspect it, poor sods, the horror, the horror...;-)


How can they stand a life with little imagination, if that is true?

And how do you view non-MDD's, completely in another world than you or all in all not really that different alltogether? 

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Well, to be fair, how can anyone know exactly what is in another person's mind?  Daydreaming is more of a spectrum I would imagine.  At one end are folks like us who can vanish into their own created worlds and at the other, I suppose, are people who cannot imagine at all.  But almost certainly there is a spectrum in between.

In those periods when I am not MDDing, my mind remains playful and I like to juggle scenarios and alternatives and I would guess that most non-MDDers do that as well.  Otherwise how could anyone ever plan anything?

I can answer that but probably in a long-winded and pedantic way that tends to be how I talk about this here because I'm confused by myself!!


But here is what I think.  I think maladaptive daydreaming is escapism.  People here talk about how creative it is, and it's certainly more creative than watching TV, but I don't think it's especially creative.  Creating something- a story, a screenplay, a movie, a novel- is really hard work.  There are a million ways in which it differs from this sort of fantasy that we indulge in.  I could talk at length about that, but I want to just talk about ONE way it differs because I think it is relevant to your question about non-MDD people.

I believe that daydreaming like we do is unchallenged.  If you really start to look at your own daydreams, you'll see that there is a lot of either wish-fullfillment (characters doing things you want to do or behaving in ways you wish you could behave) or else there is some emotional stuff happening between the characters that give you pleasant feelings (intimacy, risk, love, sacrifice, heroism).  Likewise, there is probably a lot of bad stuff and fear and drama and all the exhilaration that comes with that- you need bad things to happen to move the plot along to get certain outputs.  Also, I think there is some exploration of fetish and/or neurosis- all those things you can indulge in during fantasy play.

Alrighty two things...

First, your daydream can't be like real life.  It is just an escape- the extent to which it is an escape depends on what your life is like.  But in either case, it is an escapist fantasy.  I'll try to explain. When MDDers say they are dreaming their life away or that they feel closer to their dream characters than others, what I think is happening is that they are not gettnig those things in real life (sometimes, this doesn't apply to everyone).  To have those experiences in real life or to have those sorts of relationships and emotions and adventures, you really do have to work your ass off, take a lot of chances, face a lot of risk, and also have a huge amount of good luck and good health.  Plus, it's not going to work out nicely because real life is full of obstacles- people aren't going to listen to you the way your DC listen to one another because they are not artificially constructed simiplistic characters but rather real people with real lives.  Likewise, real life is full of tons of drudgery.  I don't know about you, but I rarely daydream about my characters sitting in traffic, dealing with bureaucracy, balancing their checking accounts, washing dishes, trying to make their kids go the fuck to sleep, etc.  This is the foundation of real life.  Your maladaptive daydream is really just an escape from that- it is a simplified world where nothing real can ever happen.  So you aren't going to get that fantasy in real life no matter what.  Relationships like that aren't real and they couldn't be real because real people are far more complex than your characters ever can be.  And real people expect a lot more of you.


Second, our daydreams are not really that creative.  You see, there is plenty of escapist fantasy marketed at you.  If you enjoy it (and I do!) then you should be able to recognize it.  Escapist fantasy includes the sort of books, movies and TV shows that allow you to get wrapped up in another world without ever really challenging you to think about what you are watching/reading.  You just enjoy it- it is pleasant, perhaps you even use it as a breaking off point for your own daydreams.  Well, those stories were produced by a person who worked hard to think of what sorts of stories would have broad appeal to others and then dedicated large chunks of their lives to creating it.  This is an entirely different process than just sitting in your room coming up with something that feels good to you and then keeping it to yourself.  If you pull your daydreams out into the air and look at them for real, you'll likely find that they are embarrassing and personal and simplistic.  I call my own daydreaming "mental masturbation".  It serves no purpose other than to make me feel good temporarily in the easiest and most selfish and least threatening way possible, and no one else is interested or pleased.  I could go about getting the results elsewhere or I could share my pleasure with others, but that's a lot more complicated, a lot more work, probably won't give me the same results, etc.  

Finally, while escapist fantasy is creative, it's not really what I'm interested in as a creative person. Consuming escapist fantasy feels a lot different than consuming more complex stories- movies or novels that actually challenge you, that have characters that are more realistic, that require you to focus on what you are reading/watching and learn something new and apply it to your world.  The story lines don't fit together too well and you don't get that pleasant sensation of wish fulfillment or emotional satisfaction.  Real creativity at a sort of artistic or meaningful level requires a lot of work and a lot of risk.  

Alrighty, so if you are still with me, I will tell you how this relates to people who have no MDD and why I don't think you need to feel so sorry for them.  

First off, I believe they have the same emotional needs that we do and the same problems with their lives that we have and that really they aren't that different from us.  Non-MDD people have wish fullfillment fantasies too, they are just more fleeting and less elaborate than ours.  They might daydream about how they are going to rescue a kid from a swimming pool or how they are going to win an award at work or how they are going to hook up with someone from the office or whatever.  But they don't carry on in elaborate storylines and create new worlds, etc.  I don't think you can say that they are unimaginative.


Second, I think they have the same need for escapist fantasy that we do.  They simply consume it where it is offered- television, movies, books, etc.  They get wrapped up in the lives of people on television and waste a ridiculous amount of time consuming these things.  Because it is normal, most don't see it as a waste.  Because we are doing something less common, we see it as a mental disorder.  If someone tells you they spent the weekend binge-watching TV, you wouldn't think they had a mental disorder. They are letting their imagination go in a different world than ours, that's all.

Third, they are not less creative than we are and we are not less creative than they are.  Creativity is a wholly separate thing from daydreaming.  I think that there are probably plenty of daydreamers who are also very creative, and there are plenty of non daydreamers who are very creative.  Daydreaming itself isn't all that creative.  I explained this in detail above.  There are other ways to be imaginative.  

Fourth- what is more interesting than creativity is productivity.  This can be in creative pursuits or in others- professional, personal, hobbies, whatever.  The bigger concern is, are we really wasting our lives?  Well, what would you be doing if you were not daydreaming?  If you would just be watching TV, then is it really a waste?  If you would instead be out drinking with friends, well is it worse to sit by yourself and daydream?  It depends on your goals.  Would you be turning your daydreams into a screen play?  I seriously doubt it, maybe one in a thousand of us.  Would you be living the adventures and the accomplishments of your main dream character?  I doubt that too as the character is only successful because he is not in the real world.  See?  As for imagination, there are loads of ways to express it.  I think the likelihood that someone will be imaginatively productive has very little to do with daydreaming.  

So there you go.  That's my answer after a year of really thinking a lot about this.

Agreed 100%. 10000%.

MD is not about imagination at all. It's what we do with that imagination. Being a non-MDer doesn't mean not having a vivid inner world, it just means being in tune with those worlds. Heck, I have two close family members with healthy rich inner life and both are way more imaginative and creative than me, lol.

I agree with Emma. I'm daydreaming significantly less than I did a couple years ago and I have filled my life with other things which I enjoy. Just because you don't have MDD doesn't mean your life is miserable.

Good points, it makes me think of the "fanfiction" phenomenon where the lead is usually a Mary Sue character, too good to be true, which makes those stories hard to stomach.

Ok so the question seems to have been wrong, confusing more imagination with more day dreaming as they are not always related, depending really on what it IS you day dream which can be unimaginative and juvenile/trivial/banal/whatever.

 I disagree that tons of drudgery is the foundation of life, it forms a lot of the fabric of modern life at best and I actually think dreamers, if adapted enough, can help with that problem. They could be former MDDs, but don't have to be of course.

I do see clearly the need for escapism for most non-MDDs and also that definitely not every MDD will find it's bliss in creativity (an often underrated, vast domain that doesn't have to mean writing, music or graphic arts, you can be a creative engineer, computer programmer or other type of problem solver for instance).

 I disagree that tons of drudgery is the foundation of life, it forms a lot of the fabric of modern life at best and I actually think dreamers, if adapted enough, can help with that problem. They could be former MDDs, but don't have to be of course.

I probably stated that in a harsh way.  I mean that there things one must do to maintain a decent life- you have to meet all sorts of basic needs, and you build your life on top of that foundation.  There are all sorts of ways a person or family can organize life to do this, but without some sort of stability of in meeting basic needs (shelter, cleanliness, food prep, physical health, bills payment, chores, laundry, child care, elder care), then most of your time will be occupied scrambling to try to meet these basic needs.  It takes a certain level of support, success and health to get all those things up and running, and really people who can't figure out a way to get these aspects of their lives under control (for whatever reason, including ill health or lack of resources/support) will spend most of their energy either trying to get these things done or else suffering the consequences of not being able to manage them.


My point was just that in fantasy (daydream or media), there are no obstacles like this unless you create them, so it seems easier to deal with them.  When my DC wants to go mountain climbing, he's not contending with how to pay the gas bill or how to arrange someone to make sure his aging mother takes her meds on time while he's away, and when he and his wife spend their evening together, they aren't scrambling to wash the dishes and trying to maintain patience while getting a grumpy toddler to sleep, knowing they have to wake up early to drop the car at the shop because it needs a new muffler, etc.  I didn't mean this as a negative thing, and so maybe "drudgery" was the wrong word.  I was just pointing out that the sorts of things that cause problems in real life are usually more mundane than in fantasy (most people get divorced from daily life stress, not because their spouse falls in love with a pirate, ha ha) and the solutions to those problems are usually less glamorous (steady, focused self-discipline does a lot more than general badassery!).

I don't know how daydreamers can help with this any more or less than any other group of people.  When I look for guidance to inform my own life choices, I find plenty of great advice and practices.  None of them have anything to do with daydreaming.  What is it you think daydreamers can help with and how do you think they can help?

I do see clearly the need for escapism for most non-MDDs and also that definitely not every MDD will find it's bliss in creativity (an often underrated, vast domain that doesn't have to mean writing, music or graphic arts, you can be a creative engineer, computer programmer or other type of problem solver for instance).

Just to be clear, I didn't mean to imply that all creative endeavors are in the arts.  When I think of creativity, my own definition is that you can apply perfected knowledge and skills to a problem / endeavor in any sort of situation in which you have some freedom to experiment and trouble-shoot and (usually) collaborate.  I just repeatedly used story-telling forms as an example because it's the only creative field that I can think of that would have any relevance whatsoever to MDD, and even in that field, I think it is probably more of a hindrance than an aide since the daydreamer is in the habit of creating stories and characters that serve his/her own emotional needs or fantasy preferences without any need to think of story telling skills or how to present the story to others in a way that gets a certain effect. I can't see how it could relate to any other creative pursuit whatsoever.  Can you?

 

I don't know how daydreamers can help with this any more or less than any other group of people.  When I look for guidance to inform my own life choices, I find plenty of great advice and practices.  None of them have anything to do with daydreaming.  What is it you think daydreamers can help with and how do you think they can help?

I find myself in a bit of a definition problem, but it suffices to say that I make a broad interpretation of Day Dreaming.

Great music, writing or other art can also, slightly,  improve quality of life, but I was thinking of inventions that would increase quality of life and decrease drudgery with much more impact.While many non-MDD's take things more for granted and accept the world as it is, Day Dreamers can contemplate much more on how things could be different, better, more efficient and could be important innovators, learning the right skill and focus. It's a proven fact that technology has greatly improved wealth, so can inventing new ways of doing things. Day Dreaming can be more abstract than having our your own Romance/Adventure Fantasy, Einstein was a famous day dreamer.

 I just repeatedly used story-telling forms as an example because it's the only creative field that I can think of that would have any relevance whatsoever to MDD, and even in that field, I think it is probably more of a hindrance than an aide since the daydreamer is in the habit of creating stories and characters that serve his/her own emotional needs or fantasy preferences without any need to think of story telling skills or how to present the story to others in a way that gets a certain effect. I can't see how it could relate to any other creative pursuit whatsoever.  Can you?

I most certainly can. Day dreaming for me personally can also mean day dreaming music that I'm making up as I go. It can mean thinking about how a certain theme would translate into a card game. It can also mean having imaginary conversations that I definitely could have in the near future, preparing myself mentally. These may not match with how you perceive day dreaming. In a rigid sense any type of dreaming could be mostly seen as if you're looking at a movie in which you're the main character that's constantly seen in first person. But my dreams can be much weirder (or much more mundane) than any movie or more abstract. And being quite a thinking person, Day Dreaming seems to be merely a component of all that happens in my brain, imagining how things could be, finding answers to many "what if" questions, running many possible scenario's rather than stories to be told, possibly hand in hand with logical thought.

All in all not all day dreaming would merely serve one's own pleasure, in a form of mental masturbation. Particularly in times of crisis, innovation is of the essence. I hope that many day dreamers will find out how their weakness also is a strength. It's taken me quite some time to solve my own puzzle but the key was found in combining many different creative things (by creating tablet games) as an independent.

Look, obviously "daydream" can mean a lot of things.  But I think you are under the false impression that this is a community of people talking about any old sort of daydream.  We are talking about maladaptive daydreaming, which is a specific thing that does not sound at all like what you describe yourself as doing.  I mean, perhaps you have maladaptive daydreaming TOO as well as normal daydreaming?  But the more I read what you are describing, I think you might be in the wrong place.  Did you read the description of MDD at the front of the website?  Or any of the member descriptions?

There is a HUGE difference between long contemplation of a situation or problem and maladaptive daydreaming which is an elaborate story in your head.  I'm surprised you would mix the two up.  We are not talking about normal daydreaming here nor are we talking about someone thinking about efficient ways to problem-solve, etc.  I know there is a colloquial use of the word "daydream" but obviously on this website, that is not what we are talking about.  We are very definitely talking about fantasy- a personal adventure/romance fantasy.  The components/content of the story change with individuals, but absolutely we are talking about people spending hours and hours at a time engaged in an elaborate fantasy with plots and characters- that is what maladaptive daydreaming is.  You return to the same world and same story at different points- with the same characters and play it out as if it were a movie.  I don't mean to suggest that every person's daydream world is fantastical- my own is very definitely rooted in real world physical laws- but plenty of others' include magic, etc.  But all of us have characters with lives and  relationships and plots - some daydream about made up people, others about real people in made up situations- but in all cases, we are returning to on-going plots in worlds in our heads that are inhabited by characters that we imagine very carefully and get to know very well. It is a fantasy- a story that is not real but that is detailed and includes imagined characters and events.  If you are thinking of innovations or inventions or many different things or your daydreams are not related to one another intricately like this with an on-going continuation of people and events in a story, then you are not experiencing maladaptive daydreaming.


My hunch is that you must not do this yourself or else you'd know there is a huge difference between that and someone who just spends a lot of time lost in his/her own thoughts thinking about things.  I'm sure someone could daydream about an inventor and include those inventions in their daydreams, but it seems a rather roundabout and uncommon and inefficient way to get to a conclusion like that.  Also, many people in this forum have described their daydreams, and granted that I have not read ALL of them, but every single one of them that I have read has been some sort of drama/romance/adventure/scifi fantasy story.  


Floris said:

I don't know how daydreamers can help with this any more or less than any other group of people.  When I look for guidance to inform my own life choices, I find plenty of great advice and practices.  None of them have anything to do with daydreaming.  What is it you think daydreamers can help with and how do you think they can help?

I find myself in a bit of a definition problem, but it suffices to say that I make a broad interpretation of Day Dreaming.

Great music, writing or other art can also, slightly,  improve quality of life, but I was thinking of inventions that would increase quality of life and decrease drudgery with much more impact.While many non-MDD's take things more for granted and accept the world as it is, Day Dreamers can contemplate much more on how things could be different, better, more efficient and could be important innovators, learning the right skill and focus. It's a proven fact that technology has greatly improved wealth, so can inventing new ways of doing things. Day Dreaming can be more abstract than having our your own Romance/Adventure Fantasy, Einstein was a famous day dreamer.

 I just repeatedly used story-telling forms as an example because it's the only creative field that I can think of that would have any relevance whatsoever to MDD, and even in that field, I think it is probably more of a hindrance than an aide since the daydreamer is in the habit of creating stories and characters that serve his/her own emotional needs or fantasy preferences without any need to think of story telling skills or how to present the story to others in a way that gets a certain effect. I can't see how it could relate to any other creative pursuit whatsoever.  Can you?

I most certainly can. Day dreaming for me personally can also mean day dreaming music that I'm making up as I go. It can mean thinking about how a certain theme would translate into a card game. It can also mean having imaginary conversations that I definitely could have in the near future, preparing myself mentally. These may not match with how you perceive day dreaming. In a rigid sense any type of dreaming could be mostly seen as if you're looking at a movie in which you're the main character that's constantly seen in first person. But my dreams can be much weirder (or much more mundane) than any movie or more abstract. And being quite a thinking person, Day Dreaming seems to be merely a component of all that happens in my brain, imagining how things could be, finding answers to many "what if" questions, running many possible scenario's rather than stories to be told, possibly hand in hand with logical thought.

All in all not all day dreaming would merely serve one's own pleasure, in a form of mental masturbation. Particularly in times of crisis, innovation is of the essence. I hope that many day dreamers will find out how their weakness also is a strength. It's taken me quite some time to solve my own puzzle but the key was found in combining many different creative things (by creating tablet games) as an independent.

I'm so surprised by your response that I looked through some of your other comments to see if you are new here, and I see that you are not.  So I assume you know what MDD is and that I've just managed to get our conversation muddled.  

Sometimes I daydream about my own work or projects- that is very different than when I'm doing my MDD thing.  Of course we all need to take time to step back and contemplate, imagine, turn things over in our minds.  Sometimes this involves daydreaming.  I think this is already totally common and recognized behavior.  

If you do experience MDD in the way that most people here appear to, I wonder if you would elaborate on what you mean.  Are you saying that you have a dream world and incorporate your real world innovations and thinking into it?  Or are you saying that sometimes your dream world is what you dd about, and other times you just dd like most people do (which is what I do btw)?  If you are blurring the two, then this is very interesting, and I'd like some more info about it.  If you never daydreamed about a particular world/plot with particular characters etc, then what makes you feel that you are a maladaptive daydreamer in the first place?

 

I agree with Emma's comments above.  I also believe that what you describe is not Maladaptive Daydreaming but rather daydreaming of the everyday sort used to develop creative projects of various kinds. MDD is exactly as she describes, it does not link back to the external world, it is wholly inner.

I consider myself a "light" case, not so maladaptive, when given the right type of work and the right expectations on working tempo, when left alone enough, I can function. I got interested in MDD however since I recognized so many traits, I could check all the boxes. This is a problem for me with many "disorders" such as ADD or traits like HSP (not a disorder), because I recognize literally EVERYTHING in the description, then think I have it but later when talking with others that have the condition, discover I am not like them entirely. Often there is a difference in the degree in which I have the condition and this is no rocket science, hard to find out, arbitrary to differentiate the haves from the have-nots.

Looking at the site description "are you MDD" I can check all of the boxes:

-I daydream more often than I think is normal. I find it extremely hard to quantify since it's just many short moments.
-I’ve built up a character(s) that’s an idealized version of myself
-I feel more empowered in my daydreams.
-I can enjoy daydreaming better than the real world.
-Not too often, but daydreaming has interfered with day-to-day activities, I've had concentration problems, taking way too much time for assignments.
-I sometimes enact some movement, like pacing
-I make facial expressions, talk, and/or act out daydreams sometimes.

The problem is the site does not state how many hours per day should be spent on DD's...also I did not know that only if you fantasize stories all the time you are an MDD. I hardly make up stories, but fantasize many, many short scenes, stories seem to require a much longer attention span and my attention can quickly move on to something else, an ADD trait. The story structure does not seem to fit my needs as it requires a much more prolonged focus. Imagining music fits me more since it's a lot shorter.

The site itself admits there is very little known about MDD. Now that there is a community apparantly there is a significant difference between me and. Possibly it goes beyond the degree of being a lighter/heavier "case". I am an INTP according to Myers-Briggs, seem to fall into the middle and to be a light case of SPD, HSP, MDD and ADD. But don't feel normal, or rather find it hard to understand the average person and what makes them tick, they seem to be bat shit insane at times and at other times mindless drones but know exactly when and how to switch between the two to be accepted at all times.

You will have to forgive me for simply wanting to understand more about myself and share hopefully helpful insights I learned on my journey, even if I'm not the 100% fitting club member, text book MDD. I don't feel like an intruder however. I know that some need to quit MDD cold turkey, that it's pure escapism, but I would rather see people try to use their weakness as strength rather than banish it entirely. I can't see how moving from one extreme to the other can work out on the long term. If there's any key to happiness it seems to be finding the right balance.

You emphasize storytelling that would be boring for others but is internally satisfying. Let's stay with writing. Isn't all story writing a way to fulfill personal needs? It's almost always internally driven. Professional writers of fiction are not just preoccupied pleasing the masses with what "scores". Sure, their works can be polished and made more accessible with the help of feedback. But many times you will recognize so many signs that a writer is preoccupied with her/his inner life and not necessarily in bad novels. And, even when maladaptive, isn't day dreaming, if you do it a whole lot, something you become more adept in, in the sense that these stories you invent would also get less cheesy? Just wondering.

It's just that, what I seem to be reading a lot here, is that there is this idea to quit cold turkey with day dreaming to become "normal" and I find the concept horrid as it seems rather extreme. This is why I placed the discussion.

There is nothing to apologize for.  I've found this conversation very interesting because it's made me express ideas that have been bouncing about in my own mind about this behavior since I'm currently in a difficult place with it and I confuse myself.  I hope you've gotten something out of it as well.

I'm curious about your daydreaming.  I know it's super personal to talk about, so if you don't want to share, then dont.  But I'll ask some questions and you can respond as you feel comfortable.  When you say you daydream about an idealized version of yourself, is this within the context of a story involving other characters and/or real people?  An ongoing story?  Or is it just about one event?

Here's what I mean.  In my own MD daydreams, I do not exist.  I'm daydreaming entirely about other people- like watching a movie.  They are not real people, they are made up.  But of course, there is one that I identify with more than the others, and when I get to thinking abotu it, he has traits that I wish I had.  He cares about things I do.  So probably that is my Mary Sue as you say.  But I'm not in it.


On the other hand, when things are going well in my life (ebbs and flows lately) then I do daydream more about myself- but it is situational.  It's embarrassing, but we all do it so I'll admit it.  I daydream about how when my current project is completed, it will impress my colleagues.  I daydream ways that certain friends can stumble upon knowledge of my success and be impressed.  Suddenly the people that are sort of snubbing me and who have noticed that I'm mentally in decline lately, suddenly they will see that all along I've been hard at work and am successful.  This is once scenario that I daydream about.  Also sexual fantasies about a neighbor (yikes!) and of course I've been a hero in daydreams before too- feats of courage that I would not be able to achieve in real life.  

Likewise, I've daydreamed about things that are causing me trouble.  In my current work, there are some obstacles that I can't quite figure out how to overcome.  I have imaginary conversations about these problems in which I explain something to someone and they argue and I learn better what I mean to be doing.  Sometimes I just sit and think really hard about it- the various routes I could take to proceed, what sorts of outcomes or obstacles I might anticipate.

I don't know how much time the average person spends in daydreams like these, but I do know that they are normal and not a problem.  Maybe I spend mroe time in these daydreams than most people.  

Is this the sort of daydreaming you describe?

Maladaptive daydreaming, though, is on-going.  It involves plots and developments.  Let me just give you an example, even though I find it is really boring to read about other people's MDD characters and plots and so I'm sure mine is going to be boring to you.  I'm just going to offer the example to differentiate.  My current plot is this: my main MDD's sister (who I had previously killed off years ago) turns out she's not dead.  They just thought she was.  She's popped up in a cult in another country- they have been controlling her ability to communicate with her family, but she has only just now made contact.


Now also I totally know how stupid that is.  But let's not get bogged down in that- I'm using this as an example to illustrate something bigger.

The scene I'm imaging when I MDD is the brother (my main character) and his best friend (who happens to be the sis's ex) receiving the phone call from the cult sis.  Alright- let me tell you how detailed this is.  I know the layout of my main character's house, his back porch, his garden, to the nw of which is his studio which also has a patio and a sliding glass door- this is where he retreats to take the call.  I know what the curtains look like, and I see the best friend entering- it's a recording studio.  I know where the equipment is and what chairs each of them sit in and how they hold the phone to listen to the call and what facial expressions they make.  


I know all of this because I have been daydreaming about these same people for over a decade.  I can tell you all about when those houses got built, how they timberframed the studio, about the generations of his family.  This is where I'm at in the story right now, but it started with the main character as a young child.  I can tell you about his grandparents, his two uncles, their wives, his cousins, his father, how his father met his mother, a bit about the mom's family, about his elder brother who went to medical school and met his wife there- she is also a doctor and her dad is the elder brother's mentor and they live in the neighborhood that my character currently lives in- it's why they moved there when my main character's parents died.  I can tell you in extreme detail- down to birthmarks and dates and goals and temper tantrums- all about how my main character met his best friend when they were children, how he came to be a part of this family, how they were educated, what hobbies they had, how this best friend fell in lvoe with my main character's sister, how they entered into a relationship, what the family thought about it, how her death affected everyone- who HER best friends are and a bit about their families.  I can tell you about my main character's career, his coworkers, his partner, HIS family and child, how they met, how they have a flat in Paris together, how the two families go to a lake house on vacations and what they barbeque.  And I can tell you about my main character's wife who is a human rights lawyer and what her work is like and how her dad disapproves and how her mother is supportive and how her brother is a jerk.  They all have children- I'm currently into the fourth generation of this family.  

At each stage in the development of this narrative, I have spent long periods of time imagining these people and creating their worlds.  This time last year, I was focused on the childhood of the main character's best friend. Two years ago, I was focused on his romance with his wife.  Five years ago, my main area of interest was his work partner. Right now, I've brought back the sister. That's what I'm obsessing over right now.

This is maladaptive daydreaming.  It's not about the time spent in it- sometimes I spend hours.  Other times, when I'm feeling better or I'm busy with more important things or I'm actually happy and engaged in real life- I'll just dip into the world for twenty minutes or so an add some new little feature or refine something that already happened.  

Do you see the difference?

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