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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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.

I have written professionally, though mostly in narrative nonfiction and technical work.  I find that my daydreaming creation and process have nothing whatsoever to do with real writing.  I'm not really qualified to talk about writing fiction, but I read a lot of it and am a much better reader than I am writer.  ;)  Mostly I think my daydreams sound like fan fiction sort of drivel.  I would not read a book about my daydreams.  But some people do, so I do think it's the sort of thing that could be turned into something like 50 Shades or some junk like that.  Loads of people like that, and I'm all for anyone turning their daydreaming mind to creating a book like that!  But it's worth pointing out: being able to imagine something in your mind that is emotionally satisfying is a totally different thing (requiring totally different skills) from being able to create a story that makes someone else imagine that in THEIR minds. You can't just upload your daydreams.  You have to write them out, and that requires a skill set that most of us don't have.  Otherwise your telling just sounds like "and then, and then, and then..."  No one cares.  The descriptions of people's daydreams are mostly boring, just like mine are too.

Professional writers of fiction absolutely are concerned with writing something that sells.  They are also concerned with other motivations- their own personal satisfaction, artistic integrity, intellectual pursuits, etc.  This is all done to varying degrees, and it's such a wide field that I don't see how we can say anything that all writers do.  However, I think it is clear that what they DON'T do is simply write down daydreams that are emotionally satisfying to them without any concern to how they are received by their readers.  I mean, actually probably plenty of people do.  Self-publish or put it on a fan-fiction site, and I have no problem with people doing this BTW.  But that's not something that is going to make you a good and/or successful writer, which was my point.  I don't think the MDD helps with or hinders this sort of creativity any more than alcoholism or compulsive shopping does.

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.

I'm even less qualified to talk about quitting.  Unfortunately.  

I feel (very vaguely) that I tend to be better at all or nothing approaches to things.  Maybe that is the obsessive part of my personality.  If I ever do quit (and I hope I do) it will have to be cold turkey.  My life tends to have extremes- periods of extreme productivity and success, periods of extreme stress and MDD coping. This took me by surprise when it started happening because I was much more balanced when I was younger.

Emma,

yes there is definitely a difference. While, like you, I do DD about a Mary Sue (I could never be as beautiful/athletic/famous etc) and have other fantasies about my real self (succes, sex and such), I haven't built an entire fictional family or other type of world. Not yet at least, I do have a character driven novel in my head that combines several ideas I have about the world and characters I had invented (in a much more lazy way than you did). And I made up 2 very talented Mary Sue type twins, 1 brother 1 sister for my own enjoyment and their life adapt to whatever I like to fantasize about, so they've had many professions. These are "useless for stories" however, the other characters (for the once to be written novel) are completely separated from the Mary Sues and much more flawed, all having a deficiency, like personality disorders and such.


You may see your own stories as trivial, banal, boring and stupid but I am not convinced at all that they are. And almost all fictional works are somehow derivative this is normal, true originality is a myth. From what I read you are hypercreative in weaving many stories together so don't let anybody make you think you're not creative (and don't bother convincing others that you are until you have converted your imaginings into a creation). Building an immensely detailed world like that is what some famous writers do to the same extent, they chronicle entire family histories (Chinese and Swedish writers are famous for it, but plenty of world building is done by famous writers, Tolkien had his Middle Earth, George Lucas had his Star Wars, Stephen King describes entire town communities). They know many more details than what they tell the reader. I sense a lot of shame and apology for having a "boring, stupid" story, which is probably 10 times more interesting than the garbage that is typically produced by book publishers and Hollywood. Conflict is essential to good story telling and this may lack in MDD fantasies when it gets too Mary Sue, too good to be true. But you can work on that, all writing needs rewriting, polishing, leaving out redundancies and less interesting parts.


Since you have so much story in your head, maybe you could try to find a short story in that whole, very rich world you've built and write it. And when you've done a couple, join a creative writing course or try to get feedback online. But you do have a day job and writing might consume time and energy you don't have. Starting very small, not being critical towards your own humble beginnings would be the best approach then.


For me, getting fired was a blessing in disguise to figure out how I could use my strong points (creativity) more, but I had the luxury of receiving a good severance package and getting much better social security than US citizens can get.

Well I appreciate the encouragement, but I have zero interest in creative writing.  I'm nearly 40 and already have an established career (on my second already) and family, and I have no desire at all to write my daydreams down or to learn to write stories. I'm happy with my own pursuits, which I've already had quite a bit of success as well as some failure, and what frustrates me is the amount of time I spend daydreaming instead.  As I said, when I have written professionally, it has been technical/research writing with a little dabbling in narrative non fiction for education and tourism when I was in my 20s. I was just pointing out that the skills it takes to write well are not related to the practice of daydreaming.  That's like saying someone can do skillful computer animation just because they can imagine a story in their heads.  The craftsmanship, practice and interpretation to others involve a set of skills that have little to do with daydreaming.  Someone could learn those things of course, but I personally have no interest in doing that. The point I keep trying to make (not clearly?  or you disagree?  not sure) is that there is no correlation between people who have MDD and people who can tell great stories (either in novels or screenplays or TV or whatever).  Thinking about things is not the same as being able to create a world others can see. That does not mean the one excludes the other- just that they are irrelevant to each other and when they coexist in someone it is a coincidence.  Just like alcoholism and compulsive gambling or anything.  And I don't see what relevance MDD could possibly have to any other real life pursuits or professions beyond story telling.

Yes I have a lot of shame around MDD, but not because of the content of my plots.  Joining this community helped with that.  Terrible things happen to my dream characters, and I used to be ashamed of that- wondering what was wrong with me that I'd imagine such horrible things when in real life I'm troubled by suffering of any kind- but I've since found out that most of us imagine very dramatic and sometimes horrible things like that.  It has made me feel a lot better about my daydreams.  What I feel ashamed of now is the amount of time I've spent in them lately.  It's an embarrassing and harmful habit to have let get this out of control.  I was apologizing for offering you a detailed and boring response, not for the content of the daydream again.  I've read many people's daydreams here and have offered some of my own, and I've found that they are all pretty boring in the telling. I'm sure they are not boring when people experience them as private daydreams. 

If you are happy with your current level of MDD, then by all means continue it.  Cordelia has talked about how she has found an appropriate balance that works for her life.  I'd offer some people's stories here as a cautionary tale though, and if you are able to let it go altogether, that might be a smart thing to do. As for myself, it wasn't really a problem until a few bad things happened in my life.  It's better to not have those habits in place, IMO, because they can spin out of control under more difficult circumstances.  At least that's my case, everyone seems a little different, and I'm sure you know what works well for you.

I think the difference is you have a much more focused mind and have this ongoing story. My mind is much more chaotic, less aimed on storytelling and ideas can pop up all over the place, about many things, useless or sometimes useful, when I'm not focused on the here and now. Thinking is very dominant so I'm definitely not day dreaming all the time but I'm in my head a lot and since I was a child I did have the typical MDD Mary Sue fantasies.

Also you emphasize the Maladaptive part, the coping mechanism. When used as such it has no other use, agreed.

But a very skilled writer is only capable of writing very boring fiction if he doesn't at least do a bit of day dreaming.

In end it just depends on the application of your imagination, which I believe you do use when MDD-ing. It has other applications, but you needed it most for the coping.

Not saying you should or could be a writer, sounds like you've found a job you like enough. It's just that I believe MDD's use something in their brain, imagination, for coping while it has other potentials. And of course, those involve a lot of craftmanship which  indeed is a separate thing.


It has been fun to talk about this with you.  Thanks for letting me think about all these ideas.  


What we are describing here is not my focused imagination but rather typical MDD.  If you browse the discussions here on this forum, you will see that the people on here who describe their daydreams have the same sort of very elaborate and developed stories in their heads.  This is what MDD is.  What you are talking about yourself doing is not MDD, in my opinion.  It sounds like you might spend a lot more time in daydreams and scattered thoughts so maybe there is something else going on, but you are not doing what all of us do.  

As for the coping, yes I sometimes use it that way.  But, like others on this forum, I have been having very elaborate daydreams with stories like this since I was in kindergarten- back long before I had anything to "cope" with.  I've done it my entire life.


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