Wild Minds Network

Where wild minds come to rest

Hi everyone!

I'm writing here today because Maladaptive Daydreaming has been a major problem in my life: it has caused my motivation levels to drop, my priorities to get skewed, and my neglect for the things that really matter in my life to worsen. In short, I feel like MD is snatching me of my full potential. However, I also strongly believe that there is a way to overcome Maladaptive Daydreaming. Whether it be mindfulness meditation, journaling, spending more time with loved ones, exercise, or engaging in a hobby, I believe that there are many habits that can greatly curb the desire to daydream.

I know we were all meant for so much more than to spend our precious lives daydreaming and escaping from the moment. I feel that it's essential that we learn to overcome MD in order to be able to live the lives we were meant to live. If anyone has any tips, tricks, or advice for how to deal with MD or what helps them live more fulfilling lives in general, I would absolutely love to hear. Meanwhile, I will be posting whatever I find here as well.

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Hey Ulaan! From my experience, I have found that talking or going out with friends when I'm about to immerse myself in my daydreams really helps. Also, writing my daydreams down in the form of stories seems to do the trick. I don't know, they feel more completed that way and that makes it easier for me to focus my energy and thoughts on different things. However, I still haven't found something to help me overcome MDD in the long term, but I'm still trying. Hope it helps! :) 

I think you need to control it, not stop it. It's like a rebellion against society and the conditioned life we live. What are you daydreaming of?

Hey Helen! I think that's really good advice. Personally, a major problem at this point is that I largely lack the awareness of when my daydreams are about to strike. I feel like a great place to start would be to start taking note of what triggers my MDs, and once I get a general idea of my triggers, I will be able to effectively guide myself out of a daydreaming spiral. I've also noticed that writing about the fact that I get daydreams helps, but I have yet to try actually writing the content of my daydreams. Maybe doing so might help point out a problem that I must fix in real life. Thank you for the advice, I really think it has given me a nice starting point!

Helen S said:

Hey Ulaan! From my experience, I have found that talking or going out with friends when I'm about to immerse myself in my daydreams really helps. Also, writing my daydreams down in the form of stories seems to do the trick. I don't know, they feel more completed that way and that makes it easier for me to focus my energy and thoughts on different things. However, I still haven't found something to help me overcome MDD in the long term, but I'm still trying. Hope it helps! :) 

I see what you're saying, as often times I've noticed that the more I try resisting my daydreams, the stronger they get. I will definitely need to change my approach to dealing with daydreams. The vast majority of my daydreams involve friends and acquaintances in real life. In my daydreams, I often posses qualities that I either wish I had in real life or those that would make me seem cooler in the eyes of other people. Other times, I'm daydreaming about past situations, except with certain twists. For example, if a situation hadn't gone the way I had intended it to go, especially if I had made a mistake, I would daydream about an altered past in which the problems of that situation were replaced by a more ideal past, if that makes sense. Also, I really strange occurrence I've noticed about almost all my daydreams is that they involve an "audience". In my daydreams, I'm often doing something great, and there are somehow people on the side (almost always real people from my life) who are watching me achieve those accomplishments. This "audience" concept has been present in a large chunk of all my daydreams since I have started maladaptively daydreaming. I think this might be a huge sign that I have some personal insecurity, and that I'm trying to fulfill an internal void by seeking approval from the outside world. In this case, however, the outside world is the "audience" in my daydreams. Thank you so much for asking about the contents of my daydreams, because in doing so you really forced me to write this all down for the first time!

Tania said:

I think you need to control it, not stop it. It's like a rebellion against society and the conditioned life we live. What are you daydreaming of?
Dear Ulaan, this sounds so normal, at least for me. I'm sure most people had these at one point or another. I mostly imagined different outcomes when somebody died. I felt such pain being helpless to change it, because, you know, death is final, sth you can never reverse. Or when a guy made me feel sad, I imagined him seeing me with someone else and how he regretted what he did, etc.
But last year after a terrible break-up something happened. I read articles, I went to a specialist and I started discovering how uninteresting and stupid human population was. I started noticing their lack of intelligence, how easily manipulated they were, their inability to think, their cowardice an so on. I've always been self-centered, but these realisations made me completely detached from ordinary people's desires and passions. I craved for freedom, for ascending of my conscience, I wanted to exit the matrix of society.
I didn't isolate from people, but I became more arrogant, everything they talked about seemed so below my level, that I never listened. People can see and sense that detachment. I made some witty remarks about how I felt I was surrounded by unevolved monkeys, but always with a smile. I felt so powerful, so ascended above society. You know, it sounds odd, but when you feel superior and you are detached, not just act like it, but really feel it and believe it, it becomes true. Maybe it is true. I saw how everyone (coworkes, friends) started measuring every word out of fear I would make a ridicule out of it. They saw I had dreams so very big, that neither of them could even imagine.
Well, except for the bad behaviour, there was also a different result from my superiority complex and it was compassion. Before this I only felt it towards animals and nature in general, but now, as a result from me seeing other people as a lower species, I started being more compassionate towards them, which resulted in a positive change in their attitude towards me.
My point is: if you care what others think of you, you are putting yourself below them. Everything can be sensed subconsciously; if you think you're inferior than someone, you will behave like you are, they will start noticing it and then it becomes the truth.
Several months after my break-up he started callingme and begging me, etc. He saw the change in me and you can't imagine to what great extends he wentto getme back - he changed his carreer goals, his car, his entire wardrobe to be "on my level". I was calm, secure, I knew I had to pursue freedom of the mind. It was nice to have someone who does everything and puts so much effort while you concentrate on your self-development.
Believe it or not, that was the one and only period of my life when the dreams almost stopped. I didn't need validation anymore.
Everything was great until I met this man and you know the story - I can't stop daydreaming now.
I wish I was you now...

This really helped clarify a lot, thanks Tania. I realized that I really need to take this time to dig deep and try to weed out the problems and blockages in my life. I think that overall, my daydreams have been stemming from a dissatisfaction of my current life situations. It's time I bust out and really soak in all the necessary knowledge for self-improvement.

I really like your advice about not caring so much what others think about you. I see how doing so has been setting me up for failure, so I know now that it's absolutely necessary to reduce my worry for what others think about me. Doing so will definitely be tough, especially after years of self-conditioning, but I know it's possible. For the past year or so, I have been taking steps to working towards caring less about what others think of me. These steps have included mental reasoning (in a world in which people are so busy about themselves, do they really have the time to be constantly thinking about you) and deliberately putting myself in social situations outside my comfort zone. However, I definitely believe that I can do more. I will take your advice and am deciding from this day forth, I will take a few minutes each day to reflect upon my assets and positive aspects.

Also, I sometimes also feel that we're living in some sort of a matrix. Life often feels mechanical, but in my heart I know that the true essence of life really isn't. I remember being generally very happy as a child, awestruck by the beauty of life and frequently grateful for my family, home, and food. Something changed in between then, but I feel like I'm starting to peel the layers of sorrow again and going back to that generally happier existence. I know this world and life is SO MUCH MORE than what most of us are conditioned to believe it is. After all, I think it's amazing how we can communicate with others on the other side of the planet at nearly the speed of light.

As for your life, I honestly believe that even though times are tough right now, they WILL get better. You said you're having trouble stopping yourself from daydreaming. One thing that I recently realized is that my daydreams tend to pop up when I'm not fully engaged in the present activity I am doing, and don't usually take over when I am engaged. For example, right now when I've been writing this, I didn't really have any daydreams invading my mind. My advice to you would be to find a meaningful activity for which you can really be present in the moment, such as talking to a close friend or loved one, reading, cooking, exercising, gardening, etc., and minimizing the idle time you allow your mind to have. While this may not directly address the root problem of your daydreams, it may give your life more joy and meaning, which in turn could diminish your urge to daydream.

Always keep faith that your life is amazing and blessed, and no matter how bad things may seem, you will make it through and stronger. This video has really helped me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwfhH8yDZQo

From my experience and the experience of others in this discussion, here are some tips and general strategies I have compiled for overcoming Maladaptive Daydreaming:

1) Identify Triggers - I have been daydreaming compulsively for so long, but I have never really taken the time to fully examine the exact causes of my daydreams. Recently, I've noticed that allowing my mind idle thinking time often sets the stage for my daydreams to take over my thoughts.

2) Engage in Meaningful Activities - Once you've identified triggers for daydreams, you begin to become more aware of when you are most susceptible to daydreaming. When you feel like you are at high risk of daydreaming or are currently heavily daydreaming, turn towards enjoyable and meaningful activities for which you can give your full attention. Some examples of such activities in my life have been making art, exercising, gardening, cooking, learning something new, spending time with family and friends, and reading. 

3) Try Identifying the Root Cause of Your Daydreams - Many people note that their desire to daydream stems from their less than ideal reality. This definitely is the case for me. I've noticed how a low self esteem (inferiority complex) and worry for the future have propelled my mind into daydreaming as an attempt to escape the problems of life. I think it's absolutely necessary that we identify these problems and learn to address them.

4) Write Down Your Daydreams - The act of writing down your daydreams is a powerful tool for easing your mind into the present. I didn't realize this until a member on this discussion gave me this advice, and after trying it out, I knew that this technique is a must have for overcoming Maladaptive Daydreaming.

Thank you everyone for all your advice! I would love to hear any ideas for dealing with or overcoming Maladaptive Daydreaming. I know that together, we can all eventually learn to overcome Maladaptive Daydreaming!

Ulaan, the matrix, the preprogramming, the social conditioning - I was going to write about these things and how daydreaming is a way of unplugging yourself from the slavery we are forced to live in. Nobody is really free. Some people put the pink glasses and start deluding themselves that career, money, sex are the things that matter. Some find a hobby and fill the voids with that hobby. Everyone tries to find a logic for themselves.
But I think they're all wrong. I think if life did have a point, it wouldn't be like that - short, tough, full of disappointments. I can't concentrate on a hobby or a career and delude myself this is my life goal or that it makes me happy... I'm smarter than that. I think we all are here, because as I previously wrote - that's a way of rebelling against what's going on in the world.
Someone told me that people are like chickens in a farm - for the farmer there is a purpose - he uses them for eggs and meat. But what's the point of living for the chickens? There is none - they don't even realise what's going on and where they are. I can't go inside a chicken's mind, but I'm sure it's not going to be any different from the average human's one.
You are right about the self-awareness. Maybe you need to watch your own thoughts and get to the root of your desires and passions. Maybe the lack of motivation for achieving your goals comes from the fact they're not your goals - they're society's. Just calm down and think, think, talk about it, read, exchange ideas with others and you'll start seeing things more and more clearly.

Really glad you found it helpful! :) And you're absolutely right about the importance of identifying triggers. Mine are mostly music and TV, but I think each one's triggers differ depending on the content of their daydreams, so yours could be completely different from mine. You also make another good point about the fact that daydreams have at least something with real life. It could either be that your daydreams are distracting you from a real life problem or they are about something you want to irl. Perhaps, addressing those kind of situtations can help reduce your daydreamings or even stop them altogether. Hope it all works out! :)

Ulaan Gom said:

Hey Helen! I think that's really good advice. Personally, a major problem at this point is that I largely lack the awareness of when my daydreams are about to strike. I feel like a great place to start would be to start taking note of what triggers my MDs, and once I get a general idea of my triggers, I will be able to effectively guide myself out of a daydreaming spiral. I've also noticed that writing about the fact that I get daydreams helps, but I have yet to try actually writing the content of my daydreams. Maybe doing so might help point out a problem that I must fix in real life. Thank you for the advice, I really think it has given me a nice starting point!

Helen S said:

Hey Ulaan! From my experience, I have found that talking or going out with friends when I'm about to immerse myself in my daydreams really helps. Also, writing my daydreams down in the form of stories seems to do the trick. I don't know, they feel more completed that way and that makes it easier for me to focus my energy and thoughts on different things. However, I still haven't found something to help me overcome MDD in the long term, but I'm still trying. Hope it helps! :) 

Thanks for this post. I think it will really help people that want to stop or manage DDing.
I am currently trying to manage my DDing. I currently working and I dont want to do it at work. What works for me is writing down my DD ideas when I get triggered and then when I get home I DD about it. It has worked for me so far.

Hi Ulaan

I believe being as motivated as you seem to be is half the struggle. I was very succesful with stopping my MD about a year ago, but more urgent problems - most of which have just recently been solved - got me sidetracked, so I never went through with it. Now that I've graduated I'm ready to try again. I cannot stress(!) how much easier it is this time because I tried so hard to stop last year(it had my total focus for about a month). Never believe that if you fall back or get lost for a while, that it all meant nothing. My MD came back with a vengeance as it does with everyone else, but the break still permanently changed me. So don't give up. 

This is what I have gathered from reading posts about other people succesfully stopping MD, and from my own experience:

1. Writing in a diary every single day.

I know that you have already tried this, but this did the most for me. I would keep a daily log of how much I MD'ed that day and what helped, but also how I was feeling and what I did that particular day - so sort of like a stop-MD/normal-diary hybrid. It felt pointless and depressive at the beginning, but after about three days I really did feel different and more grounded in reality. 

2. Exercise and lots of fruits and vegetables every day!

I have no scientific explanation for why I get so mindful and aware when doing this combination, but the effect is rather extreme and is second best in stopping MD.

3. Art(or in other people's case, just a hobby they feel passionated about).

My efforts to stop MD last year somehow gave me my long lost artistic streak back, and because of this I'm about to become a designer. I was worried at the beginning, because I always MD when I'm crafting and drawing. But the long term effects are the best I've ever seen. If I spend a couple of hours doing some kind of project today, I know almost for sure that I won't daydream right away when I wake up the following morning(which I usually do). It sounds minor, but it's an incredible feeling to open my eyes seeing only the layout of my own apartment, then calmly proceed to get up and dress myself without having some kind of manic love story running in the back of my head. It's scary what getting an actual life does for MD.

4. Getting in touch with yourself.

I hate how new agey this sounds, but it's true! MD makes me passive and indifferent to important stuff like whether I am hungry or feeling full, or if I'm too tired or depriving myself of some much needed entertainment. I'm especially good at boring myself to death. It is impossible to cure MD when you ignore your needs like that, so I am slowly learning to ask myself what I really want/feel/need when my MD is worst. If there is any way to immediately soothe strong MD urges, this would be it.

5. Being social.

This is last on the list, which is probably unusual. I spent my entire teenage years trying to cure my social anxiety and MD by getting friends, but it never worked. I have come to the conclusion that being social helps me a lot in the short term - and I definately will use people to distract myself at every opportunity that I get - but it won't conceal how empty my life is when I'm alone. I have found it easier to shape my life after hobbies and interests first, then get friends who are similar to me second. It's not that I wasn't 'me' to begin with, but I failed to communicate this in my real life and, as a result, the right people never gravitated towards me.  My social anxiety has decreased dramatically after starting to focus on myself instead, and so has my loneliness. 

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