Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Wow. It's been forever since I've logged onto this site. I've been so busy with school; as it turns out, literally everyone on the face of the planet was right -- Junior year is tough.
Reading my old posts is a bit funny, because my explanation of my case of maladaptive daydreaming is still true, but the characters and scenarios I favor have changed so much.
In my opening post, I remember discussing reaching out to "get help." I didn't really feel like my daydreaming was all that detrimental to my life -- really, it only causes me to wonder if I'm missing out on the real world by spending a lot of my time in a fake one -- but I felt like something was wrong with me, so I should talk to someone about it. Flash-forward a year or two and I'm now in therapy, but for a different reason. I also have a pretty bad case of anxiety (kind of a chicken and egg situation in relation to my daydreaming habits), so I started seeing Carla for my issues with that. However, I'm finding that therapy hasn't been super helpful for me. It's nice to know that I can talk to someone about my anxiety who is licensed and trained to discuss it with me, but at the same time, I always get distracted by weird topics and never really talk about the stuff I plan to. I'm trying my best to stick with it, because I know therapy isn't at all a quick fix, but it's proving difficult. On top of my superb ability to get distracted, I feel like I'm not truly opening up to my therapist -- almost like I'm hiding parts of myself.
I haven't told Carla about maladaptive daydreaming. Not even a slight mention. Not even once. I doubt she even knows it exists. I just haven't felt comfortable enough to do it. What if she freaked out, and diagnosed me with multiple personalities or something (which I'm convinced I don't have, since I have no problem distinguishing my daydreams from the real world)? Also, I feel like it would take me forever to explain my condition well, further distracting from the real reason I'm in therapy in the first place. She can barely fit me in her busy client list as it is, without me wasting sessions on irrelevant issues. Plus, I've never really told anyone about my daydreaming, so it seems weird to do so now. I mentioned it to my dad once, when I was way younger, and I expected him to be like "Oh yeah, I do that too! Everyone does!" but that totally didn't happen, so I refrained from telling anyone else.
Despite all these reasons not to tell Carla about maladaptive daydreaming, I can't help but feel guilty from hiding the part of my mind that is so essential to my everyday life. How can I expect therapy to really help me without opening up all the way? I guess I'm just scared. I've imagined a million ways in which I could tell Carla -- ironically, daydreaming about it -- but I've chickened out of every single one. I thought about modifying my first post on this site and just reading that aloud to her, since it would be scripted so I wouldn't have to worry about messing up my explanation, but that doesn't feel genuine. I've considered just throwing caution to the wind and winging it, but that is just so not me. I also pondered just typing something up and printing it for her to read during one of my sessions, but that just seems plain awkward. No matter which plan I consider, none of them feel right. I'm not even totally convinced that I want to mention maladaptive daydreaming at all.
So, fellow maladaptive daydreamers, what should I do? Should I tell Carla about the weirdest part of my brain, or just keep it hidden? I'd love to hear your thoughts or anecdotes about similar experiences, if anyone has any.
good to see you on here again! i think i replied to your last post yeeeeears ago, but i'm 21 and i had MD all throughout my teenage years. i've been checking in on this website since i was 13 or 14.
personally, i don't think you should tell carla about your MD unless you think that your MD is causing a problem in your life. i told my last therapist about my MD, and she had no idea what it was and i ended up spending two whole sessions explaining what it is, even though it doesn't interfere with my life that much anymore and it hasn't been much of a problem. (i should note that she did NOT diagnose me with multiple personalities or anything - she said that my MD seemed like a form of coping that might be unusual but doesn't alarm her)
when my therapist told me she was moving away, i got a new one, and i haven't bothered to tell my new therapist about my MD because i feel like there's no point. it will probably help your therapist understand you better, but she will probably want to spend a lot of time talking about it, and as you said, that's not what you're in therapy for.
please feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk more about this! i also dealt with very bad anxiety along with MD when i was in high school, so i understand what you're going through. and i'd love to hear an update on what you end up doing!