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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Hi Ulan,

I've recently managed to reduce the worse side of MDDing - MDDing to music whilst rocking/running etc - by going cold turkey on listening to music. 

I'll be honest I managed to make the change quite suddenly because I had an emotional day that helped kick me into the right mind set. I decided to quit, again, late at night and the next morning the first thing I did was make a plan to address the possible causes behind the my MDDing - anxiety, lack of sleep, low self-esteem etc. I gave myself goals - make it to 30 days without MDDing to music and I can treat myself to some crafting stuff, if I make 3 months I can buy a camera bag and after 6 months I can buy myself a new camera to go in the bag. 

I think this is helped by being a distraction. Non- trigger distractions are a big help.

So yes, I'd recommend distractions, addressing issues and most of all going cold turkey on your worst trigger - if you can manage too.

I'll admit now I  still daydream a bit and slip into pacing etc. But its much, much better without my biggest trigger. It's not perfect but its given me space.

 And finally, sorry to be Captain Obvious but this did happen to me - if you go cold turkey, don't ever let yourself think you can have a massive MDD session as a reward or  treat.  A few years back I had managed to quit MMDing+ music for six months straight, but I ruined it all by  'treating' myself to a session on Christmas eve. After that I just started it again, as bad as before. 

Anyway, hope that was helpful! Good luck everyone. :)

Wow I never thought of quitting MDD in that way. I would say that music is my biggest MD trigger as well. So far, I've been trying to prevent MDD by not listening to music at all. This method helps for the moment, but hasn't produced any long term change overall. I really like your systematic approach, and will try it starting today. I know that there's so much more that's in store for our lives, so it's absolutely essential that we work to overcome MDD. I think what I'll do is start slow, maybe have a music session for 5 to 15 minutes a day, and during that session, I will focus my mind away from MDD by concentrating on my goals in real life. I will also reward myself for not MDing, and no, an MDD session will NOT be my reward. I need to get into the mindset that there are so many ways to experience TRUE happiness and MDD only takes away from our ability to experience such happiness. Thank you so much for the advice!

Kate said:

Hi Ulan,

I've recently managed to reduce the worse side of MDDing - MDDing to music whilst rocking/running etc - by going cold turkey on listening to music. 

I'll be honest I managed to make the change quite suddenly because I had an emotional day that helped kick me into the right mind set. I decided to quit, again, late at night and the next morning the first thing I did was make a plan to address the possible causes behind the my MDDing - anxiety, lack of sleep, low self-esteem etc. I gave myself goals - make it to 30 days without MDDing to music and I can treat myself to some crafting stuff, if I make 3 months I can buy a camera bag and after 6 months I can buy myself a new camera to go in the bag. 

I think this is helped by being a distraction. Non- trigger distractions are a big help.

So yes, I'd recommend distractions, addressing issues and most of all going cold turkey on your worst trigger - if you can manage too.

I'll admit now I  still daydream a bit and slip into pacing etc. But its much, much better without my biggest trigger. It's not perfect but its given me space.

 And finally, sorry to be Captain Obvious but this did happen to me - if you go cold turkey, don't ever let yourself think you can have a massive MDD session as a reward or  treat.  A few years back I had managed to quit MMDing+ music for six months straight, but I ruined it all by  'treating' myself to a session on Christmas eve. After that I just started it again, as bad as before. 

Anyway, hope that was helpful! Good luck everyone. :)

Tania, I especially feel like I'm in a matrix when I'm trying to please others and modifying who I really am so I can get the approval of others. When I was a child, I was almost completely focused on what I thought was interesting in life, and fully embraced my quirks and weird aspects without giving a second thought to how others would view me. Now, however, I constantly find myself wishing I was someone else, that I was different so I could be more like anyone else. The disparity between where I am right now and where my mind is forcing me to be could be a major contributing factor to my daydreams. I definitely need to focus on increasing my self-awareness, because I believe only then the quality of my real life will improve.

Tania said:

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.

Yolandi, I sometimes go a step further. If I have a recurring daydream that's really bothering me, I write it down in detail on a piece of paper and then either tear the paper up or burn it with a lighter. For me, seeing the dream being physically destroyed has a powerful effect to erase it from my mind.

Yolandi Wells said:

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.

Woah, these points seem powerful.

Starting with the 5th point, being social, I think what I'll have to do is get more in touch with my hobbies, and rediscover what they are. I really need to give this priority and give myself time to engage in my hobbies. I also know that in order to have fulfilling interactions with others, I will need to address my low self-esteem first, and learn to enjoy my own company and being alone.

For the 4th point, I know I've been recently depriving myself of sleep, and doing so probably has a huge connection to my mental state!

For as long as I could remember, I've been passionate about building and making stuff hands-on. I think for this third point, I need to realize that building is my art, and give myself time to build every day. Since doing so will likely improve my sense of well-being, it will be well worth it.

Exercise and eating healthy are huge, and have helped me tremendously to deal with MDD and be more productive. I still can work on eating more fruits and vegetables.

I really need to start up the diary again. I've been making excuses that I don't have enough time to write it or that skipping one day won't hurt, but in all honesty, if I'm serious about overcoming MDD, I will have to have a good record of everything I'm going through!


Sophie said:

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. 

Ulaan,
Thank you for all your posts, really everyone has had great advice here! I have not completely conquered MDD but I have learned to control it by all the ways mentioned in this post. I was flipping out when you mentioned you've felt those moments of being in a Matrix! I've never heard anyone else express that! Also most posts I've read so far, most daydreams are made up characters and stories. As I read your experience, however, I was glad to find I'm not the only one...when I was younger I made up stories and characters, but as I got older my daydreams leaned more toward the "audience of approval" as you said. I was never able to really put that into words. When I first read that, I had to read it again...and all your experience is exactly like mine, it's kind of a trip. I actually forgot about this site until yesterday was going through my spam looking for email and saw this. I have so much I want to share with everyone here but it such a long story. Maybe I will think about how to construct it so it's helpful and not a bunch of jabber lol I love writing so I have to be careful. I was nervous about reaching out on this site, but this has inspired me to share my experience. I will follow up with my story, in the mean time...if anyone feels like they want to send a private message I'm ok with that. I will reject no one on here :)

Snazzy, one thing I love about this site is that a lot of us share similar experiences of problems that aren't really that common outside this community. I always feel like reading other peoples' posts and hearing their stories really helps me deal with my own MDD and brings me closer to overcoming it. I would say my desire to gain social approval from others is the main problem and driving force behind my MDD. Deep down, I know there are some aspects about myself that I haven't learned to fully accept yet. I know that if I start becoming mindful of myself though, I definitely can work towards cultivating self-love and self-acceptance. If you're comfortable definitely feel free to share your story, and don't worry how it'll sound to others, because I'm sure it'll be helpful any way you phrase it. I'm confident that if enough of us come together and share our advice and experiences, we can find new and more effective ways of dealing with and eventually overcoming MDD!

snazzy said:

Ulaan,
Thank you for all your posts, really everyone has had great advice here! I have not completely conquered MDD but I have learned to control it by all the ways mentioned in this post. I was flipping out when you mentioned you've felt those moments of being in a Matrix! I've never heard anyone else express that! Also most posts I've read so far, most daydreams are made up characters and stories. As I read your experience, however, I was glad to find I'm not the only one...when I was younger I made up stories and characters, but as I got older my daydreams leaned more toward the "audience of approval" as you said. I was never able to really put that into words. When I first read that, I had to read it again...and all your experience is exactly like mine, it's kind of a trip. I actually forgot about this site until yesterday was going through my spam looking for email and saw this. I have so much I want to share with everyone here but it such a long story. Maybe I will think about how to construct it so it's helpful and not a bunch of jabber lol I love writing so I have to be careful. I was nervous about reaching out on this site, but this has inspired me to share my experience. I will follow up with my story, in the mean time...if anyone feels like they want to send a private message I'm ok with that. I will reject no one on here :)
My MDD isn't as bad as it use to be. I mostly DD about proving myself to a guy so that he would like me. In the end we end up in a relationship. In reality I don't want to be in a relationship. I enjoy my solitude way too much. Its kind of contradictory to reality. MDD always makes me stress and it makes me unhappy. If I don't want it in reality then why do I DD about it?
My MDD isn't as bad as it use to be. I mostly DD about proving myself to a guy so that he would like me. In the end we end up in a relationship. In reality I don't want to be in a relationship. I enjoy my solitude way too much. Its kind of contradictory to reality. MDD always makes me stress and it makes me unhappy. If I don't want it in reality then why do I DD about it?
My MDD isn't as bad as it use to be. I mostly DD about proving myself to a guy so that he would like me. In the end we end up in a relationship. In reality I don't want to be in a relationship. I enjoy my solitude way too much. Its kind of contradictory to reality. MDD always makes me stress and it makes me unhappy. If I don't want it in reality then why do I DD about it?

Maybe there's an underlying discontent in our lives. I've experienced the same thing where I've daydreamed so long for something but then when I get it in real life, I discover that it's not at all what I had wanted. I really need to dedicate the moments of my life when I'm not daydreaming to develop purpose and meaning in my life. One way I can do this is by helping others and making the world a better place. I can start off by being kinder to my family and friends, and expand out from there.

Yolandi Wells said:

My MDD isn't as bad as it use to be. I mostly DD about proving myself to a guy so that he would like me. In the end we end up in a relationship. In reality I don't want to be in a relationship. I enjoy my solitude way too much. Its kind of contradictory to reality. MDD always makes me stress and it makes me unhappy. If I don't want it in reality then why do I DD about it?

Actually, I have read that our MDD isn't about WHAT we are daydreaming about...its about US. So, its US that we don't like and are trying to avoid.  We want to be someone else b/c we don't like who we are. It makes perfect sense to me and I am hopeful that I can figure out how to overcome this.

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